Risk
4/21/2011
02:13 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Phishing Attack Hits Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The government lab expects to restore Internet access and external email service next week after losing nearly 1 gigabyte of unclassified data.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is investigating a sophisticated phishing attack that forced it to shut down email and Internet access last week.

As of Thursday, external email and Internet service was still not back online at the lab, though employees were once again allowed use of their smartphones, Barbara Penland, a lab spokeswoman, said in an interview. She said the lab expects to restore Internet service and access to external email sometime next week.

The lab--which houses some of the world's most powerful supercomputers and stores classified government data--was hit with a phishing attack on April 7 that was designed specifically to remove information from the network.

"We ended up with an excess of 570 of those emails coming in to different people and we had some folks who clicked on the email," she said. "One or two of them managed to get through into the system."

The lab's IT team tracked and observed the virus for about a week before deciding that shutting down access to the Internet and external email last Friday was the best way to stop it, Penland said.

"This one cleaned up behind itself and it stayed hidden to a large degree and actually wasn't very active until just before we shut the door," she said, adding that it was a virus security researchers are familiar with.

Less than a gigabyte of data was removed from the lab's business and email networks as a result of the attack, which Penland stressed did not touch any of the Lab's classified networks. Those are not connected to the public Internet, "for obvious reasons," she said.

A "tiger team" of external security researchers and members of the lab's internal IT team continue to investigate the virus and clean any devices or PCs that were affected by it, Penland added.

The ORNL is run by the University of Texas' Battelle campus for the Department of Energy and is home to three supercomputers operated by federal agencies. In addition to one the Department of Energy oversees, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation also run supercomputers there.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2595
Published: 2014-08-31
The device-initialization functionality in the MSM camera driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, enables MSM_CAM_IOCTL_SET_MEM_MAP_INFO ioctl calls for an unrestricted mmap interface, which all...

CVE-2013-2597
Published: 2014-08-31
Stack-based buffer overflow in the acdb_ioctl function in audio_acdb.c in the acdb audio driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to gain privileges via an application that lever...

CVE-2013-2598
Published: 2014-08-31
app/aboot/aboot.c in the Little Kernel (LK) bootloader, as distributed with Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to overwrite signature-verification code via crafted boot-image load-destination header values that specify memory ...

CVE-2013-2599
Published: 2014-08-31
A certain Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) patch to the NativeDaemonConnector class in services/java/com/android/server/NativeDaemonConnector.java in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.3.x enables debug logging, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive disk-encryption pas...

CVE-2013-6124
Published: 2014-08-31
The Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) init scripts in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.4.x allow local users to modify file metadata via a symlink attack on a file accessed by a (1) chown or (2) chmod command, as demonstrated by changing the permissions of an arbitrary fil...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.