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.

Attacks/Breaches

9/19/2019
06:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Lion Air the Latest to Get Tripped Up by Misconfigured AWS S3

The breach, which reportedly exposed data on millions of passengers, is one of many that have resulted from organizations leaving data publicly accessible in cloud storage buckets.

A breach that reportedly exposed data on millions of passengers of two Lion Air airline subsidiaries is another example of the massive exposure that organizations face from leaving data in poorly secured cloud storage.

The breach — like hundreds of others — resulted when files containing the Indonesian airlines' passenger names, passport numbers, birth dates, home addresses, and other data — was left openly accessible in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage bucket.

The data belonged to passengers of Malindo Air and Thai Lion Air. A Dark Web operator known as Spectre later dumped four files — two containing data from Malindo and two with data on Thai Lion Air — online, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported this week.

Malindo Air confirmed the breach in a statement on its website but did not provide any details on the scope of the compromise. The company said it was in the midst of notifying passengers about the data compromise, while adding that no payment card details had been exposed in the incident.

"Our in house teams along with external data service providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and GoQuo, our e-commerce partner, are currently investigating into this breach," Malindo Air said.

The Lion Air breach is one of many involving Amazon's S3 storage service. Some of them have been massive in scope and resulted from victim organizations themselves not properly securing access to their data in S3. In other instances, the compromises have resulted from third parties making the same mistake.

In June, Australian cybersecurity vendor UpGuard reported on data integration firm Attunity's exposing a terabyte's worth of backups belonging to companies including Ford, Netflix, and TD Bank by putting the data in three publicly accessible S3 buckets. Recently, a Mexican media company exposed more than 540 million records containing comments and interests of Facebook users by leaving the data in an unprotected S3 container.

UpGuard has described detecting literally thousands of breaches over the past few years resulting from poorly configured S3 security settings. The bigger of those have included a breach that exposed GoDaddy's trade secrets and infrastructure details, a leak of 14 million customer records by Verizon, and the breach of a Chicago voter's database in 2016 right around the general elections.

Amazon S3 misconfigurations have become one of the most common and widely targeted attack vectors across all industries, says Anurag Kahol, CTO at Bitglass. "It does not take much for outsiders to find unsecured databases and access sensitive information" on services like S3, he says. Tools are available that let people search for misconfigured and easily abused cloud storage buckets, he notes. "[Internet-as-a-service] platforms are not inherently unsafe – organizations just have to use them safely," Kahol says.

Organizations that use services like Amazon often mistakenly believe the provider or service itself is responsible for the vast majority of the work when it comes to ensuring proper cybersecurity. However, it is ultimately up to the customer to use and configure these platforms appropriately, Kahol says.

According to UpGuard, with S3 related breaches, AWS itself may be making it easy for users to make mistakes even though it has introduced improvements overall to help organizations detect and avoid common configuration errors.

Easy to Misconfigure
In an August blog, UpGuard pointed to two product features it said could trip up S3 users. One of them is a feature that, if not used correctly, would allow any authenticated user with an AWS account to see content in another user's storage bucket. "It's like if your Internet banking credentials worked to log into someone else's bank account," UpGuard said.

The second issue has to do with people misunderstanding how S3 settings for access control lists (ACLs) and policies governing access to storage buckets work, the vendor said. It is an easily misunderstood issue that has led to major S3-related breaches. According to UpGuard, organizations can lock down ACLs to an Amazon S3 bucket but still leave data wide open by misconfiguring the bucket policy itself.

Chris DeRamus, CTO of DivvyCloud, says Amazon has been actively working to help companies avoid breaches caused by misconfigurations. It has also added a number of new features to augment data protection and simplify compliance. For instance, AWS has made it easier for organizations to ensure encryption of all new objects, along with monitoring and reporting on their encryption status. AWS also has guidance on using tools like AWS Config to monitor and respond to S3 buckets that allow public access, DeRamus says.

"Breaches of data in the cloud are on the rise, not breaches of the underlying cloud provider's infrastructure," he notes. "The cloud provider is responsible – and typically successful in – securing the underlying components of cloud services."

It is up to the customer to ensure secure use by properly configuring identity and access management, storage, and compute settings, and using threat analysis and defense tools to mitigate threats, DeRamus says. Automated tools are available that allow organizations to perform real-time, continuous discovery of cloud infrastructure resources and to identify risks and threats that need to be remediated, he adds.

"There's no excuse for leaving data unprotected in AWS storage," says Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire. "This isn’t a new problem, and it's not a technically complex issue to address."

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's top story: "The 20 Worst Metrics in Cybersecurity."

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/13/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19338
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
A flaw was found in the fix for CVE-2019-11135, in the Linux upstream kernel versions before 5.5 where, the way Intel CPUs handle speculative execution of instructions when a TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) error occurs. When a guest is running on a host CPU affected by the TAA flaw (TAA_NO=0), but is ...
CVE-2020-11749
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
Pandora FMS 7.0 NG <= 746 suffers from Multiple XSS vulnerabilities in different browser views. A network administrator scanning a SNMP device can trigger a Cross Site Scripting (XSS), which can run arbitrary code to allow Remote Code Execution as root or apache2.
CVE-2020-5766
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection') in SRS Simple Hits Counter Plugin for WordPress 1.0.3 and 1.0.4 allows a remote, unauthenticated attacker to determine the value of database fields.
CVE-2020-15689
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
Appweb before 7.2.2 and 8.x before 8.1.0, when built with CGI support, mishandles an HTTP request with a Range header that lacks an exact range. This may result in a NULL pointer dereference and cause a denial of service.
CVE-2019-4591
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
IBM Maximo Asset Management 7.6.0 and 7.6.1 does not invalidate session after logout which could allow a local user to impersonate another user on the system. IBM X-Force ID: 167451.