Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

End of Bibblio RCM includes -->
9/11/2017
10:30 AM
Simon Marshall
Simon Marshall
Simon Marshall

Equifax Hacked: Profit Before Protection?

Millions of personal information records were taken from Equifax. What went wrong?

Equifax is being accused of putting profit before protection after last week's massive security breach which may have hit as many as 143 million accounts containing sensitive consumer data in both the US and the UK. According to Bloomberg, the credit rating firm was served late Thursday with a class action lawsuit in federal court, alleging, "Equifax was negligent in failing to protect consumer data, choosing to save money instead of spending on technical safeguards that could have stopped the attack." The plaintiffs are seeking as much as $70 billion in damages.

Observers are skeptical that Equifax, which discovered the attack in late July, did everything it could to alert consumers in a timely way. It's possible that Equifax was conducting an investigation between then and now. But Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Tech Bridge and a Forbes Tech Council member, said: "It's dubious. [This approach] still could endanger the victims. Most important now is to make sure that we do not underestimate the scale of the breach."

Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust, was more pointed. "Was the [attacked] web application known, or was it a zero-day exploit? If it was known, how old was it and why wasn't it remediated? If it was a zero-day, please educate the security community so we can protect our own websites!"

It illustrates the security maxim that if the threat was not detected, a company is viewed as doing a poor job because they didn't see it; if it was detected, they're still viewed as doing a poor job because they didn't tackle it.

The ramifications are wide. Because the whole banking industry relies on the information Equifax supplies, there could be a fundamental breakdown in how the main authentication system for finance operates.

All told, consumer addresses, driver license data, birth dates, bank loan and child support payments, and some credit card information were lifted. According to Ebba Blitz, CEO of AlertSec, nearly half of the US population was affected, with 209,000 credit card numbers exposed and 182,000 customers losing personal identification data. Perhaps most important of all, in terms of consequence, SSN numbers were also taken.

Shuman Ghosemajumder, CEO of Shape Security, and formerly Google's Click Fraud czar, said, "There is an even larger implication here -- SSNs are frequently used as a former of private identification and authentication. If SSNs can no longer be treated as private information for most Americans, we need something to replace them for many of the ways they are used throughout society, and soon."

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity strategy for Illumio, and former director of Cybersecurity Policy for the White House under President Obama, told SecurityNow, "In virtually every major breach in the last five years, intruders broke into a low-value environment, and then moved laterally to a high-value target where they can steal data or cause damage. This applies to government breaches just as much as it does to private companies." With hackers moving to higher-value targets having entered in less risky environments, it surely won't be long before there's another attack that affects consumers.

Gleicher speculates that organizations are far more open inside their perimeter than they need to be. On average, organizations use less than 3% of the connections that they permit inside their environment. That's why lateral movement is still so easy, even as major breaches keep happening. And will continue happening.

Related posts:

— Simon Marshall, Technology Journalist, special to Security Now

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Improving Enterprise Cybersecurity With XDR
Enterprises are looking at eXtended Detection and Response technologies to improve their abilities to detect, and respond to, threats. While endpoint detection and response is not new to enterprise security, organizations have to improve network visibility, expand data collection and expand threat hunting capabilites if they want their XDR deployments to succeed. This issue of Tech Insights also includes: a market overview for XDR from Omdia, questions to ask before deploying XDR, and an XDR primer.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2022-2304
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-05
Stack-based Buffer Overflow in GitHub repository vim/vim prior to 9.0.
CVE-2022-26365
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-05
Linux disk/nic frontends data leaks T[his CNA information record relates to multiple CVEs; the text explains which aspects/vulnerabilities correspond to which CVE.] Linux Block and Network PV device frontends don't zero memory regions before sharing them with the backend (CVE-2022-26365, CVE-2022-33...
CVE-2022-30290
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-05
In OpenCTI through 5.2.4, a broken access control vulnerability has been identified in the profile endpoint. An attacker can abuse the identified vulnerability in order to arbitrarily change their registered e-mail address as well as their API key, even though such action is not possible through the...
CVE-2022-33740
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-05
Linux disk/nic frontends data leaks T[his CNA information record relates to multiple CVEs; the text explains which aspects/vulnerabilities correspond to which CVE.] Linux Block and Network PV device frontends don't zero memory regions before sharing them with the backend (CVE-2022-26365, CVE-2022-33...
CVE-2022-33741
PUBLISHED: 2022-07-05
Linux disk/nic frontends data leaks T[his CNA information record relates to multiple CVEs; the text explains which aspects/vulnerabilities correspond to which CVE.] Linux Block and Network PV device frontends don't zero memory regions before sharing them with the backend (CVE-2022-26365, CVE-2022-33...