Security – Hell in a handbasket

The last 2 weeks have really been a bad time for security news and one has to hope things will change for the better; if not, the headline says it all!

BlueKeep

Microsoft released a security patch 2 weeks ago related to Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is used to remote access Windows systems. I’ve long said RDP was inherently insecure and the chickens are coming home to roost now – RDP was found to be vulnerable to a recently disclosed critical, wormable, remote code execution vulnerability.

Dubbed BlueKeep and tracked as CVE-2019-0708, the vulnerability affects Windows 2003, XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 editions and could spread automatically on unprotected systems. The vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code and take control of a targeted computer just by sending specially crafted requests to the device’s Remote Desktop Service (RDS) via the RDP—without requiring any interaction from a user.

So to summarise:

  1. no authentication required
  2. remotely triggered
  3. full control over target devices
  4. no interaction required

The issue is so critical that Microsoft took the unusual step of pushing out patches for older unsupported versions of Windows including XP, Server 2003 and Vista. Time to patch?

MDS

As mentioned in a special blog entry a few days ago, new Intel side channel attacks have come to light, 4 of them collectively known as MDS or more colloquially, ZombieLoad. Yip, time for a stiff whiskey.

The 4 attacks are:

  • CVE-2018-12126 – Microarchitectural Store Buffer Data Sampling (MSBDS) [codenamed Fallout]?
  • CVE-2018-12127 – Microarchitectural Load Port Data Sampling (MLPDS)
  • CVE-2018-12130 – Microarchitectural Fill Buffer Data Sampling (MFBDS) [codenamed Zombieload, or RIDL]?
  • CVE-2018-11091 – Microarchitectural Data Sampling Uncacheable Memory (MDSUM)

Remediation includes both firmware (or microcode) and OS patches. Performance impact is expected to be around 10-15% for these patches. When you take this into consideration, along with performance impacts of previous remediations relating to Spectre/Meltdown, we’re starting to get Celeron performance in Xeon chips. Nice – $200 performance for $2000+ prices. Pay more, get less : )

On the bright side, you’re not affected if running AMD CPUs. And seeing the performance improvements in AMD’s latest Ryzen and EPYC chips, along with Intel’s chip shortage, that’s looking like a very good platform bet for the future.

Flipboard

In a case of “yet another online service breached” – let’s call it YAOSB, Flipboard advised that they were the unlucky (smile) recipient of 2 attacks last and this year, during which “an unauthorized party infiltrated some of its databases more than once and “potentially obtained copies” of the user information they contained.”

Besides usernames, email addresses and passwords, the miscreants also got hold of tokens used to connect Flipboard to other social media services such as Facebook.

Do NOT connect 1 social media service to another. Don’t do it. Ever. Even if they ask. With a pretty please.

So all in all, tough times for service providers all round. Patch, patch, patch. Change passwords. You know the drill.

Vuln mitigation and INtel MDS – the spectre looms

Spectre and Meltdown a have been with us for just over a year now and even with all the predictions of dire consequences, we have yet to see any in-the-wild code snippets or attacks beyond theoretical POCs. So the question to ask is whether we should be losing a lot of hardware performance (most of the associated mitigations have performance impacts) for the sake of potentially theoretical security issues.

I recently had a chat to a client about in what order vulns should be mitigated in their organization and what strategy to use in optimizing patch deployment. Admittedly the most popular, and common option is to approach this from the view of criticality. It’s rated critical so we should fix it? Well, not necessarily: there are many variables which impact the potential order of fix for your specific site or organisation. Factors like nature of systems, impact trend of the vuln, age and type of vuln, type of application, patching intervals, is it remote exploitable, reach and platform types can factor in more than just the CVSS score.

This class of CPU architectural issues is a specific case in point. Yes theoretically it’s possible to perform the exploits but have there been any practical implementations yet? No? So do we really need to patch? When there’s large costs associated with critical data loss and compromise, the choice is a difficult one and cuts a fine line.

And this class of exploit is not slowing down. A new Intel-focussed vuln called MDS (that apparently does not affect ARM or AMD platforms) comprising 4 related techniques was released in mid-May, the 3rd such announcement this year already.

Side channel attacks seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but again, this vuln (or class of vulns) is listed as being complex to exploit and possibly as theoretical as all the others have been. Apple’s immediate response was to switch off SMT (commonly know as hyperthreading) which results in an approximate 40% performance hit. As was Google’s response for Chrome OS. I can just see Homer saying “Duh?”.

Disabling HT/SMT by the way, does not completely mitigate MDS …

Once again, mitigations include hardware, firmware microcode and software/OS components, all of which need to be aligned to get full protection. Notwithstanding patching strategies and other blockers in rolling out co-ordinated fixes like this, what will the practical reach be for these patches? Servers will languish with delays and desktops (and other IOT devices) may never even get the firmware fixes.

So it’s all a bit wishy washy at the moment. Time for some risk analysis.

A lesson in supply chain attacks

What happens when the websites we visit and the companies we depend on to provide us with information, are compromised? Supply chain attacks go to the root of information we depend on rather than attack us directly.

A recent attack on the Asus infrastructure paints the exact scenario for supply chain attacks. Attackers compromised an Asus update server to push a malicious backdoor onto numerous customers. The attackers’ aim was to target 600 specific machines however the malicious code was eventually delivered to many more machines.

The malicious code was signed with a compromised but valid Asus certificate which makes detecting this type of attack very difficult. And because the client implicitly trusts a certificate signed by Asus, it will accept the malicious code download.

So what can one do about supply chain attacks? Beyond being very careful about the sites you visit and where you download from, there’s not a whole lot you can do. When even mainstream and trusted sites can compromised, we’re all in a grey zone.

2018 the year of the hacked router

I’ve spoken in depth on consumer (and some enterprise) router security issues.  In brief summary, these devices are pieces of scrap that are full of vulnerabilities and very seldom get updated to fix issues.

It’s no coincidence that this year has seen an exponential growth in attacks on routers as well as botnets making use of pwned routers and other IoT devices. Device pwnage is now one of the main vectors for malicious attacks especially as regards ransomware distribution and cryptomining.

As far as consumer devices go, Wireless Access Points (APs) are in the same poor league as routers, and the same remediations mentioned at the bottom of this article apply. Bluetooth is another area where vulnerabilities are often found so caution is required there too.

Some of the big ones this year:

  • Mikrotik routers vulnerable to VPNfilter attack used in cryptojacking campaigns
  • Mikrotik routers have a vuln in Winbox (their Windows-based admin tool) that allows for root shell and remote code exec – the new exploit could allow unauthorized attackers to hack MikroTik’s RouterOS system, deploy malware payloads or bypass router firewall protections
  • Dlink routers have 8 vulns listed in OCt 2018 including plaintext password and RCE issues
  • VPNfilter affecting multiple brand routers including Linksys, Netgear and TPlink
  • Cisco has had a torrid time this year with multiple backdoors
  • Datacom routers shipped without a telnet password
  • Hard-coded root account in ZTE routers

The Dlink issue is so bad that the US FTC has filed a lawsuit against Dlink citing poor security practices.

To summarise, why all these issues?

  • lowest quality devices to cater for low consumer pricing
  • very little innovation or security in software design leading to (many) vulnerabilities
  • vendors have no interest in maintaining firmware
  • manual updates and/or no notification of updates
  • default and/or backdoor credentials
  • insecure UPnP, HNAP and WPS protocols
  • consumers not skilled in configuration so config left at factory defaults
  • open and web-accessible ports

So how can consumers protect themselves?

  • change default admin credentials
  • change the defaults SSID (WIFI) name
  • enable and only use WPA2 encryption
  • disable telnet, WPS, UPNP and HNAP
  • don’t use cloud-based router management
  • disable remote admin access
  • install new firmware when released (monitor your vendors support website)
  • change access details for your router’s web management interface (eg. IP address and/or port)
  • make use of an open DNS solution like OpenDNS or Google DNS
  • advanced: reflash your router’s firmware with alternatives like DD-WRT or OpenWRT

At minimum, consumer devices have no place in business networks, including SMEs. Even when backgrounded by a firewall, non-bridge mode routers can still be compromised and used for external attacks. And it’s been shown that some enterprise-class equipment (eg. Mikrotik and Cisco) suffer from serious issues too.

For home users, the situation is more difficult primarily because of cost – any more specialised equipment is likely to be out of price range for these users. As well, skill requirements for non-consumer equipment increases significantly (consider that most consumers struggle with consumer devices already) so that may be out of the question. Until vendors start thinking about security seriously and bake it into their products, this will continue to be an ongoing issue.

Microsoft (surprisingly) has started a project called Azure Sphere which is a Linux-based operating system that allows 3rd party vendors to design IoT and consumer devices using an embedded security processor (MCU), a secured OS and Cloud Security to significantly improve the overall security surface of their devices. This is an admirable effort and hopefully many vendors get on board or initiate similar projects.

Absent any change in the consumer device arena and their current lax attitude towards security, the issue of botnets and distribution networks is likely to only get significantly worse over time.

 

Update from The Register:  Spammer scum hack 100,000 home routers via UPnP vulns to craft email-flinging botnet

Update from ZDNet: Bleedingbit zero-day chip flaws may expose majority of enterprises to remote code execution attacks

Some more on Chalubo: This botnet snares your smart devices to perform DDoS attacks with a little help from Mirai

And BlueBorne: Security flaws put billions of Bluetooth phones, devices at risk

(S)RUM

Veronica Schmitt, a senior digital forensic scientist at DFIRLABS, recently featured on Paul’s Security Weekly, showcasing the Microsoft SRUM system tool (System Resource Utilization Monitor).

SRUM was first introduced in Windows 8, and was a new feature designed to track system resource utilization such as CPU cycles, network activity, power consumption, etc. Analysts can use the data collected by SRUM to paint a picture of a user’s activity, and even correlate that activity with network-related events, data transfer, processes, and more.

Very little is known about SRUM outside of a few notes and videos online, and most tellingly, very few sysadmins know about the storage function of this tool.

That sounds pretty interesting.  And it is, especially for performance and system monitoring.

But …

The output from SRUM is continually (at 60min intervals) written to an ese DB, which in turn can be read by a python tool called srum-dump written by Mark Bagget and output to a CSV for further analytics.

The scary part of this is how much data SRUM is actually writing out to the db and what info can be gleaned from this db in forensics terms. Essentially, any actions performed or data generated by a user on that system, can we retrieved at a later stage by srum-dump.

From a forensics pov, that’s brilliant but from a privacy pov, it is very scary. Especially as very few people realise this is going on in the background. It’s also scary in the way that if a (Windows) machine is compromised, the SRUM db can be used to propagate additional (lateral or vertical) malicious activity depending on the data identified.

Comments welcome …

VPNFilter and other neat tricks

The Spectre and Meltdown attacks that came to light at the beginning of the year have been the main focus of this year’s security issues however there has been a lot more going on than that.

On that note though, additional Spectre variations have been found (we’re up to v4 now); as well, the BSD team has alluded to a notice for the end of June potentially regarding Hyper Threading in Intel CPUs which could have far-reaching effects for virtualisation systems.

But on to the main topic of this post: VPNFilter is a modular malware that infects consumer or SOHO routers and can perform a number of malware-related functions. It is thought to be the work of Russian state-sponsored attackers “Fancy Bear” who have been fingered for previous attacks like BlackEnergy.

The attack is split into 3 stages:

  1. exploit router and pull down image from Photobucket website
  2. the metadata in the image is used to determine the IP address for stage 2; open a listener and wait for a trigger packet for direct connection
  3. connect from Command and Control, and engage plugins for stage 3

Some new stage 3 plugins have recently come to light including:

  1. inject malicious content into web traffic as it passes through a network device
  2. remove traces of itself from the device and render the device unusable
  3. perform man in the middle attacks (mitm) to deliver malware and exploits to connected systems
  4. packet sniffer module that monitors data specific to industrial control systems (SCADA)

If this sounds scary, then you’re on the right track. But think bigger, much bigger. Because the attacker is on the device connecting users to the internet, it could potentially both monitor and alter any internet traffic.

From ARSTechnica:

“Besides covertly manipulating traffic delivered to endpoints inside an infected network, ssler is also designed to steal sensitive data passed between connected end-points and the outside Internet. It actively inspects Web URLs for signs they transmit passwords and other sensitive data so they can be copied and sent to servers that attackers continue to control even now, two weeks after the botnet was publicly disclosed.”

What devices are affected? The full list is in the Cisco Talos blog post on the issue however briefly it includes upwards of 70 models from vendors like TP-Link, Dlink, Netgear, Linksys and Mikrotik, all of which are consumer units that can be expected to be used in SOHO environments.

On to Satori, a more recent botnet based on the formerly impressive Mirai code that caused havoc with denial-of-service attacks in 2016. Satori uses the Mirai code as a foundation for a series of evolving exploits that allows the botnet to control devices with even strong credentials.

The initial attack was targeted at Huawei and Realtek routers, however the botnet controllers have displayed impressive skills by moving on to bitcoin miners and now consumer routers like Dlink’s DSL2750B.

“Attack code exploiting the two-year-old remote code-execution vulnerability was published last month, although Satori’s customized payload delivers a worm. That means infections can spread from device to device with no end-user interaction required.”

Dlink currently has no firmware update for this issue. Which brings me back to a statement that I’ve echoed on this blog numerous times – no one should be using consumer routers, or at least routers that do not have a history of consistent security updates. The internet is littered with hundreds of models of router from many manufacturers that are full of holes that do not have a fix from the manufacturer.

Consumer manufacturers do not have the skill to design secure devices nor do they have the capacity to fix broken and exploitable devices. This leaves a sizeable portion of internet users at the mercy of attackers.

And that is scary.

Loki god of …?

In the field of IT Security, one learns very quickly that there’s always another security risk around the corner. An old favourite, the Loki Botnet, is back for another bite of the pie shortly after the fun with WannaCry a week ago.

( Loki a god in Norse mythology, was sometimes good and sometimes bad. Loki the virus is all bad. )

Loki is a malware bot that steals passwords from applications and e-wallets, and it’s been around since early 2015, so has a solid track record. There is a new variant doing the rounds and it’s upped the ante with the ability to steal credentials from over 100 applications. The virus initiates via email PDF attachment or web download so the standard advice of being wary of attachments applies.

It’s unclear at this time if the malware is stealing credentials from stored password databases or from the application itself while running. In all cases, it’s important to:

  1. not execute unknown email attachments
  2. use strong passwords
  3. make use of AV and anti-malware software

On a related note, browsers are often targets of password stealing malware – Firefox, IE, Opera and Safari are all on the list of browsers that Loki ‘supports’. Of note, Firefox ( and related browsers ) is the only one out of this bunch that supports a master password.

Firefox by default stores passwords in a file that is encrypted. Without a master password, this file could be copied to another Firefox instance and viewed there. The master password applies additional encryption and essentially 2FA which means that the password file is useless without the master password.

Chrome/IE uses the OS’ secure encrypted storage ( eg. WPA, Keychain or Wallet ) to store your information – if the OS is compromised then so are your details.

It’s useful to know that using sync solutions ( eg. Google SmartLock, Apple iCloud ) will mean that your details are stored on someone else’s systems and may be accessible by the provider.

Browser password managers know which site is related to which password entry – this means that they can protect you against phishing and other attacks( by checking SSL certs ) using lookalike sites and other tomfoolery. This is another reason to use SSL-encrypted sites.

I’ve written about password managers before, but to reiterate, if you want the best in password management and security, use a dedicated password manager. They provide strong encryption, master password and  encryption keys. And some provide neat tools to auto-input credentials into web sites and applications.

Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and your digital data

The recent Facebook/CA fiasco should be known to most people by now but here is a brief rundown in case you’re unaware.

Aleksander Kogan, a Russian-American researcher, worked as a lecturer at Cambridge University, which has a Psychometrics Centre. The Centre advises to be able to use data from Facebook (including “likes”) to ascertain people’s personality traits. Cambridge Analytica and one of its founders, Christopher Wylie, attempted to work with the Centre for purposes of vote profiling. It refused, but Kogan accepted the offer in a private/CA capacity.

Kogan did not advise his relationship with CA when asking Facebook (which allows user data to be used for ‘research purposes’) for permission to use the data.  He created an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ which provided a personality prediction.

If this sounds familiar, then yes, many have probably filled in similar ‘tests’ which are available as apps on the Facebook (and other) platform. What most people don’t however know is that these apps are far more insidious than the playful front that they portray. The data collected by these apps can be used for any number of nefarious uses, and as in case, are being used in ways that break the user privacy agreement.

Kogan ended up providing private user data on up to 50 million users to CA, not for academic research but for political profiling purposes. This included not only users that had installed the app, but friends of those users as well. CA then used this data in commercial cases by working with various political parties and people (including Ted Crux and Trump campaigns). The product was called phsychographics.

Anyone who has read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series may see parallels here with the character Hari Seldon’s phsychohistory which is an algorithmic science that allows him to predict the future in probabilistic terms. This is fairly hard-core Science Fiction …

To see this kind of future-looking large scale profiling occurring in 2015/6 is quite shocking.

Facebook was aware of this information sharing as early as 2015 and had asked Kogan and CA to remove the data. But they never took it further to confirm that this had indeed been done.

This is pretty embarrassing for Facebook and its almost 10% stock drop this week confirms this. The larger concern for Facebook is that the company signed a deal with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2011 that was specifically focused on enforcing user privacy settings. So this saga may be a contravention of that agreement …  and Facebook have more troubles ahead seeing as both US and EU authorities are looking into the matter. Facebook execs have already been before the UK Parliament and are accused now of lying about the facts in this case.

Arstechnica’s take on the story

Christopher Wylie, the brains behind the technology in use, had previously left CA once realising what they were doing, and became the whistleblower that has lead to the furor over the last few weeks.

The Guardian’s article on Christopher Wylie

The NYTimes article

While some will say that they’re not worried about the data that is collected about them, this scenario shows that the issue is much bigger than individuals. Profiling of large groups of people based in individual user data is now a thing.

In the case of Facebook specifically, one can:

This story should be enough for most to rethink their online presence and activity. It’s not necessarily a matter of removing yourself from the Internet but rather being very circumspect about the information your offer up about yourself. Because your information is being bought, sold and used as a weapon against you.

Meltdown and Spectre – hardware gone wild!

We’ve had some big doozies over the last 2 years from a security point of view, but the latest CPU hardware-related bugs called Spectre and Meltdown, that started making headlines early last week, surely take the cake. One has to be careful though in classifying these as bugs, because those affected would say these were conscious design choices in their CPUs, although they must have seen the potential side-effects of their choices.

So what are we actually talking about here?

First, Google’s Project Zero was started in 2014 and is a group of security analysts dedicated to finding vulnerabilities in IT systems. Some of the biggest vulnerabilities in IT systems over the last few years, have been found by GPZ so when they talk, people tend to listen.

GPZ found some interesting cache timing attacks in CPUs in the 1st half of 2017 and advised the affected  vendors on June 1st 2017. The attacks (can) effectively lead to leaked information from kernel memory, a very bad situation to say the least. Public inclusion was limited to give all vendors time to come up with resolutions however in December, another security group caught wind of the issues, released their findings and as of the beginning of this year, the rest is history.

The issues exist in most CPUs (especially Intel) going back to 1995 and are classed into 2 groups:

  • Meltdown
  • Spectre type 1 and 2

Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system.

Meltdown has a fairly straightforward fix (which has been released by most OS vendors already) however there can be a performance penalty (sometimes significant) depending on the configuration and circumstances of systems. Intel specifically has tried to downplay the extent of performance degradation, but it is so severe in some cases, that affected vendors are advising not to implement the fixes.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) applied their meltdown patches this weekend past and many of their large customers have been showing light to medium performance impacts.

Note that these issues affect everything from desktop PCs, embedded and mobiles to servers and cloud systems.

Microsoft have advised that older processors with older versions of Windows are likely to suffer more. In addition, Microsoft has pulled their patch for PC systems based on AMD processors due to a compatibility issue.

Another aspect of the Meltdown issue on Windows OS’s is that certain AntiVirus packages have very deep hooks into the kernel to detect rootkit and other kernel-related malicious activity. And these are not playing nice with the patches leading Microsoft to implement a registry key system requiring AV vendors to set a key that confirms their compatibility with the patch. Messy mutch?

Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre.

Spectre is harder to exploit than Meltdown, but it is also harder to mitigate. Most vendors do NOT have fixes for Spectre yet at this moment or at best, existing fixes are incomplete. The reason for this is that the fixes require co-ordination between firmware, CPU microcode and operating system – a delicate and difficult balancing act requiring all vendors to work very closely together.

So where does that leave the general public? On the one hand, Meltdown is mostly sorted but with performance penalties probable and Spectre fixes are an ongoing project leaving unprotected systems at the mercy of potential 0-day attacks.

Most users or organisations running endpoint and perimeter security systems should be ok as these have been retrofitted with protections against potential attacks.

But the situation remains pretty fluid at the moment and we’re likely to see a lot more activity on this over the next few weeks. As usual, patch everything that can be patched.

Multichoice and some news

DSTV has always been a contentious subject amongst South Africans.  Multichoice paved the way for pay-tv with the introduction of Mnet in the mid-80’s; following this, they introduced the digital satellite service DSTV in 1995 effectively becoming a monopoly in South Africa. High costs, many repeats and channel binding seem to show Multichoice as the face of corporate greed,  and a product set that leaves much to be desired. It’s no wonder that in recent times, millennials and others, have been leaving the channel in droves, and looking at alternatives like Netflix and Multichoice’s own streaming solution, Showmax.

However there is now another reason to leave DSTV/Multichoice – it seemingly appears they have been complicit in funding the Guptas, albeit indirectly through (very) large payments to ANN7, the formerly-owned Guptas propaganda mouthpiece. Most of us know ANN7 as a channel that spews non-factual nonsense concerning everyday events in SA.

Multichoice have allegedly paid ANN7 around R250 million over the last 5 years to ‘host’ the ANN7 channel on DSTV. Multichoice had been lobbying former comms minister Muthambi to push through a decision in favour of encrypted set-top boxes for another controversial project, SABC’s Digital TV migration. That project is now mired in legal squabbles over tender and project irregularities due to the question: should the set-top boxed be encrypted or not?

In actual fact, the question comes down to: should the boxes be allowed to host paid-for content/channels (read Multichoice) as opposed to only free-to-air channels. There are opposing views on whether allowing encryption would benefit poorer households. One view is that if decryption had been included in STBs, some poorer households may eventually have been able to purchase pay TV channels without having to buy completely new devices. An opposing view is that since the STBs are going to the country’s poorest people, it would be predatory to use these households as the foundation for a new business venture.

So the question comes back to why have Multichoice (and indirectly its parent Naspers) been paying ANN7 what appears to be a lot of money, for a channel that is by all accounts, a Gupta mouthpiece? Some may argue that this was done to curry favour with the Guptas who seemingly have extended their influence into every sphere of government. Some might argue further that the Guptas had enough pull in government circles to get the vote regarding STBs, to swing in Multichoice’s favour.

Whatever the reason is, Multichoice paying to host ANN7, has irked many in South Africa. A number of other companies, including global-based like KPMG, SAP and McKinsey, have been implicated in irregular dealings with Gupta-affiliated companies and Multichoice’s actions in this matter paint them in a similar light.

The fact is that the South African public may have unwittingly been party to, and funding, corruption through their monthly DSTV premiums. That does not sit well with many.

While Multichoice continues to tout impressive statistics for their pay-tv membership, I think the truth is slightly different and with alternatives becoming available, things are likely to change further.

I left DSTV over 3 years ago and have never looked back. I know many others in my peer group who have done the same. It’s only diehard sports fans who remain loyal to DSTV’s admittedly good sports channel lineup, although the fact that you need their premium package for this, grates.

Will you stay with DSTV?

South African Security (Fails)

It’s been a while since my last post but recent events in SA around security have prompted me to write this post.

It starts with an open website containing what is now believed to be upwards of 70 million entries for names, ID numbers, income, addresses and other information on South African citizens/residents including possibly around 12 million children. This data leak was originally exposed by Troy Hunt from HAVEIBEENPWNED fame, and came in the form of a website from (now believed to be) Jigsaw Holdings, an apparent IT partner of ERA, the property group. It took service provider almost 3 days to plug the leak.

The data was also available in the form of a database file seeded through torrents which means there was widespread access to this data. The fallout from this leak is likely to be big and long lasting, and identity theft is a primary result from leak data such as this. Everyone needs to be extra vigilant on their personal data in the coming years.

Ster Kinekor is also on HAVEIBEENPWNED’s list and unfortunately SK have not come forward with details or advised their customers of this breach. I’ve contacted them on 3 occasions in an attempt to get details on the breach but so far they have  remained mum. #sterkinekor #securityfail …

#computicket also remains stubbornly out of touch with web security  and the safety of their customers – their public website has offered non-SSL access to their site/booking system forever and after contacting them 3 times over the last 2 months to advise them as such, nothing has been done. This is a simple matter of putting in a web-redirect from HTTP to HTTPS which should take a seasoned admin all of 30 seconds to do.

Their front-end staff responses to my calls show their utter ignorance on the matter:

Apparently the main login to their site that is used by all customers is not a transactional page …

So let’s take a look at the site as of last week:

 

Yip no padlock, no security …

There are many examples of this kind of incompetence all around the web/world and also here in SA. There are a lot of people without the necessary skills, putting up websites and publicly accessible systems and not securing them properly.

The best advice I can offer on these types of shenanigans is to use a password database (like KeePass) and a unique password for each site. If one of the sites you use is compromised, at least that data can’t be used to access your other sites.

Stay safe!

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