Data Loss, this time with Network Solutions

Data Loss, this time with Network Solution

Network Solutions, one of the largest domain registrars recently announced a data breach. Malicious code was found on its e-commerce server which may have captured transactions from thousands of websites and capturing half a million or more credit cards. The company said they found the code during a routine check. Since the breach occurred between March 12 and June 8th, how routine was the actual checks? I wonder when their last vulnerability assessment or Information security risk assessment was conducted? Data loss prevention is sorely lacking in just about every industry.

Here is what the company said “At this point, we have no reports or other reasons to believe that any credit card account information has been misused and, under established practice, credit card issuing companies generally will not hold our merchants’ customers liable for any fraudulent purchases made using their credit card account numbers that are reported in a timely way to the issuer,” a statement from the company reads. All these statements around hacker breaches and stolen credit cards read the same.

The process now begins where all the merchants have to be identified, then each merchant has to notify their customers. Their customer then have to work with their banks to stop credit cards, have to get credit monitoring and thus goes the Circle of Life (of data breaches) Here is the list of data breaches in 2009 alone. If you recall the breaches of Heartland Payment Systems and RBS WorldPay, the breachescaused them to be removed from the PCI security audit () list . Well that should be obvious, or should they have been rated compliant int he first place. Known non-compliance might be a better than weak compliance.

The basic question is what was Network Solution not doing to have malicious software installed on key servers? Was it a breach through a web application, was it through malicious email, a browser based attack, some insider who didn’t know enough about security and clicked on the wrong thing? What routine check found it and why wasn’t this check run on a more routine basis, such as weekly or even daily?

At the end of the day, security is a moving target. We can utilize encryption, vulnerability management, application security risk assessment, email filtering, backup and recovery, but all will be useless is we follow poor practices or do not have good procedures in place to take into account the human element. Most breaches are insider problems or mis-configurations or plain old stupidity.

Gary Bahadur
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