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

10/9/2012
12:45 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

RSA Adds Password-Protection Layer To Fight 'Smash-And-Grab' Attacks

New RSA Labs technology eliminates single point of failure in user-credential database hacks

Pilfered passwords are becoming the norm, especially in large-scale hacks that grab an e-commerce site or organization's database of credentials all in one swoop. RSA today added an extra hurdle that attackers have to clear to actually score the booty: software that scrambles, randomizes, and splits the information so it's not stored in a single point of failure.

The patented RSA Labs technology behind the new Distributed Credential Protection software basically makes it harder for the attackers to actually get any useful information during a breach. "It's another level of defense-in-depth. Salting and hashing is table stakes: Every company should be doing that," says Rachael Stockton, senior manager of data protection product marketing at RSA.

"Adding additional layers makes it much more expensive for the hackers to do the breach. By scrambling [the password data] and randomizing them and then splitting them into two locations, it makes it much harder for them to get useful information," she says.

So if an attacker is able to get to one of the servers, the information would be useless. And if the victim organization detects the breach, it can have the software alter the randomization of the passwords so that even if the attacker were to then get the second server, the data wouldn't match. "Even if no one detects that one server has been compromised, you can schedule [a refreshed randomization] on a weekly or daily basis. So the system is self-healing," says Damon Hopley, a product manager at RSA.

The bottom line is this extra layer increases the cost of the hack for the attacker. The only way an attacker could cheat it? If he or she were compromise two servers at the same time, which would be a difficult feat, experts say.

The technique of scrambling, randomizing, and splitting up the information isn't really new: It's how threshold cryptography works to protect encryption keys, says Scott Crawford, managing research director for Enterprise Management Associates. "The concept itself isn't new. Threshold crypto has been around a while now. But this is a new application of it" for passwords, he says.

And the need for an extra layer of defense boils down to two things: Passwords are here to stay -- for now, anyway -- and data breaches are for the most part inevitable.

"Server-side compromise is a fact of life," RSA's Hopley says.

RSA's Distributed Credential Protection is a virtual appliance, and is priced on a per-application basis -- $150,000 for a single application. RSA also offers a professional services package to go along with the technology, which Hopley says it recommends for help with the software.

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
State of SMB Insecurity by the Numbers
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-11674
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-22
Man-in-the-middle vulnerability in Micro Focus Self Service Password Reset, affecting all versions prior to 4.4.0.4. The vulnerability could exploit invalid certificate validation and may result in a man-in-the-middle attack.
CVE-2019-12967
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-22
Stephan Mooltipass Moolticute through 0.42.1 (and possibly earlier versions) has Incorrect Access Control.
CVE-2019-17189
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-22
totemodata 3.0.0_b936 has XSS via a folder name.
CVE-2019-4523
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-22
IBM DB2 High Performance Unload load for LUW 6.1 and 6.5 is vulnerable to a buffer overflow, caused by improper bounds checking which could allow a local attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system with root privileges. IBM X-Force ID: 165481.
CVE-2019-17424
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-22
A stack-based buffer overflow in the processPrivilage() function in IOS/process-general.c in nipper-ng 0.11.10 allows remote attackers (serving firewall configuration files) to achieve Remote Code Execution or Denial Of Service via a crafted file.