Attacks/Breaches
3/21/2011
11:51 AM
50%
50%

SecurID Customers Advised To Prepare For Worst Case

EMC's RSA hasn't detailed exactly what was stolen, so security experts advise the authentication system's customers to implement a more layered network defense.

10 Massive Security Breaches
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: 10 Massive Security Breaches
How serious is the security threat posed by the theft of inside information about SecurID, the two-factor authentication system sold by EMC division RSA? "It is important enough that it required an official note to the stock markets," said Martin Kuppinger, founder and principal analyst at KuppingerCole, in a blog post.

But, despite the apparent severity of the breach, RSA's failure to detail what was stolen is generating an immense amount of customer frustration, because they don't know if their SecurID hardware fobs are still secure, or if they might provide attackers with a conduit through enterprise defenses.

Here's the worst-case scenario: "The worry is that source code to the company's SecurID two-factor authentication product was stolen, which would possibly allow hackers to reverse-engineer or otherwise break the system," said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer of BT, in a blog post. In that case, attackers could spoof SecurID to access corporate systems.

Until RSA coughs up more information, security experts advocate conducting a thorough and immediate SecurID risk assessment. "Our recommendation for customers which have RSA SecurID cards implemented is to first carefully analyze the situation and their specific risks -- [for example] which type of information is at risk if the RSA SecurID-based authentication is not only at risk -- like now -- but an attack actually takes place?" said Kuppinger.

Next, identify specific technologies and remediation activities for securing at-risk data or accounts. "These actions might range from increased threat analysis and forensics to adding other authentication technologies," said Kuppinger.

But rather than just shopping for a SecurID replacement, numerous experts are recommending that security managers turn this situation into an opportunity to create a more layered security defense. "Many organizations rely too heavily on two-factor authentication and they have historically seen it as a silver bullet," said William Beer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) director of OneSecurity, in an emailed statement.

Stay tuned for more details about the extent of the attacks, their effect on RSA, and the security and IT management ramifications for their customers. "RSA Data Security, Inc. is probably pretty screwed if SecurID is compromised," said BT's Schneier. "Those hardware tokens have no upgrade path, and would have to be replaced."

That would be no small task. RSA had 40 million SecurID hardware token customers by 2009, as well as 250 million users of SecurID software.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.