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

Nasdaq Says Web-Facing Application Was Compromised

Director's Desk infected with malware, but trading exchange unaffected, Nasdaq maintains

Nasdaq this weekend released a public disclosure that its Directors Desk application had been hacked, but it is emphasizing that its stock trading exchange was not affected.

"Through our normal security monitoring systems we detected suspicious files on the U.S. servers unrelated to our trading systems and determined that our Web-facing application, Directors Desk, was potentially affected, Nasdaq said in a statement. "The files were immediately removed and at this point, there is no evidence that any Directors Desk customer information was accessed or acquired by hackers. Our trading platform architecture operates independently from our Web-facing services like Directors Desk, and at no point was any of NASDAQ OMX's operated or serviced trading platforms compromised."

Although Nasdaq did not offer more detail on the breach, security experts around the Web were able to add some insight. In a blog posted Monday, researchers at anti-malware service provider Dasient dissected the attack and provided their feedback on what happened to Nasdaq.

"The target of this attack are the roughly 10,000 executives that use the Nasdaq information portal Directors Desk," Dasient said. "It appears that attackers were able to inject drive-by-download malware onto the website.

"Although sources familiar with the matter claim that the exchange's trading platforms were not affected, the risks of this attack are nonetheless very high. Visitors to the website would have been exposed to malware which could at a later time log their keystrokes and steal passwords to sensitive trading accounts or other information."

A source who is familiar with the Nasdaq security staffing situation said the organization has recently put a new security team in place, and inexperience might have been a factor in the breach. "Their security processes are immature and not well developed yet, being so new," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. "From the inside, there are a lot of issues, and they are struggling to get their arms around everything."

Several vendors Monday said the hack could have been prevented.

"The real crime is that any organization can very well protect all data and mitigate the effect criminals can have fairly quickly and easily," commented Mark Bower, data security expert and VP product management at Voltage Security. "The focus should not have to be on compliance; it should be about doing the right thing and being responsible. If you have the ability to protect sensitive information but don't, that may very well boil down to criminal negligence."

"This breach demonstrates why organizations need better visibility into who and what is accessing their networks and their vital company data," said Frank Andrus, co-founder and CTO of network security vendor Bradford Networks. "Security starts with visibility."

"The Nasdaq security team apparently identified the issue internally, but the question is how long before the infection was detected," Dasient says in its blog. "How many days, weeks, or months was the infection out there? And how many users were exposed to the malware in the meantime?"

Nasdaq says it discovered the issue weeks before the breach disclosure, but did not go public at the request of law enforcement agencies that wanted to keep the investigation quiet.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Attackers Leave Stolen Credentials Searchable on Google
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2021
How to Better Secure Your Microsoft 365 Environment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/25/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: We need more votes, check the obituaries.
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3317
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
KLog Server through 2.4.1 allows authenticated command injection. async.php calls shell_exec() on the original value of the source parameter.
CVE-2013-2512
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
The ftpd gem 0.2.1 for Ruby allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via shell metacharacters in a LIST or NLST command argument within FTP protocol traffic.
CVE-2021-3165
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
SmartAgent 3.1.0 allows a ViewOnly attacker to create a SuperUser account via the /#/CampaignManager/users URI.
CVE-2021-1070
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier Series, Jetson Xavier NX, TX1, TX2, Nano and Nano 2GB, L4T versions prior to 32.5, contains a vulnerability in the apply_binaries.sh script used to install NVIDIA components into the root file system image, in which improper access control is applied, which may lead to an un...
CVE-2021-1071
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
NVIDIA Tegra kernel in Jetson AGX Xavier Series, Jetson Xavier NX, TX1, TX2, Nano and Nano 2GB, all L4T versions prior to r32.5, contains a vulnerability in the INA3221 driver in which improper access control may lead to unauthorized users gaining access to system power usage data, which may lead to...