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Attacks/Breaches

4/11/2011
04:46 PM
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Yet Another Security Firm Breached: Employee Email, User Accounts Leaked

Barracuda Networks a victim of SQL injection attack on its website that exposed customer lead, partner, and internal user information

Another week, another security firm breach: Hackers have posted employee, partner, and customer credentials stolen from Barracuda Networks in what began with a SQL injection attack on the security firm's website.

UPDATE: Barracuda late tonight confirmed that its corporate website indeed had been hacked via a SQL injection attack, and names and emails of customer and partners, including some hashes of salted passwords, exposed. "However, all active passwords for applications in use remain secure," said Michael Perone, executive vice president and CMO at Barracuda in a blog posting on the security vendor's website.

Perone said the attack occurred when the company's web application firewall was accidentally set in passive monitoring mode during a maintenance period on the site. "So, the bad news is that we made a mistake ... The Barracuda Web Application Firewall in front of the Barracuda Networks Web site was unintentionally placed in passive monitoring mode and was offline through a maintenance window that started Friday night (April 8, 2011) after close of business Pacific time. Starting Saturday night at approximately 5pm Pacific time, an automated script began crawling our Web site in search of unvalidated parameters," he blogged.

The attackers found a SQL injection bug in PHP script in the company's customer case study database, which shared the company's marketing database of customer leads, partners, and some Barracuda employees. "The attack utilized one IP address initially to do reconnaissance and was joined by another IP address about three hours later. We have logs of all the attack activity, and we believe we now fully understand the scope of the attack," Perone blogged.

The hack first came to light earlier today in a public disclosure that was first reported by The Register today, a hacker who goes by "fdf" indicated in a post that he had used a blind SQL injection attack on a Web page for Barracuda customers. Among a list of more than 20 Barracuda databases noted as breached involve marketing; Barracuda University, a training and certification site; MySQL; Live Chat; phpmyadmin; and a database called "leads." Barracuda sells spam and antivirus firewalls, Web filtering hardware, instant messaging firewalls, and traditional firewalls.

Two users' SQL server admin credentials were exposed two users, plus some usernames that had not been in use for years, a Barracuda spokesperson says.

The hacker's post included screen shots of internal Barracuda email addresses and MD5 password hashes, as well as some from Barracuda University and internal live chat login information. The Web server that was hit was a Microsoft IIS 6.0-based platform, according to the disclosure.

Barracuda is the latest in a string of security firms to get hit this year, following HBGary, RSA, and Comodo. "Attackers are clearly targeting security companies. They are able to leverage the information they get for further attacks on their customers," says Chris Wysopal, CTO at Veracode. "It is not known at this time whether that is the intent of these attackers."

Coca-Cola, FedEx, Harvard University, IBM, L'Oreal, and Europcar are all customers of the privately held Barracuda, according to the security vendor's website.

Security experts say based on the screenshots posted on Barracuda by the alleged hackers, the breach appears to be a serious one.

"Barracuda employee password hashes were disclosed to the attackers. It is likely that many of these will be cracked swiftly and that some of these passwords give other access within Barracuda, perhaps through reuse," Wysopal said earlier today, prior to Barracuda's statement.

An older feature in Barracuda's security products for connecting to a customer's device was updated a while back so that the user would have to set up that support connection. But there still might be older versions out that don't have this feature, thus leaving those devices and customers vulnerable to attack, he says. "Since we don't know the intent of the attackers or where else they may have penetrated within Barracuda, it seems prudent to turn off updates until Barracuda can investigate and give the 'all clear' that their update mechanisms were not compromised," Wysopal says.

Wysopal applauded Barracuda's rapid public response to the attack and spelling out what was compromised. "This helps customers gauge how at risk they are when a security product or services provider is compromised. The trend of detailed attack disclosure by security companies such as RSA, HB Gary, and now Barracuda is a positive sign," he says. "My hope is that non-security companies such as Epsilon will do the same so the community can learn what attacks are working."

Meanwhile, the hacker who posted the breach information also gave a shout-out to several other hackers in his post, "Sorcerer," Kill_Tech," Y0y0, Sherina84, Tr4nsltr, Upxilon, Ghimau, otak, "and all Malaysian Hackers."

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.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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