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Attacks/Breaches

11/15/2011
10:43 AM
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RSA Breach: Eight Months Later

Worries still linger of future attacks, but experts hope the event shook industry out of black-and-white security mentality.

10 Massive Security Breaches
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: 10 Massive Security Breaches
More than eight months after the RSA SecurID breach bombshell was dropped on the industry, security professionals still whisper among themselves at the long-term ramifications of what RSA called the extraction of "information related to the RSA SecurID product." To this day, RSA still won't confirm what exactly was stolen from its systems, but speculation has run high that the token seeds were compromised in some way.

Given the paucity of information coming from its quarters, security experts are left to speculate on whether we may still see an attack leveraging information stolen from RSA. But the bigger question may be how the breach will change the authentication scene and the security industry at large.

For its part, RSA doesn't try to sugarcoat things. Company spokespeople couldn't say there would be no future attacks using old tokens, but did point out to the best of RSA's knowledge there's only been one customer confirmed to have been attacked using information stolen from RSA in the breach, that being an attack against Lockheed Martin that the defense contractor was able to stave off.

"Since there's no such thing as perfect security, it's impossible to predict what could happen. Nevertheless, we worked proactively and openly with customers immediately after the attack in March and continue to do so," said Eddie Schwartz, chief security officer at RSA. "We hardened our IT infrastructure and the processes related to SecurID manufacturing and delivery. Since March 2011, customers have been implementing our recommended best practices and remediation steps based on their views of the risk in this situation."

According to Rick Moy, CEO of NSS Labs, a security analyst and testing firm, even now it's hard to tell how sustained the long-term risks are without more information released from RSA.

"We still don't know what we don't know," Moy says. "I think it's hard to say without knowing how many of the tokens that RSA has replaced. There very well could be additional incidents out there. It's hard to close the book on it because they haven't really come forth with details."

Schwartz and RSA would not say how many tokens have been replaced so far, but that many customers have opted not to replace their tokens in favor of other mitigation techniques.

Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

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