Massive Breach at Epsilon Compromises Customer Lists of Major Brands | SecurityWeek.Com

Massive Breach at Epsilon Compromises Customer Lists of Major Brands | SecurityWeek.Com.

Epsilon’s breach is the latest in a string of breaches at Email Service Providers. The ESPs respond by saying it’s only email addresses. However, RSA’s latest update on its SecureID breach said it was started with a spear phishing attack.

 

RSA breach and APT – Detection Controls and Access Control

I would like to comment on RSA’s use of the term Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) in their Open Letter to RSA Customers. From my perspective, any company’s trade secrets are subject to APTs from someone. There is always some competitor or government that can benefit from your trade secrets. All APT means is that someone is willing to focus on your organization with resources of approximately the value of a penetration test plus the cost of acquiring a 0-day attack.

This means that you must assume that you are or will be compromised and therefore you must invest in “detection controls.”  In other words, your security portfolio must include detection as well as prevention controls. Important detection controls include intrusion detection, behavior anomaly detection, botnet command & control communications detection, and Security Information & Event Management (SIEM). If you don’t have the resources to administer and monitor these controls then you need to hire a managed security services provider (MSSP).

Furthermore, organizations must take a close look at their internal access control systems. Are they operationally and cost effective? Are you compromising effectiveness due to budget constraints? Are you suffering from “role explosion?” A three thousand person company with 800 Active Directory Groups is difficult to manage, to say the least. Does your access control system impede your responsiveness to changes in business requirements? Have you effectively implemented Separation of Duties? Can you cost effectively audit authorization?

How concerned should you be about the RSA breach?

Ars Technica provides an excellent analysis of the potential threats to users of RSA Secure-ID tokens as a result of the breach RSA announced.

RSA’s announcement was not specific in the information it gave, so exactly what this means for SecurID isn’t clear. In the likely worst case, the seed values and their distribution among RSA’s 25,000 SecurID-using customers, may have been compromised. This would make it considerably easier for attackers to compromise systems dependent on SecurID: rather than having to acquire a suitable token, they would be required only to eavesdrop on a single authentication attempt (so that they could determine how far through the sequence a particular token was), and from then on would be able to generate numbers at their whim.

The article also covers more benign, more grave, and less likely possibilities. I would think that RSA customers are receiving more precise information.

While Secure-ID is probably the most popular two-factor authentication solution, it may be worth noting that there are many other choices available from RSA and its competitors.