Okta Breach Part 2: Unveiling the Full Scope and Impact


In late October, Okta, reported a cybersecurity breach that initially appeared to affect less than 1% of its customers. However, recent revelations indicate a far-reaching impact, affecting 99.6% of users in the customer support system. This blog post delves into the broader implications of this

The True Scope Revealed

Contrary to initial estimates downplaying, it has now been disclosed that hackers successfully ran a report on September 28, 2023. It contained sensitive information about all Okta customer support system users. The compromised data had names, email addresses, company names, contact phone numbers, and other details, Impacting 100% of Okta Workforce Identity Cloud (WIC) and Customer Identity Solution (CIS) customers. The only exception being those in highly sensitive environments such as the government.

Financial Impact on Okta

Despite the significant dip in Okta’s stock prices when the breach was first reported in October, resulting in a temporary loss of approximately $2 billion in market capitalisation, the financial fallout seems to be hovering in the single digits. Okta’s latest quarterly financial report indicates a more than 20% increase in revenues for the quarter ending October 31, demonstrating a robust financial performance despite the security incident.

Customer Trust at Stake

The discrepancy between the initially reported 1% impact and the actual 99.6% of affected users reveals a concerning lapse in transparency. Okta customers are now grappling with the realization that threat actors may have access to their names and email addresses, exposing them to the risk of phishing and social engineering attacks. While Okta assures that there is no direct evidence of exploitation, they urge customers to remain vigilant. This stolen information could be weaponized for targeted cyber scams.

Phishing and Social Engineering Threat

With 99.6% of users having their names and email addresses exposed. These stolen data poses a heightened risk of phishing and social engineering attacks.

Okta Phishing

Cyber security experts emphasise the need for Okta customers, especially administrators, to enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) and consider the use of phishing-resistant authentication. The potential for threat actors to exploit this information for targeted attacks underscores the importance of proactive security measures on the customer’s end.


In the aftermath of the Okta breach, customer trust in identity management systems faces a critical test. As emphasised by the mantra “The ‘S’ in IAM stands for Security”, the true scale of the incident challenges the reliance on auto-saved passwords, demonstrating the vulnerability of conventional systems. We urgently advocate for the adoption of passwordless authentication. For those catching up, our previous post details the Okta breach, highlighting the imperative to #gopasswordless . This approach not only addresses current vulnerabilities but also aligns with the evolving demands of a secure digital landscape.

Unpacking Okta’s Recent Security Breach


In today’s interconnected world, data breaches have become unfortunately common. One recent incident that has drawn the cybersecurity community’s attention involves Okta, a prominent identity and access management (IAM) provider. This blog post delves into the specifics of the Okta breach, its impact, and the lessons we can learn.

The Initial Okta Breach

The story starts with a breach of Okta’s case management system, reported in late October. Threat actors gained unauthorised access to sensitive files of 134 Okta customers, less than 1% of the customer base. Some stolen files were HTTP Archive (HAR) files with session tokens, usable in session hijacking attacks.

Targets: BeyondTrust, Cloudflare, and 1Password

BeyondTrust, Cloudflare, and 1Password confirmed their systems were targeted due to this breach. They emphasised no loss of customer data during these incidents, highlighting their robust security measures.

Okta’s Response and Investigation

David Bradbury, Okta’s Chief Security Officer, revealed the breach’s origin. An employee logged into their personal Google account on an Okta-managed laptop, inadvertently saving service account credentials. The hackers exploited this service account, gaining permissions to view and update support cases. The breach occurred from September 28 to October 17, 2023.

Investigation Challenges

Okta’s security team initially focused on unauthorized access to support cases. Identifying suspicious downloads took 14 days. Unique log event types and IDs complicated the detection process.

On October 13, BeyondTrust provided a suspicious IP address, leading to the identification of the compromised account’s activities.

Implications and Ongoing Concerns

The breach raises numerous cybersecurity concerns. Callie Guenther, Senior Manager of Cyber Threat Research at Critical Start, highlighted the potential for secondary attacks arising from exposed data. Such incidents erode trust in service providers, especially for security-focused companies like Okta.

John Bambenek, Principal Threat Hunter at Netenrich, pointed out that recurring security events raise questions about Okta’s reliability in sensitive roles like identity and authentication.

Conclusion: The Vital Role of Passwordless Authentication

The Okta breach underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity practices. Organisations must remain vigilant, conducting continuous security assessments and proactively implementing measures against evolving threats.

A single compromised password can jeopardize an entire institution. Therefore, we strongly advocate for passwordless authentication. By eliminating passwords, organizations can fortify their defenses, enhancing security and reducing the risk of future incidents. Passwordless authentication is a safer and more effective approach to protecting digital identities in today’s evolving landscape. #gopasswordless

Slack’s GitHub Exposed – Another MFA Failure

Slack reported suspicious activity on January 9th, 2023 regarding a breach in it’s remotely stored GitHub account. Upon investigation, it was found that tokens of a few Slack employees were stolen, and used to gain access to remote git repositories. The threat actors also downloaded code from private repository. Slack also stated that the threat resulted from a third party vendor, and also assured its users that no customer data is at risk.

Previous Incidents

In March 2015, Slack shared that it had been hacked for over four days in Feb 2015. Additionally, In January 2021, it had a outage for several hours. In a previous blog , we have discussed a past security bug on Slack at December 2022 where passwords were stored in their Android apps in plain text.

Reason and Impact

The attackers were able to gain access due to a security flaw in Slack’s authentication system using Brute Force. Once they had access, they were able to steal the secret seeds (used to generate pseudo random tokens) associated with that organisation’s account and gain access to the private code repositories stored on GitHub. The fact that a brute force attack was successful indicates a security lapse from Slack.

The company claims that the threat actors did not get access to production environment, customer data or Slack resources. Additionally, Slack rotated the concerning tokens with the third vendors, and deployed additional security on their externally hosted GitHub.

About MFA Tokens

In their update what Slack is mentioning as token are MFA seeds or secret keys. These seeds or keys are shared secret between the (Slack’s) server and user’s MFA application. These seeds are used in generation of tokens which are then used to authenticate user in conjunction with passwords.

image credit – Twilio

Twilio has provided here a detailed explanation on how the MFA works with secret keys. Unfortunately Twilio’s Authy was breached and customer’s TOTP secret keys were leaked in the recent past.


Authentication system depending on abusable data like Passwords, Biometrics, or TOTP/HOTP Tokens, of public-keys are insecure by design. Adopting authentication solution which makes use of zero-knowledge factors are resilient to data leakage in case of breach.

PureID‘s Passwordless Authentication platform – PureAUTH eliminates the risk in case of total breach of the authentication parameters it uses to verify users.

Check out, how PureAUTH makes Slack Passwordless and secure from credential based attacks.

Connect with us to know how PureAUTH platform can help your enterprise be more secure and resilient.

Atlassian Pawned by hacker group : Blame Game is on

SiegedSec, the same hacking group that made headlines last year after leaking eight gigabytes of data from the state governments of Kentucky and Arkansas, has hacked the software company Atlassian. The group has shared two floor maps for the Sydney and San Francisco offices and a JSON file containing information about approximately 13,200 Atlassian employees, including their names, email addresses, work departments and phone numbers.

Atlassian Pawned by hacker group Siegedsec. The post by Siegedsec.

SiegedSec post

“THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS, SiegedSec is here to announce we have hacked the software company Atlassian,” the hacking group said in a message that was posted along with the data. “This company worth $44 billion has been pwned by the furry hackers uwu.”

Reason and responsibility:- 

“On February 15, 2023, we became aware that an unauthorised party had compromised and published data from Envoy, a third-party app that Atlassian uses to coordinate in-office resources,” said Atlassian spokesperson Megan Sutton.

Atlassian Pawned by SiegedSec

Envoy, however, was just as quick to rebuff Atlassian’s claims. Envoy spokesperson April Marks said that the startup is “not aware of any compromise to our systems,” adding that initial research had shown that “A hacker gained access to an Atlassian employee’s valid credentials to manipulate and access the Atlassian employee directory and office floor plans held within Envoy’s app.”

Soon after the startup’s denial, Atlassian changed its stance to align more closely with Envoy. They later said an employee posted their credentials on a public repository by mistake.

Damage Control:- 

Atlassian said they disabled the account of the said employee so there is no more threat to Atlassian’s Envoy data. Therefore Atlassian product and customer data is not accessible via the Envoy app and therefore not at risk.”

“The safety of Atlassians is our priority, and we worked quickly to enhance physical security across our offices globally. We are actively investigating this incident and will continue to provide updates to employees as we learn more.”


It has become increasingly common for hacker groups to target individual employees or devices to gain access to enterprise systems. If an attacker is able to obtain an employee’s credentials, they can use that information to infiltrate the organization. To mitigate this risk, some experts recommend using a passwordless solution like PureAUTH. By eliminating passwords, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood of future breaches and minimize their exposure to unforeseen vulnerabilities.

Password Managers are the Hot Targets 

Lastpass reported a security breach a month ago, which is the 8th security incident in the last 11 years. This incident was followed by a recent disclosure by a Google researcher. Many popular password managers like Dashlane, Bitwarden, and Safari can be phished.

There are many lessons that we all need to learn from these recurring incidents. This post is to uncover few points that we have seen have not been discussed by the info-sec community and the industry.

The Catch-22 – Phish or no Phish?

LastPass warned its users of an increased likelihood of Phishing attacks, Credential Stuffing, or other brute force attacks against online accounts associated with their LastPass vault.

Password Managers getting phished is an alarming situation

This statement goes against what all the password managers like LastPass claims – “use of password manager protects users from phishing attacks“.

In recent times there have been more incidents where password managers have been proved vulnerable to phishing attacks. You can find more details in this article Popular password managers auto-filled credentials on untrusted websites 

The Impact

In their blog post, Lastpass reported that customer’s personal information like email, phone number, billing address, IP address have been compromised. That is not all, what LastPass has not talked about is the additional information they collect from their users using their mobile app. 

The screenshots below show the permissions that Lastpass app takes on a user’s phone.

Permission take by LastPass app on an Android device

These permissions enable the application provider like LastPass (other password managers take similar types of permission on user’s device) to collect more information about the user than probably needed. 

User Information collected by LastPass app

In case of a breach, like what happened with LastPass, the severity of the incident and privacy impatc will be more if any additional information collected from the user’s phone is also leaked.

The Passwords

Furthermore, LastPass has reported that customer’s vault containing clear text data, such as website url, and encrypted data of username and password were also obtained by the threat actors. 

Lastpass emphasised on the use of master key, and how a threat actor can not decrypt the password vault even if they have the encrypted data, as the master key, which is a master password set by the user and is not stored on lastpass network. 

While 1Password, a rival firm of Lastpass, claims through their blog that passwords of LastPass can be cracked in $100. They also talk about their superior method of  using secret key and Password Authenticated Key Agreement systems, which makes 1Password’s systems next to impossible to crack. 

With the device specific keys mentioned by 1Password, we feel syncing of the passwords across multiple devices becomes a risky affair. Since passwords need to be decrypted on another device and it needs the user chosen master password as well as the secret key from the earlier device. This problem cannot be solved without exposing the secret key or the user’s passwords (encrypted just with the user chosen master password), in transit. 


After a series of events involving Password Management products, enterprise must seriously think about how safe their user’s data and passwords really are. 

Not to forget, server doesn’t care if the password is coming from a password vault or from an adversary, the server will authenticate as long as it can match the string. So no matter, how and where you store passwords, as long as there as passwords, Enterprises are always at risk.

For a better security, Enterprise must plan to remove passwords from their applications, servers and #GoPasswordless

Another Password Manager Breached – Norton

In January, 2023 Gen Digital, a firm previously popular as Symantec and NortonLifeLock , found itself targeted by a significant Credential Stuffing attack. The attack resulted in the compromise of thousands of user accounts.

Just weeks prior to this incident, LastPass, a prominent competitor of Gen Digital in the password manager market, fell victim to a breach. This breach followed a prior cyberattack against LastPass in August. According to LastPass, the hackers leveraged technical data pilfered during the August cyberattack to gain unauthorized access to its cloud storage system.

It’s worth noting the irony here – the very software designed to fortify defences against cyber attacks found itself in the crosshairs of one. To draw a parallel, it’s akin to a scenario where the police station itself becomes the target of a burglary.

Credential Stuffing

Credential stuffing refers to the use of credentials such as username, email id and personal information from previous security breaches. These credentials are fed to other login systems to gain access to other websites. Unlike other cyber attacks, Credential Stuffing does not require brute force. Instead it uses a simple web solution to stuff thousands of stolen credentials into login systems. Credential stuffing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s very easy to fall victim if one uses the same or similar credentials on multiple sites.

Lost one password? Alas you lost them all - Norton Credential stuffing attack.

I recently explored the website “Have I been pwned” and was shocked to see one of my personal email ids compromised in a previous attack. Going through their listing on breached websites made me realise how unsafe our credentials and information are, and how easily one can gain access to it.

Impact of the Incident

In an internal investigation in December 2022, NortanLifeLock detected “unusually large volume” of login attempts. They found that a malicious actor was using a list of credentials obtained from illegal marketplaces on “dark web”.

Nortan commented that 925,000 people were targeted in a credential-stuffing attack. It is probable that the data does contain names, phone numbers and addresses of users. The attackers might also have access to Norton Password Manager users’ private vault data. This vault contains stored passwords for other online accounts. The firm is not commenting on how much customer data actually got a negative impact because of the attack.

Nortan relaeased a warning to it’s users after failing to reject the mass login attempt. They indicated that they “strongly believe that an unauthorised third party knows and has utilised your username and password for your account.” They also suggested the users to use 2 step authentication systems and provided free credit monitoring services to affected users.

Amplification Effect

The Password managers are a hot target because they provide adversaries with an amplified power to gain access to multiple accounts by compromising one password manager account.

As they say putting all the eggs in one basket is a bad strategy. Keeping all passwords in one manager will have a huge impact if compromised.

Passwords are not assets; they represent security vulnerabilities. Rather than locking them away in a vault, consider going passwordless. #GoPasswordless

Fortinet leaked credentials to fuel more Breaches


In our previous research blog Passwords & MFA Melting VPNS we had explained how vulnerabilities in Fortinet VPN are being exploited to harvest user credentials and bypass MFA implementations. 

The latest update from The Hacker News – 500K FortiGate VPN user credentials are available for free. Many instances of Fortinet VPN whose credentials are out there are not secure even if they have implemented MFA but not patched for CVE-2020-12812.

Self-Propelling Cycle of leaked passwords & breaches

Self-Propelling cycle between leaked passwords & breaches

Old unpatched vulnerabilities of FortiGate SSL-VPN CVE-2018-13379 & CVE-2019-5591 are widely exploited to gain VPN credentials. These stolen Passwords are then shared on the dark web to fuel new breaches. This puts Fortinet in a self-propelling cycle of Passwords leaks & Breaches. 

The Incident

Fortinet through its PSIRT Blog has reported – Malicious Actor Discloses FortiGate SSL-VPN Credentials. Cybercriminals group “Orange” publicly leaked around 500K usernames and passwords of the Fortinet’s FortiGate SSL-VPN users from as many as 74 different countries. 

Worldwide estimated number of affected FortiGate VPNS is approximately 87,000 out of which India has the largest share of leaked credentials (11%) followed by Taiwan (8.45%), Italy (7.96) and then France (6.15%). 

Source : The Hacker News

What Enterprises can do?

Passwords are at the root of this unfortunate cycle. As long as enterprise applications & systems are using passwords to authenticate the enterprises will continue to be stuck in this cycle. 

The best solution is to #GoPasswordless with PureAUTH, which provides you with the most resilient yet convenient way to authenticate to FortiGate & other modern VPN’s and keep your enterprise unaffected even in the face of the worst possible credential breach.

Kaseya Supply Chain Attack & Passwords

The world was recovering from the jolt of Solarwinds, and we have this… face off with another supply chain attack shaking the world. This time it is Kaseya.

About Kaseya

Kaseya provides unified IT management softwares used by IT teams and Managed service providers (MSPs). VSA is their popular remote monitoring and endpoint management product which sits deep inside clients’ networks and has access + high privileges to almost all of enterprise assets.

What happened at Kaseya?

On 2 July 2021, Kaseya published a notification advising its customers and MSPs  to disable their on-premise Kaseya VSA servers immediately.

Also they announced that Kaseya had become the victim of a cyberattack & many of its customers & MSPs were affected by ransomware attack which exploited a 0 day vulnerability in VSA software.

Incident details

Very limited information of the attack & the 0-day vulnerability is out at this point in time, but many security companies studying the matter closely mentioned with high confidence that the attack was triggered via an authentication bypass vulnerability in the Kaseya VSA web interface.

This is corroborated by the CVE-2021-30116 disclosed by Kasea. The CVE is about credentials leak and business logic flaw for which the resolution was in progress, hence the details were withheld.

In its limited disclosure blog post Kaseya team published the following 7 sets of CVE.

  • CVE-2021-30116 – A credentials leak and business logic flaw, resolution in progress.
  • CVE-2021-30117 – An SQL injection vulnerability, resolved in May 8th patch.
  • CVE-2021-30118 – A Remote Code Execution vulnerability, resolved in April 10th patch. (v9.5.6)
  • CVE-2021-30119 – A Cross Site Scripting vulnerability, resolution in progress.
  • CVE-2021-30120 – 2FA bypass, resolution in progress.
  • CVE-2021-30121 – A Local File Inclusion vulnerability, resolved in May 8th patch.
  • CVE-2021-30201 – A XML External Entity vulnerability, resolved in May 8th patch.

Notable points

Out of the above listed 7 CVE’s  the 2 CVE-2021-30116 & CVE-2021-30120 are noteworthy, since they directly relate to authentication and bypassing the access controls.

We have seen such incidents with various VPN servers in the past, where attackers used vulnerabilities like CVE-2021-30116 to leak the system credentials. Leaked credentials were then stuffed to VPNs to gain unauthorized access.

The resistance posed by 2FA/MFA vanishes if you have vulnerabilities like CVE-2021-30120.
PureID has been consistently advising about the risk of having credentials on the server and its leakage due to various flaws or operational gaps. There has been drastic increase in 2FA/MFA bypassing attacks, which puts enterprises at grave a risk, as mentioned in Auth0 report


Just like previous high profile attacks like Solarwinds & Colonial Pipeline, we have another incident which involves Passwords & we have clearly seen that 2FA/MFA can be bypassed. 

No doubt we will continue to see more such attacks as long as business applications continue to use risky passwords and bypassable 2FA/MFAs.

Going passwordless can drastically reduce enterprise attack surface and makes systems more resilient.

Android FluBot Malware – spreading rapidly across Europe, might target the US!

FluBot is a banking malware that is specifically attacking Android phones and stealing bank details and passwords from your device. Like Covid-19, this malware has spread across a wide range of English speaking countries rapidly causing some irreparable damage. 

FluBot uses “smishing” – phishing using SMS and text messages. These attacks have seen a huge rise in the recent past. 

The Impact of the Attack 

Originated in Spain, then spread to Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and UK,  the malware is believed to have made over 7,000 victims in the UK alone, where the campaign operators were using more than 700 unique domains for the distribution of FluBot. 

Proofpoint says that U.S. users have already started receiving German and English-language phishing SMS messages, suggesting that the threat actor is getting ready to expand to this country. The pattern is similar to how the attacks started in the UK, where users first received German messages and then English ones.

Infection Stages


Here, an SMS with a malicious link is sent to the user disguising as famous delivery service organisations such as DHL & FedEx, on an hourly basis.

The malware requires user interaction to get access to the Android device. 

Reference:  https://tinyurl.com/2vctczzy

On clicking the link you’re redirected to a fake website, where you have to download an APK. 

Permission Acquisition

During the installation of this fake app, a misleading prompt appears asking for full access to SMS and networking, address book including device management.

The Attack

The malware after acquiring complete permissions carries out the malicious activity which includes and is not limited to

  1. Reading and forwarding sensitive SMS/OTPs
  2. Screen overlays on net banking apps to capture the passwords entered by the user
  3. Intercepting incoming messages and notifications, 
  4. Opening webpages.
  5. Disabling Google Play Protect. 
  6. It also can uninstall other applications. 
  7. It will also access contact details and send out additional text messages, spreading the spyware further.
Reference: https://tinyurl.com/2vctczzy

Protection & Precaution 

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warns users about this malware and its methodology, where you are obligated to download a tracking app because of a missed package.  It recommends Android users to practice following precautions 

  1. Do not click on links in unsolicited messages.
  2. Do not download APK from any website, other than Google Play Store.
  3. Do not give unnecessary permissions while installing an APK downloaded from a reliable source.
  4. Scan your Android device frequently with a legitimate anti-malware application.
  5. Never store passwords or banking information locally on your Android device.
  6. If you have used a phone for internet banking, double-check your account with the bank and report any fraudulent activity immediately.

As long as systems are using passwords, adversaries will find various ways and tools to steal them. We highly recommend that enterprises adopt passwordless authentication for critical services.





Credential stuffing Attacks on VPN: Serious Risk for Enterprise

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) systems are widely used by enterprises to provide secure remote access to their employees. VPN allows for easy access to the infrastructure, but it also opens up the corporate network to the internet.

All VPNs use password-based authentication which is susceptible to various types of attacks. Many enterprises use 2FA to mitigate such risks. However, attackers can steal the keys and even 2FA may not be enough. Once the attackers are on the network, they have unrestricted liberty of action or decision: MITM attacks, Credential stuffing, and other attacks become viable.

In recent times of the pandemic, where work-from-home is the new normal, VPN hacks have become a headache for many companies’ security teams with severe consequences if they are successful.

Virtual private networks, No Longer Private

The point of a Virtual Private Network is to enjoy the encryption and security of local networks while not being at a remote location, through an encrypted tunnel, keeping intruders out. The point of VPNs becomes moot if the people you want to hide your data & resources from can actually access them by being in the tunnel with you.

Close to a thousand VPN servers were compromised and the credentials of users and admin accounts stolen by attackers. This allows anyone to login into these networks until these credentials are revoked.

While all the limelight is being captured by ransomware attacks these days, VPN hacks have been hitting headlines for a decade now. Data was stolen from Lockheed Martin in 2011, after the attackers gained network access through their VPN, using leaked SecureID tokens from RSA is one of many stories, we haven’t learned much from.

Another bone-chilling story; The attack on Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region was carried out by getting on the VPN network electrical infrastructure by using stolen credentials. This left half of the region without electricity for several hours.

Affected EntityRoot CauseImpact
Avast AntivirusStolen credentialsAdversaries modified the CCleaner distributed by Avast .
Lockheed MartinCVE-2011-0609Critical data related to the defence contracts leaked.
Pulse SecureCVE-2019-115101000 enterprises are at risk of ransomware attacks.
Ukraine Power gridMalwarePower grid taken offline leading to no electricity for thousands.
List of the most serious VPN attacks due to stolen credentials

Secure Authentication for VPNs

Learning from the above incidents; stolen credentials are a serious risk even for VPN and 2FA is not helping. Its also evident, in case a CVE is out there for your VPN, you should not avoid the patch but you can avoid passwords with much more ease and convenience. Going passwordless is a very effective way to provide secure & resilient authentication to VPNs.

Check out how Ajit accesses our Palo Alto GlobalProtect without passwords.

Our PureAUTH passwordless authentication platform integrates with all leading VPN solutions including Pulse Secure, Fortinet & Cisco AnyConnect. To know more you can get in touch with our team.