Customer FAQGlad to see they didn't use the words "Advanced Persistent Threat" there.
1. What happened?
Recently, our security systems identified an extremely sophisticated cyber attack in progress, targeting our RSA business unit. We took a variety of aggressive measures against the threat to protect our customers and our business including further hardening our IT infrastructure and working closely with appropriate authorities.
2. What information was lost?Hmmm. Seed Records possibly?
Our investigation to date has revealed that the attack resulted in certain information being extracted from RSA’s systems. Some of that information is related to RSA SecurID authentication products.
3. Why can’t you provide more details about the information that was extracted related to RSA SecurID technology?Whoa! Pause right there. Obviously they have allowed somebody from a Public/Customer Relations background to write this. This is not coming from anybody who *knows security*.
Our customers’ security is our number one priority. We continue to provide our customers with all the information they need to assess their risk and ensure they are protected. Providing additional specific information about the nature of the attack on RSA or about certain elements of RSA SecurID design could enable others to try to compromise our customers’ RSA SecurID implementations.
[Emphasis added by Securology]
Like we mentioned previously, Kerckhoff's Principle and Shannon's Maxim dictate that the DESIGN be open. These ideas are older than the Internet, and pretty much older than computing itself. So, disclosing the RSA SecurID DESIGN should have no adverse affect on customers with implementations unless the DESIGN is flawed to begin with.
Realistically, this is PR-speak for obfuscating details about what was stolen. All things point to seed records. Source code to on-premise implementations at customer sites shouldn't be affected, because those components aren't facing the Internet, and generally who cares about them? Yes, it's possible to hack the backend through things like XSS (think "Cross Site Printing"), but the state-of-the-art would be to compromise it from the outside using weaknesses found at RSA headquarters: seed records.
4. Does this event weaken my RSA SecurID solution against attacks?If it wasn't obvious that it's seed records yet, it should be screaming "SEED RECORDS" by this point. RSA SecurID is a two factor authentication system, meaning you can couple your RSA SecurID time synchronized tokencode with a PIN/Password. So, if the seed records are stolen, then the only way an adversary can impersonate you would be if he knew:
RSA SecurID technology continues to be an effective authentication solution. To the best of our knowledge, whoever attacked RSA has certain information related to the RSA SecurID solution, but not enough to complete a successful attack without obtaining additional information that is only held by our customers. We have provided best practices so customers can strengthen the protection of the RSA SecurID information they hold. RSA SecurID technology is as effective as it was before against other attacks.
[Emphasis added by Securology.]
- Which RSA SecurID token is assigned to you (i.e. the serial number stored in the RSA SecurID database on-site at a customer's site)
- Your PIN/Passcode that is the second facto (i.e. another piece of information stored in the customer's site).
5. What constitutes a direct attack on an RSA SecurID customer?This PR person is beginning to agree with us. Yes, the seed records are the hard part. If you are an RSA SecurID customer, assume the adversary has them, and now watch out for the pieces you control.
To compromise any RSA SecurID deployment, an attacker needs to possess multiple pieces of information about the token, the customer, the individual users and their PINs. Some of this information is never held by RSA and is controlled only by the customer. In order to mount a successful direct attack, someone would need to have possession of all this information.
6. What constitutes a broader attack on an RSA SecurID customer?
To compromise any RSA SecurID deployment, the attacker needs to possess multiple pieces of information about the token, the customer, the individual users and their PINs. Some of this information is never held by RSA and is controlled only by the customer. In order to mount a successful direct attack, someone would need to have possession of all this information.
The broader attack we referenced most likely would be an indirect attack on a customer that uses a combination of technical and social engineering techniques to attempt to compromise all pieces of information about the token, the customer, the individual users and their PINs. Social engineering attacks typically target customers’ end users and help desks. Technical attacks typically target customers’ back end servers, networks and end user machines. Our prioritized remediation steps in the RSA SecurID Best Practices Guides are focused on strengthening your security against these potential broader attacks.
[Emphasis added by Securology]
7. Have my SecurID token records been taken?Yes, it's obvious they have.
[Emphasis added by Securology.]
For the security of our customers, we are not releasing any additional information about what was taken. It is more important to understand all the critical components of the RSA SecurID solution.This is beginning to look like a broken record.
To compromise any RSA SecurID deployment, the attacker needs to possess multiple pieces of information about the token, the customer, the individual users and their PINs. Some of this information is never held by RSA and is controlled only by the customer. In order to mount a successful attack, someone would need to have possession of all this information.
8. Has RSA stopped manufacturing and/or distributing RSA SecurID tokens or other products?Of course manufacturing/distribution has stopped. Of course anyone worried about security would have an SOP that says "stop shipping the crypto devices when the seed records are compromised." This is just more evidence that the seed records were compromised.
As part of our standard operating procedures, while we further harden our environment some operations are interrupted. We expect to resume distribution soon and will share information on this when available.
[...snipped for brevity...]Warning about failed authentication and next tokencode events further indicates the seed records were stolen, because this would indicate the adversaries are guessing valid tokencodes but invalid PINs, or guessing tokencodes in order to determine a specific user's serial number (to match stolen seed records with a particular user).
13. How can I monitor my deployment for unusual authentication activity?
To detect unusual authentication activity, the Authentication Manager logs should be monitored for abnormally high rates of failed authentications and/or “Next Tokencode Required” events. If these types of activities are detected, your organization should be prepared to identify the access point being used and shut them down.
The Authentication Manager Log Monitoring Guidelines has detailed descriptions of several additional events that your organization should consider monitoring.
[Emphasis added by Securology]
14. How do I protect users and help desks against Social Engineering attacks such as targeted phishing?Because giving that away is giving away the last parts of information that are "controlled only by the customer", i.e. the mapping of UserIDs to seed records via token serial numbers.
Educate your users on a regular basis about how to avoid phishing attacks. Be sure to follow best practices and guidelines from sources such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) at http://education.apwg.org/r/en/index.htm.
In addition, make sure your end users know the following:
- They will never be asked for and should never provide their token serial numbers, tokencodes, PINs, passwords, etc.
Because a phishing attack that takes a tokencode could be all that is needed to guess which serial number a user has, since that moment in time could be recorded, and all seed records could be used in a parallel, offline attack to compute their token codes at that instance in time. Assume an adversary has now in their possession, all of the seed records for all RSA SecurID tokens that are currently valid (which based on above and previous seems very plausible). Assume they have sufficient computing hardware to mass compute all of the tokencodes for all of the tokens represented by those seed records for a range of time (they obviously are well funded to get the "Advanced Persistent Threat" name). This would be the output of the RSA SecurID algorithm taking all the future units of time as input coupled with the serial number/token codes to generate all of the output "hashes" for each RSA SecurID token that RSA has ever made. These mass computed tokencodes for a given range of time would basically be one big rainbow table, a time computing trade-off not too unlike using rainbow tables to crack password hashes. Then assume the adversaries can phish users into providing a tokencode into a false login prompt. Since tokencodes are only 6 digits long, and RSA has sold millions of tokens, the chances of a collision of a token's output with another token's output at a random point in time is significant enough, but phish the same user repeatedly (like asking for "next tokencode") and the adversary now can significantly narrow down the possibilities of which tokens belong to which user because different tokens must appear random and not in sync with each other (otherwise RSA SecurID would have much bigger problems). Do this selectively over a period of time for a high valued asset, and chances are the adversary's presence will go undetected, but the adversary will be able to determine exactly which token (serial number, i.e. seed record) belongs to the victim user. Or do it in mass quickly (think: social media) and it will harvest many userIDs to serial numbers (seed records) which would be valuable on the black market-- especially for e-commerce banking applications.
- Do not enter tokencodes into links that you clicked in an email. Instead, type in the URL of the reputable site to which you want to authenticate
It is also critical that your Help Desk Administrators verify the end user’s identity before performing any Help Desk operations on their behalf. Recommended actions include:The above is very decent advice, not unlike what we posted recently.
· Call the end user back on a phone owned by the organization and on a number that is already stored in the system.
· Send the user an email to a company email address. If possible, use encrypted mail.
· Work with the employee’s manager to verify the user’s identity
· Verify the identity in person
· Use multiple open-ended questions from employee records (e.g., “Name one person in your group” or, “What is your badge number?”). Avoid yes/no questions
Important: Be wary of using mobile phones for identity confirmation, even if they are owned by the company, as mobile phone numbers are often stored in locations that are vulnerable to tampering or social engineering.
[...snipped for brevity...]
So, in summary: yeah, yeah, yeah, seed records were stolen. Little to no doubt about that now.