Okta Warns Customers of Credential Stuffing Attacks

In a recent advisory, Okta, a leading identity and access management services provider, sounded the alarm over a rise in credential stuffing attacks targeting online services. Let’s delve into the details of this warning and understand the implications.

Overview of the Threat

Okta reported a significant increase in the frequency and scale of credential stuffing attacks against online services in recent weeks. These attacks have been fuelled by the widespread availability of residential proxy services, lists of previously stolen credentials, and automation tools. The surge in attacks poses a severe threat to the security of user accounts and sensitive data.

Observations by Security Experts

Duo Security and Cisco Talos also observed large-scale brute-force attacks against various targets, including VPN services, web application authentication interfaces, and SSH services. The attacks, originating from TOR exit nodes and other anonymizing tunnels and proxies, targeted VPN appliances and routers from multiple vendors.

Modus Operandi of Credential Stuffing Attacks

Credential stuffing attacks involve the automated trial of username and password combinations obtained from previous data breaches or phishing campaigns. Threat actors exploit the reuse of login credentials across multiple accounts, attempting to gain unauthorised access to compromised accounts.

Recommendations for Organisations

  • Enable ThreatInsight in Log and Enforce Mode for proactive IP address blocking.
  • Deny access from anonymizing proxies to prevent attacks from dubious sources.
  • Switch to Okta Identity Engine for enhanced security features.
  • Utilize CAPTCHA challenges and passwordless authentication with Okta FastPass.
  • Implement Dynamic Zones to manage access based on geo-location and other criteria.
Okta's Warning on Credential Stuffing Attacks
Blocking anonymized requests from Admin Console > Settings > Features
Okta

Implementing these recommendations can fortify an organisation’s defence against credential stuffing attacks, ensuring a safer online environment for users and stakeholders.

Conclusion

Credential stuffing attacks pose a significant threat to the security of online services and user accounts. By heeding Okta’s warning and implementing robust security measures, Okta customers can better protect themselves against these malicious activities and safeguard their sensitive data.

Another approach to create a safer cyber world is to not use the typical password based authentication. By eliminating passwords, organizations can improve their defences, increase security and reduce the risk of future incidents. Typical cyber attacks such as Credential Stuffing are not applicable to Passwordless authentication, so the best way to move forward is to #gopasswordless

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Google 2FA Breach: Rethink Authentication Security

In today’s digital landscape, safeguarding our online presence is paramount. Two-factor authentication (2FA) has emerged as a crucial tool in this endeavour. Platforms like Google and Facebook offer 2FA to bolster account security. However, there have been multiple incidents revealing vulnerabilities in this system, prompting concerns among users.

The Case of the Bypassed 2FA

Recent reports unveiled breaches in Gmail and YouTube accounts despite 2FA activation. This revelation underscores a fundamental truth: security with passwords, along with 2FA or MFA is fallible. Hackers continuously adapt their tactics, exploiting weaknesses even in trusted systems like 2FA.

Credit : Forbes

Understanding the Bypass

While the exact method remains undisclosed, hackers may employ various strategies to circumvent 2FA. According to Forbes, It’s probable that these users fell prey to what’s known as a session cookie hijack attack. Typically initiated through a phishing email, hackers direct victims to a counterfeit login page. Upon entering their credentials, users are prompted to complete a simulated 2FA challenge, which they unwittingly comply with.

The Role of Vigilance

Despite these challenges, I would personally suggest moving away from systems that solely rely on 2FA for authentication. But in the extreme case where abandoning 2FA is not the solution, users must adopt additional measures to enhance their security posture.

Secure Alternative to 2FA/MFA

As we have seen numerous instance of 2FA & MFA getting by passed, enterprises need better methods to secure access to their resources. PureAUTH Secure IAM platform provides Zero Trust -Passwordless access and protects enterprises from following type of attacks

  1. Password Spraying & brute forcing attacks
  2. Credential Phishing, Push fatigue and Adversary in the middle attacks
  3. Public Key replacement attacks targeted at solutions using Public Key based authentication like FIDO keys
  4. Social Engineering attacks to reset user credentials and reset or disable MFA/2FA
  5. Abuse of shared credentials or leaked credentials and in general credential stuffing attacks

Elevating Security: Going Beyond 2FA

Security is an ongoing journey, requiring a multifaceted approach. While the challenges of bypassing 2FA are evident, there’s a growing trend towards passwordless authentication methods. Embracing secure identity and access management technologies, adopting a zero-trust architecture are some promising alternatives. By adapting these alternatives and staying vigilant, users can reinforce their online security against the ever-evolving tactics of cyber criminals.

PureID offers solutions that curate a robust defence against unauthorised access, heralding a more secure digital future for organizations. Embrace the resilience of passwordless authentication, reinforce your security posture with PureID, and navigate the cybersecurity landscape with renewed strength. The journey continues—Passwordless Authentication awaits.

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Passwords Leaked : Microsoft in Trouble

Introduction

Recent reports unveil a significant data breach at Microsoft, exposing employee passwords and confidential corporate data to the internet. This breach underscores the pressing need for robust cybersecurity protocols and heightened vigilance to safeguard sensitive information.

About the Breach

Security researchers from SOCRadar (Can Yoleri, Murat Özfidan and Egemen Koçhisarlı )discovered an open and public storage server on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. This server was housing internal data related to the Bing search engine. Left unprotected, it exposed code, scripts, and configuration files containing credentials used by Microsoft employees to access internal systems.

Data Exposure

The exposed data poses severe risks, potentially granting malicious actors access to other confidential files within Microsoft’s network. The lack of password protection on the server facilitated easy access to sensitive information, raising concerns about cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Response and Resolution

The researchers promptly notified Microsoft of the vulnerability in February, prompting the company to secure the exposed server by March. However, the duration of the data exposure and the extent of unauthorised access remain unclear.

In a statement shared after publication on 10th April, Microsoft’s Jeff Jones said: “Though the credentials should not have been exposed, they were temporary, accessible only from internal networks, and disabled after testing. We thank our partners for responsibly reporting this issue.” But Microsoft has yet to issue an official statement addressing the breach.

Breach History: The latest addition to a series of “Mishaps”


Microsoft has faced numerous security breaches, like the ‘Summer 2023 Exchange Intrusion,’ where hackers accessed mailboxes of 22 organizations and 500 individuals, including senior US government officials. The company’s lax corporate culture and failure to prioritise security investments were criticised by the US Cyber Safety Review Board. Recent oversights, like mislabelling CVEs in Patch Tuesday releases, exposed gaps in Microsoft’s security protocols. Last year, researchers found that Microsoft employees were exposing their own corporate network logins in code published to GitHub.

Conclusion

As Microsoft grapples with the aftermath of this data breach, it highlights the ongoing battle against evolving cybersecurity threats. Human error is inevitable, and we require systems that are error-proof to avoid such breaches occurring in the future. By embracing secure identity and access management technologies, such as passwordless authentication, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of security lapses and enhance overall cybersecurity posture.

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BoAt Lifestyle: Understanding the Data Breach

Introduction

A recent data breach has shaken boAt, a leading manufacturer of audio products and smartwatches. The personal data belonging to over 7.5 million customers of boAt is getting sold for 2 euro only. This breach highlights the critical need for robust security measures and the adoption of zero trust architecture to protect customer data effectively.

About the Breach

A hacker named “ShopifyGuy” claimed to have leaked personal data of over 7.5 million boAt customers on the dark web. The compromised information includes names, addresses, contact numbers, email IDs, and customer IDs, posing severe risks to customer privacy and security.

Data Loss

The leaked data, totaling approximately 2GB, exposes boAt customers to potential financial scams, identity theft, and phishing attacks. Threat actors could exploit this information to conduct fraudulent activities, posing significant threats to individuals’ financial and personal well-being.

Credit : TOI

Aftermath

The aftermath of the data breach includes a loss of customer confidence, legal consequences, and reputational harm for boAt. Prompt action is necessary to mitigate risks and restore trust among affected customers.

Strengthening Data Security: The Role of Zero Trust Architecture

In preventing data breaches like the one experienced by boAt, adopting a zero-trust architecture proves crucial. By implementing strict access controls, continuous monitoring, and privilege access policies, organizations can reduce the chances of unauthorised access and mitigate the risks associated with potential breaches.

With these proactive measures, boAt and other organizations can better safeguard customer data and maintain trust in an increasingly digital world.

American Express Warns Customers of Third-Party Data Breach

Introduction

American Express (Amex) has disclosed a potential data breach, affecting some of its credit card holders. The breach, originating from a third-party service provider, has raised concerns about the security of cardholder information.

Timeline

  • March 4, 2024: Breach Notification:
    • American Express files a breach notification letter with the Massachusetts State Attorney General’s Office as a precautionary measure.
    • The breach is attributed to a point-of-sale attack at a merchant processor, not directly involving American Express or its service providers.
  • March 5, 2024: Public Disclosure:
    • Details of the breach are publicly disclosed by American Express, acknowledging the potential compromise of cardholder names, account numbers, and expiration dates.
    • American Express reassures card members and emphasises its robust monitoring systems.
Screenshot of American Express Breach Notice

Details of the Breach

Incident Overview:

  • The breach occurred due to a point-of-sale attack at a merchant processor, not directly involving American Express or its service providers.

Affected Information:

  • Account information potentially compromised includes cardholder names, American Express card account numbers, and expiration dates.
  • Both active and previously issued credit card account numbers may have been impacted.

Customer Perspective

Customer Liability:

  • American Express assures its card members that they won’t be liable for fraudulent charges on their accounts.
  • The company emphasises its sophisticated monitoring systems to detect and address any suspicious activity promptly.

Recommendations for Customers:

  • Customers should regularly review and monitor their account activity.
  • American Express recommends Free fraud and account activity alerts via email, SMS text messaging, and app notifications for added protection.

Industry Perspective

Accountability of Third-Party Service Providers:

  • Cyber security experts such as Liat Hayun, CEO and co-founder of Eureka Security, stress the importance of holding third-party service providers accountable for data security.
  • Recent incidents, like the Bank of America breach with Infosys McCamish Systems, highlight the persistent challenge of third-party vulnerabilities.
  • With breaches attributed to groups like LockBit ransomware, there’s a pressing need to fortify security measures.
  • Previous breaches, such as Bank of America’s exposure via Ernst & Young, emphasise the necessity of securing access points to sensitive data.

Conclusion

The American Express data breach serves as a reminder of the ongoing cybersecurity challenges faced by financial institutions and the imperative need for proactive security measures. Using and Managing passwords also costs a lot. The easiest solution of this unavoidable situation is adopting passwordless solutions for Identity and Access Management (IAM). Password-based authentication methods are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats.  Embracing advanced authentication mechanisms can mitigate unauthorised access risks and safeguard sensitive information.

Securing Cloud Environments: Lessons from the Microsoft Azure Breach

Introduction

In the wake of the recent Microsoft Azure breach, it has become increasingly evident that organizations must prioritise enhancing their security posture to mitigate the risk of similar incidents in the future. This breach, attributed to compromised passwords & MFA manipulation, underscores the critical importance of implementing passwordless authentication solutions to strengthen overall security.

The Breach

The breach unfolded through a series of sophisticated maneuvers executed by cyber criminals to exploit weaknesses in Azure’s security framework. Initially, phishing emails targeted mid and senior-level executives, enticing them into disclosing their login credentials unwittingly. 

Armed with these credentials, attackers gained unauthorised access to Azure accounts, despite the presence of multi-factor authentication (MFA). By circumventing MFA and substituting victims’ MFA settings with their own, attackers maintained undetected access to Azure resources. 

They further obscured their identities using proxies, evading detection while seizing control of sensitive data and cloud resources.

This helps attackers bypass any poorly designed adaptive authentication solution relying on IP based access restriction or re-authentication.

How Microsoft Azure was Breached

The Lessons

  1. Phishing: Implement Phishing-Resistant Authentication Methods
    • Organisations must adopt phishing-resistant authentication methods to combat prevalent phishing attacks. Staff training alone may not suffice, necessitating solutions that minimise the risk of credential theft.
  2. Credential Theft: Go Passwordless
    • Enhanced credential security with multi-factor authentication is insufficient. Robust password management practices and adaptive MFA solutions have been and will continue to be breached unless you eliminate credentials altogether. Passwordless solutions are the optimal choice for enterprises, as they have been for quiet some time now. Both enterprises and individuals must recognise and adopt it as a standard practice.
  3. MFA Replacement: Implement Continuous Monitoring and Anomaly Detection
    • When you’re using credentials, it’s crucial to keep an eye on them. Continuous monitoring and anomaly detection play a vital role here. They help spot any unauthorised changes in MFA settings promptly, preventing any further access.
  4. Masking Location Using Proxies: Strengthen Adaptive Authentication Checks
    • Strengthening adaptive authentication checks is vital to detect suspicious activities like masked locations. Geo-location based authentication or behavioural biometrics can enhance authentication accuracy.
  5. Cloud Account Takeover: Implement Zero Trust Security Architecture
    • Implementing a Zero-trust security model is crucial to verify every access request, regardless of source or location. Granular access controls and continuous monitoring can mitigate the impact of cloud account takeovers.

Moving Forward

In the aftermath of this breach, organizations must prioritise fortifying their security posture to prevent similar incidents. While passwordless authentication solutions offer promising alternatives, organizations should also concentrate on strengthening existing security protocols, conducting regular security audits, and enhancing employee awareness to mitigate future threats effectively.

Conclusion

The breach of Microsoft Azure serves as a stark reminder of the imperative for proactive cybersecurity measures in safeguarding sensitive data and mitigating the risk of unauthorised access. 

By embracing passwordless authentication solutions and implementing a holistic security strategy, organizations can enhance their resilience against evolving cyber threats and safeguard their invaluable assets effectively.

Okta Breach Part 2: Unveiling the Full Scope and Impact

Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.”

Mitigation:- 

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.