Attacks/Breaches
5/13/2014
08:20 AM
Tim Wilson
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Breach At Bit.ly Blamed On Offsite Backup Storage Provider

URL shortening service says user database may have been compromised through backup data.

A breach of customer data at URL shortening service Bit.ly was likely caused through unauthorized access of offsite backup data maintained by a third-party hosting provider, company officials say.

In a blog posted over the weekend, Bit.ly offered further explanation of its customer database breach, which was first reported on May 8. The compromise forced the company to invalidate all Twitter and Facebook credentials of its users and initiate a breach investigation.

The Bit.ly security team:

...observed that we had an unusually high amount of traffic originating from our offsite database backup storage that was not initiated by Bitly. At this point, it was clear that the best path forward was to assume the user database was compromised and immediately initiate our response plan, which included steps to protect our users’ connected Facebook and Twitter accounts.

We audited the security history for our hosted source code repository that contains the credentials for access to the offsite database backup storage and discovered an unauthorized access on an employee’s account. We immediately enabled two-factor authentication for all Bitly accounts on the source code repository and began the process of securing the system against any additional vulnerabilities.

Aside from invalidating users' Twitter and Facebook accounts to force password changes, the company has rotated all credentials for offsite storage systems and rotated all SSL certificates, the blog says. Bit.ly has reset credentials used for code deployment and added encryption of all sensitive credentials internally.

Bit.ly also is accelerating its program to offer two-factor authentication to its users, as well as a program that would give users email confirmation of password changes.

The company says that passwords in its user database may have been exposed, but that they were salted and hashed, which would make it difficult for attackers to use them.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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LucasOster
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LucasOster,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2014 | 1:32:35 PM
Offsite Storage
This is an interesting breach because it was related to a specific employee who had their information intercepted which seems to be less common these days. Regardless, this is the situation and thankfully there are smart people and organizations doing what they can to protect companies. Think it has also become obvious that nothing is ironclad - -but things are much better than they have ever been.

When it comes to Cloud storage, you should visit<a href="http://www.logicworks.net">LogicWorks</a> and read the case studies. It is interesting to learn about the challenges they have addressed with custom solutions. No two companies have the same needs, so it is always nice to see that there are service providers out there catering to the needs of the customer. 
Randy Naramore
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Randy Naramore,
User Rank: Ninja
5/13/2014 | 9:25:15 AM
Offsite Storage Provider Breach
For what it is worth, all backups that are stored offsite should be encrypted. Article does not say if they were but if not that would have prevented this from happening. Offsite vendor as well as customer should demand this to cover all involved.
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