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

5/18/2009
06:11 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

On Prison And Corporate Data Escapes

In its broadest sense, social engineering is deception to manipulate or exploit people. That's exactly how more than 50 Mexican inmates were freed this weekend. How much proprietary corporate data is "liberated" in much the same way?

In its broadest sense, social engineering is deception to manipulate or exploit people. That's exactly how more than 50 Mexican inmates were freed this weekend. How much proprietary corporate data is "liberated" in much the same way?The New York Times ran a story late Saturday afternoon about how armed men dressed as Mexican federal police, walked into a jail within the state of Zacatecas and freed 50 inmates -- who are believed to be drug traffickers:

The team of criminals who gained entry to the prison in Cieneguillas showed how vulnerable Mexican institutions remain.

The men arrived in a caravan of 15 vehicles with police markings as well as in a helicopter, according to news reports. To gain entry, the gunmen claimed that they were carrying out an authorized prisoner transfer.

After subduing the guards, they left with 53 of the prison's 1,500 inmates, in an operation that lasted only minutes, officials said.

Authorities believe some prison guards and supervisors may have been in on the action.

So what does a Mexican jailbreak from the northern part of the country, involving stolen uniforms, helicopters, and a boatload of gumption have to do with corporate data security?

Plenty.

Who in your organization would have the audacity to stop uniformed guards and ask for identification, and for them to provide the names, or a letter, substantiating the authority for them to be doing whatever they're doing? Such as wheeling boxes of data, hard drives, or whatever out the front door?

Consider this recount, on Dark Reading, of a social engineering, physical security test on this security firm's client conducted by Bob Clary:

The client also had moved into a new building and requested we test its physical security and social-engineer our way into the building to connect to the network. By leveraging the ability to be on the inside of the network, our vulnerability scanning and testing of its network security would be considerably more efficient.

So Bob entered the building as if he were just another employee. Unlike other social-engineering efforts that require disguises, following the company dress code of business casual seemed appropriate. Bob wore his favored attire of blue jeans and t-shirt, accompanied by white sneakers.

When he entered the building on day one, he walked by security and rode the elevator to the first available floor. Within minutes, he had located an empty cubicle, connected his laptop, and started scanning the network. On day two, he entered the building and successfully commandeered another floor and cubicle. Within the next few days, Bob was reserving conference rooms -- and in some cases, asking occupants to leave when they overstayed their reserved time.

I don't care how much you invest in IT security. If your physical security is as open as this, and your employees don't bother to question anyone: you are as good as pwned.

For my mobile security and tech observations, follow my Twitter account.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
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-2021-3506
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory access flaw was found in fs/f2fs/node.c in the f2fs module in the Linux kernel in versions before 5.12.0-rc4. A bounds check failure allows a local attacker to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a system crash or a leak of internal kernel information. The hi...
CVE-2021-20208
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
A flaw was found in cifs-utils in versions before 6.13. A user when mounting a krb5 CIFS file system from within a container can use Kerberos credentials of the host. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to data confidentiality and integrity.
CVE-2021-27458
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
If Ethernet communication of the JTEKT Corporation TOYOPUC product series’ (TOYOPUC-PC10 Series: PC10G-CPU TCC-6353: All versions, PC10GE TCC-6464: All versions, PC10P TCC-6372: All versions, PC10P-DP TCC-6726: All versions, PC10P-DP-IO TCC-6752: All versions, PC10B-P TCC-6373: Al...
CVE-2020-27241
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in ‘getAssets.jsp’ page of OpenClinic GA 5.173.3. The serialnumber parameter in the getAssets.jsp page is vulnerable to unauthenticated SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger...
CVE-2021-3497
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
GStreamer before 1.18.4 might access already-freed memory in error code paths when demuxing certain malformed Matroska files.