RSA servers hacked, SecurID data taken

In an open letter to customers, RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello says hackers penetrated RSA servers and stole information related to the company's SecurID two-factor authentication products.

Coviello's statement is as follows:

Like any large company, EMC experiences and successfully repels multiple cyber attacks on its IT infrastructure every day. Recently, our security systems identified an extremely sophisticated cyber attack in progress being mounted against RSA. We took a variety of aggressive measures against the threat to protect our business and our customers, including further hardening of our IT infrastructure. We also immediately began an extensive investigation of the attack and are working closely with the appropriate authorities.

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.

We have no evidence that customer security related to other RSA products has been similarly impacted. We are also confident that no other EMC products were impacted by this attack. It is important to note that we do not believe that either customer or employee personally identifiable information was compromised as a result of this incident.

Our first priority is to ensure the security of our customers and their trust. We are committed to applying all necessary resources to give our SecurID customers the tools, processes and support they require to strengthen the security of their IT systems in the face of this incident. Our full support will include a range of RSA and EMC internal resources as well as close engagement with our partner ecosystems and our customers' relevant partners.

We regret any inconvenience or concern that this attack on RSA may cause for customers, and we strongly urge you to follow the steps we've outlined in our SecurCare Online Note. APT threats are becoming a significant challenge for all large corporations, and it's a topic I have discussed publicly many times. As appropriate, we will share our experiences from these attacks with our customers, partners and the rest of the security vendor ecosystem and work in concert with these organizations to develop means to better protect all of us from these growing and ever more sophisticated forms of cyber security threat.

Sincerely,

Art Coviello

Executive Chairman, RSA

RSA did offer a number of actions for customers to take in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company suggested customers:

* Increase their focus on security for social media applications and the use of those applications and websites by anyone with access to their critical networks.

* Enforce strong password and pin policies. We recommend customers follow the rule of least privilege when assigning roles and responsibilities to security administrators.

* Re-educate employees on the importance of avoiding suspicious emails, and remind them not to provide user names or other credentials to anyone without verifying that person's identity and authority. Employees should not comply with email or phone-based requests for credentials and should report any such attempts.

* Pay special attention to security around their active directories, making full use of their SIEM products and also implementing two-factor authentication to control access to active directories.

* Watch closely for changes in user privilege levels and access rights using security monitoring technologies such as SIEM, and consider adding more levels of manual approval for those changes.

* Harden, closely monitor, and limit remote and physical access to infrastructure that is hosting critical security software.

* Examine their help desk practices for information leakage that could help an attacker perform a social engineering attack.

* Update their security products and the operating systems hosting them with the latest patches.

CSO correspondent Robert Lemos is working on a follow-up report that will appear tomorrow.

--Bill Brenner

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