Kaspersky breach exposes sensitive database, says hacker

SQL injection said to strike deep


A security lapse at Kaspersky has exposed a wealth of proprietary information about the anti-virus provider's products and customers, according to a blogger, who posted screen shots and other details that appeared to substantiate the claims.

In a posting made Saturday, the hacker claimed a simple SQL injection gave access to a database containing "users, activation codes, lists of bugs, admins, shop, etc." Kaspersky has declined to comment, but two security experts who reviewed the evidence said the claims appeared convincing.

"This looks very real to me," Thomas Ptacek, a researcher at security provider Matasano said via instant message a few hours after the post went live. He pointed to the address bar of one screenshot that showed usa.kaspersky.com along with the text "concat_ws(0x3a,ver" to the right of that. "It's a URL that is being used to alter the database request that's used to generate the page," he added. "One of them can be tricked into pulling arbitrary data from the database. Game over."

Roger Thompson, chief research officer at competing anti-virus provider AVG concurred. "/me feels sorry for Kaspersky," he wrote to El Reg. "Can't tell for certain, but it looks legit."

Screenshot of page showing hacked Kaspersky page

Representatives from Kaspersky declined to immediately comment.

"Given the hour, we are not able available to talk now, but I will work on answers for you to have early tomorrow," a spokeswoman wrote in an email sent Saturday evening California time, several hours after the post was made.

It claimed that a simple modification of a URL exposed the site's entire database. "Alter one of the parameters and you have access to EVERYTHING: users, activation codes, lists of bugs, admins, shot, etc." The screenshots showed the attack was focused on Kaspersky's technical support and knowledge base for the Americas. It included the names of more than 150 tables.

The URLs were edited to redact the page's vulnerable handler, but tools that are easy to come by could help anyone who knows how to use them to identify where the SQL injection weakness is located, Ptecek said.

Assuming the hack is for real, it wouldn't be the first time a Kaspersky site has been hit by a SQL injection attack. In July, Kaspersky's Malaysian site and several subdomains were defaced by hacker who left pro-Turkish slogans. According to ZDNet's Zero Day blog here, Zone-h archives show 36 website defacements of international Kaspersky sites since 2000.

This breach appears to be more serious because it potentially exposes customer information and could also open Kaspersky's site to other types of abuse, security experts said.

"I hope that Kaspersky administrators fix this vulnerability rather quickly as they no doubt have a large customer base, and it would appear that all those customers are now exposed," Gunter Ollmann, the chief security strategist at IBM's Internet Security Systems blogs here.

"On top of that, this type of critical flaw can probably be used to usurp legitimate purchases and renewals of their products - which could include the linking to malicious and backdoored versions of their software - thereby infecting those very same customers that were seeking protection from malware in the first place."

Stay tuned. The Register will be updating this story as warranted. Please contact us here if you have intelligence or insight into this story. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Red Hat Kubernetes security report finds people are the problem
    Puny human brains baffled by K8s complexity, leading to blunder fears

    Kubernetes, despite being widely regarded as an important technology by IT leaders, continues to pose problems for those deploying it. And the problem, apparently, is us.

    The open source container orchestration software, being used or evaluated by 96 per cent of organizations surveyed [PDF] last year by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, has a reputation for complexity.

    Witness the sarcasm: "Kubernetes is so easy to use that a company devoted solely to troubleshooting issues with it has raised $67 million," quipped Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at IT consultancy The Duckbill Group, in a Twitter post on Monday referencing investment in a startup called Komodor. And the consequences of the software's complication can be seen in the difficulties reported by those using it.

    Continue reading
  • Infosys skips government meeting – and collecting government taxes
    Tax portal wobbles, again

    Services giant Infosys has had a difficult week, with one of its flagship projects wobbling and India's government continuing to pressure it over labor practices.

    The wobbly projext is India's portal for filing Goods and Services Tax returns. According to India's Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the IT services giant reported a "technical glitch" that meant auto-populated forms weren't ready for taxpayers. The company was directed to fix it and CBIC was faced with extending due dates for tax payments.

    Continue reading
  • Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use
    Phew!

    Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools.

    This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

    The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022