You will see this all over the headlines during the next days, weeks, and maybe even months. RSA, the security division of EMC, announced they were breached and suffered data loss.
Before the hype gets out of hand, here’s what we know, what we don’t, what you need to do, and some questions we hope are answered:
What we know
According to the announcement, RSA was breached in an APT attack (we don’t know if they mean China, but that’s well within the realm of possibility) and material related to the SecureID product was stolen.
The exact risk to customers isn’t clear, but there does appear to be some risk that the assurance of your two factor authentication has been reduced.
RSA states they are communicating directly with customers with hardening advice. We suspect those details are likely to leak or become public, considering how many people use SecurID. I can also pretty much guarantee the US government is involved at this point.
Our investigation has led us to believe that the attack is in the category of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Our investigation also revealed that the attack resulted in certain information being extracted from RSA’s systems. Some of that information is specifically related to RSA’s SecurID two-factor authentication products. While at this time we are confident that the information extracted does not enable a successful direct attack on any of our RSA SecurID customers, this information could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack. We are very actively communicating this situation to RSA customers and providing immediate steps for them to take to strengthen their SecurID implementations.
What we don’t know
We don’t know the nature of the attack. They specifically referenced APT, which means it’s probably related to custom malware, which could have been infiltrated in a few different ways – a web application attack (SQL injection), email/web phishing, or physical access (e.g., an infected USB device – deliberate or accidental). Everyone will have their favorite pet theory, but right now none of us know cr** about what really happened. Speculation is one of our favorite pastimes, but largely meaningless other than as entertainment, until details are released (or leak).
We don’t know how SecurID is affected. This is a big deal, and the odds are just about 100% that this will leak… probably soon. For customers this is the most important question.
What you need to do
If you aren’t a SecurID customer… enjoy the speculation.
If you are, make sure you contact your RSA representative and find out if you are at risk, and what you need to do to mitigate that risk. How high a priority this is depends on how big a target you are – the Big Bad APT isn’t interested in all of you.
The letter’s wording might mean the attackers have a means to generate certain valid token values (probably only in certain cases). They would also need to compromise the password associated with that user. I’m speculating here, which is always risky, but that’s what I think we can focus on until we hear otherwise. So reviewing the passwords tied to your SecurID users might be reasonable.
- While we don’t need all the details, we do need to know something about the attacker to evaluate our risk. Can you (RSA) reveal more details?
- How is SecurID affected and will you be making mitigations public?
- Are all customers affected or only certain product versions and/or configurations?
- What is the potential vector of attack?
- Will you, after any investigation is complete, release details so the rest of us can learn from your victimization?
Finally – if you have a token from a bank or other provider, make sure you give them a few days and then ask them for an update.
If we get more information we’ll update this post. And sorry to you RSA folks… this isn’t fun, and I’m not looking forward to the day it’s our turn to disclose.
Update 19:20 PT: RSA let us know they filed an 8-K. The SecureCare document is linked here and the recommendations are a laundry list of security practices… nothing specific to SecurID. This is under active investigation and the government is involved, so they are limited in what they can say at this time. Based on the advice provided, I won’t be surprised if the breach turns out to be email/phishing/malware related.