Attacks/Breaches
2/13/2014
12:32 PM
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Target Breach: Phishing Attack Implicated

Report suggests malware-laced email attack on Target's HVAC subcontractor leaked access credentials for retailer's network.

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awinter015
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awinter015,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/11/2014 | 10:32:47 AM
Re: Target Data Breach - Fazio
agreed - but even if the HVAC company was given RDP access to use PM & Billing SW - there is no reason that they should have had access to anything other than what they required.  Even within SMB accounting software (Qucikbooks) you can restrict access to functions or files - so that could be one level of security. Another option could have been to provide them their own systems for them to use.

Even as a small IT Service company we have to go through PCI compliance.  Are these big companies too big that they dont have anyone who can see the big picutre?  Do they perform 3rd party security audits?  If so - why wasnt this found.  If not - wow - they hold millions of credit card numbers and probably lots of Personal Information which must be protected - and they did nothing to think about security?  Wow!
Dave122066
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Dave122066,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/3/2014 | 4:42:58 PM
Target Data Breach - Fazio
For all that I have read here,  I have not heard anyone mention that Target may have given Fazio access to an RDP server to run necessary applications for billing and PM.  It sounds too easy, but definitley plausible.  In this case once the Fazio machine(s) was comprimised with maybe a key logger, the hackers identified the "link" when sifting thorugh their catch.  At that point the liability is on Target for allowing systems used for POS, etc to be exposed and vulnerable to systems that are external/clinet/contractor facing.  Fazio owns part of this, but Target has a the bulk of the responsiblity.

Could they have targeted Target exclusivley... YES.  There is tons of public info about contracts and... they also placed info on a public facing server / webpage.  Its my opinion that this is going to get real real messy for Fazio.  Target may recover, but will never be the same.  This on is just too big.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/18/2014 | 4:09:10 PM
Re: Thanks for updating
rradina, you raise some interesting possibilities here.  I don't have enough information to comment on them, but one thing's for sure, it would be a great service to the community if forensics investigators shared what they learned and what steps companies should take, and should have taken.  True hackers will just find another way to exploit the IT ecosystem. But if companies do more to take a "neighborhood watch" approach, rather than minding their own "house's" security, hackers at least might look elswhere. 
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/18/2014 | 2:53:19 PM
Re: Thanks for updating
I missed that.  However, that raises new concerns.  If by "data connection", they mean some kind of private link with Target so they can perform these duties, it's not difficult to envision lax firewall rules or an unpatched "Intranet" server that was vulnerable.  Hackers owned Fazio's PC(s) so they could attack any system Fazio was capable of reaching through that data link.  Billing and project management servers are probably "Intranet" servers. They could have easily been running a dated and unsupported version of Windows because the software suite was not compatible with later versions.  Once compromised, it was behind the firewall on a VLAN that probably had broad access to many corporate data center resources (backup servers, file servers, database servers, etc.).  From there they could have hacked any number of systems until they found one that could talk to the retail POS systems.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/18/2014 | 12:19:48 PM
Re: Thanks for updating
The point was, it does not appear that the hackers got to Target through the HVAC control systems, but rather...the contractor's access to Target's network was limited to business-related administrative purposes. As he was quoted here: "Our data connection with Target was exclusively for electronic billing, contract submission, and project management, and Target is the only customer for whom we manage these processes on a remote basis. No other [Fazio] customers have been affected by the breach."

How the hackers used that information to get to the credit card files is an important questions, still to be determined.

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Strategist
2/18/2014 | 12:20:40 AM
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2014 | 4:49:22 PM
Re: Random or targeted
 

I have to think this was not random. At least to the point that they knew they were going to get into more by hacking Fazio. They must have known they had contracts with Target and others. What else did they hack and maybe no one has discovered it yet?
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2014 | 4:42:28 PM
Who will be made responsible?
This will be interesting to see if the HVAC contractors are found to be liable in any way. I'm sure their security will be looked at closely.

 
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2014 | 11:09:12 AM
Re: Thanks for updating
"What's still not clear, however, is how attackers might have parlayed Fazio's access credentials for Target's electronic billing, contracts, or project management system into full-blown access to the retailer's IT network and payment processing systems."

From the statement above, how do we know it was the accounting system? The quote is a "theory" because it uses the terms "might have".  Am I missing another story?

Until someone comes clean with incredible detail, we're all throwing mud at the wall. Granted, the more that comes out the closer our mud gets but we're still just guessing.  We don't even know if the credentials stolen via Fazio were instrumental before or after an initial breach.  We may never know unless we catch the perpetrators and they spill the beans.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2014 | 5:53:39 PM
Thanks for updating
Thanks for continuing to follow this story and set the record straight about the HVAC contractor implicated in the Target breach.  In particular: For making it clear, based on what now seems to be known, that the hackers used an accounting system, not the HVAC system to break in and that the contractor likely was unwittingly caught in a very large phish net. As the number of companies granting network exchange privileges to one another continues to grow, so will the collateral damage as hackers continue to perfect their skills.

 
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