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Brazen Hack Secures SecurID Information From RSA

Just what happened with the recent electronic break in at RSA? From the details that have been publicly released to this point, some inside information about the company's popular two-factor authorisation device, SecurID, was stolen. Even without detailing what took place, the reaction by the company, including notifying stock markets of the break-in, suggests that the incident is quite serious.

Taking the absolute worst-case approach, it might be possible for an attacker with complete knowledge of the handheld device's internal software to spoof it and access systems as authenticated users. Unless there was some glaring flaw in the device's software, it would still require a level of interaction with the selected victim in order to work out exactly what state their device was in to successfully imitate it.

Using a defence in depth approach, loss of SecurID capability should not mean that system access is completely compromised, but it will greatly weaken what security remains on those systems.

In a mild case of irony, the successful attack against RSA came via an Advanced Persistent Threat, something that they are selling services to help other companies identify and defend against. Based on the statement from RSA's Executive Chairman, it can be expected that more information will be released about the attack in due course, just not right now.

24 March 2011

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