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.

Risk

3/28/2008
03:44 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hundreds Of Servers Compromised In Hannaford Breach

More details about the credit breach at the Hannaford grocery chain are becoming known, and they aren't pretty.

More details about the credit breach at the Hannaford grocery chain are becoming known, and they aren't pretty.The Boston Globe reports that malware was installed on servers at every store in the Hannaford chain -- approximately 300 locations.

The details of the breach come from a letter sent by Hannaford's general counsel to authorities in Massachusetts.

According to the letter, the malware intercepted the credit card number and expiration date at the point of sale as it was being sent for authorization. The malware then sent batches of card numbers over the Internet to a foreign ISP.

The article calls the attack "new and sophisticated," but was it really? I'll grant that compromising hundreds of servers and then sniffing the point-of-sale traffic to gather the account data is pretty slick.

But it also seems to me that Hannaford's security processes failed in several areas where security processes just shouldn't these days.

First is the sheer number of servers compromised. There aren't any details in the Globe article about how the malware got onto the servers. If it was a remote intrusion, did the attackers exploit a known vulnerability? If so, how did Hannaford's vulnerability scanners miss it? The scale of the attack prompted some security professionals quoted in the article to speculate that it might have been an inside job.

And how about the malware? Perhaps this was a custom-written package, and so evaded anti-malware detection. But then there's fact that internal servers were transmitting outside the network to strange IPs. This should've raised flags somewhere -- server logs, IDS logs, firewall logs.

I realize it's easy to say the barn door should've been closed after the cow gets out, but server hardening and log review and analysis are Security 101.

PCI And The Law As if the breach weren't enough fun, Hannaford has to deal with two class-action lawsuits, including a suit filed by Berger & Montague, a firm that was also involved in a class action suit against TJX -- which TJX settled.

The suit alleges that Hannaford was "negligent for failing to maintain adequate computer data security of customer credit and debit card data."

Here's where things get interesting. Hannaford says it was certified PCI compliant in February 2008. If Hannaford is following industry best practices, that will make it harder, though not impossible, for the plaintiff to prove its case. (In fact, the lawyers don't really have to prove anything as they are probably gunning for a settlement. Given that every store in the chain was compromised and as many as 4.2 million card numbers could have been exposed, I'd wager they'll get it.)

Even more interesting is Hannaford's compliance status. The company says it was certified compliant a year ago, and was recertified compliant on Feb. 27 -- at the same time the breach was ongoing.

If Hannaford is a Level 1 merchant, that means a third-party assessor had to certify Hannaford as compliant. If this assessor certified Hannaford compliant while a breach was ongoing, does the assessor share any liability? You can bet the folks at Berger & Montague, and Hannaford's in-house lawyers, will be asking that question.

If Hannaford is Level 2 or 3, certification means filling out a self-assessment questionnaire and undergoing quarterly vulnerability scans. Maybe Hannaford's scanning vendor could get dragged in here.

We'll have to watch how these cases proceed. In any case, the whole mess should be very instructional to retailers everywhere.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-29430
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference Matrix identity server. Sydent does not limit the size of requests it receives from HTTP clients. A malicious user could send an HTTP request with a very large body, leading to memory exhaustion and denial of service. Sydent also does not limit response size for requests it mak...
CVE-2021-29431
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference Matrix identity server. Sydent can be induced to send HTTP GET requests to internal systems, due to lack of parameter validation or IP address blacklisting. It is not possible to exfiltrate data or control request headers, but it might be possible to use the attack to perform a...
CVE-2021-29432
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference matrix identity server. A malicious user could abuse Sydent to send out arbitrary emails from the Sydent email address. This could be used to construct plausible phishing emails, for example. This issue has been fixed in 4469d1d.
CVE-2021-29447
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Wordpress is an open source CMS. A user with the ability to upload files (like an Author) can exploit an XML parsing issue in the Media Library leading to XXE attacks. This requires WordPress installation to be using PHP 8. Access to internal files is possible in a successful XXE attack. This has be...
CVE-2021-30245
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
The project received a report that all versions of Apache OpenOffice through 4.1.8 can open non-http(s) hyperlinks. The problem has existed since about 2006 and the issue is also in 4.1.9. If the link is specifically crafted this could lead to untrusted code execution. It is always best practice to ...