SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Equifax and its 143m customers just the ‘first known victims’

By Ashton Young
Tue 19 Sep 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

​The colossal breach in Equifax’s soft underbelly has made headlines around the world of late, largely because of the monumental amount of personal data involved – up to 143 million customers.

It has now been revealed the most likely route cybercriminals used to gain access to the honeypot, exploiting an Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638 vulnerability.

The stolen data may include Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s licenses, addresses and 209,000 credit card numbers – all of which may now be putting these people at identity theft risk for the rest of their lives.

What’s even more concerning though, is that Flexera asserts that not only was the vulnerability well-known, but a patch was available long before the attack.

Flexera says Apache Struts is a popular and widely-used open source component used by companies in commercial and in-house systems to take in and serve up data, making it a prime target for cybercriminals.

The suspected vulnerability was disclosed on March 7 and the patch was available at the same time – but this is not a novelty, as Flexera asserts the availability of patches at the time of disclosure of vulnerabilities is actually very common.

A study from Flexera found that in 2016, patches were available at the time of disclosure for a staggering 81 percent of vulnerabilities.

The real problem comes down to the simple fact that it takes users substantially longer to patch vulnerabilities than it does for hackers to start exploiting them – WannaCry anyone? Organisations continue to leave their windows wide open for hackers to climb in.

In the Equifax case, the company has identified the breach and is taking care of it. However, vice president of product management at Flexera, Jeff Luszcz says they are probably just the first known victims.

“Once a case like this hits the news, it ignites the fire in the cybercrime community and hackers start poking around for new opportunities,” says Luszcz.

“We should expect a long tail of incidents and breaches in the months – and potentially years – to come. As we still see attacks targeting Heartbleed, a vulnerability more than three years old.”

If nothing else, this massive breach serves as a vital reminder for business leaders to radically rethink their vision of cybersecurity as the incidents we see increasingly reveal the neglection of basic security best practices – making the job easy for hackers and hard for security professionals.

Senior director of Secunia Research at Flexera, Kasper Lindgaard says patching this type of vulnerability is certainly not as simple as patching a desktop application, but it’s certainly something business leaders need to address sooner rather than later.

“When it comes to vulnerabilities affecting the software supply chain, it’s important to align software design and engineering, operational and security requirements. This isn’t an easy task,” says Lindgaard.

“However, the time frames of initial disclosure of the vulnerability and its patch on March 7 – up to two months before the first reported unauthorized access at Equifax, and the further delay of the actual detection of the breach on July 29 – currently indicates that the vulnerability was not handled with the priority that it should have.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Blasé attitudes to cybersecurity by business a national risk
The largely unregulated state of cybersecurity in NZ, and consequential ambivalence of most businesses, risk hurting the country's trading prospects.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings 
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
DDoS
Flashpoint unveils security offering for school boards
Flashpoint has released its K-12 risk management and security offering to provide school boards and education security practitioners with tools to recognise, prevent and manage cyber and physical threats.
Story image
Yubico
New research shows global drive for passwordless authentication
A new study has shown there has been a significant shift towards wanting a passwordless future, but adoption is still in its infancy.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Trend Micro unveils dedicated security for electric vehicles
The cybersecurity company has announced VicOne - dedicated security for the electric vehicles and connected cars of today and tomorrow.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks named Google Cloud technology partner of the year for security
Palo Alto Networks was recognised for helping organisations rapidly transform security operations for future success.
Story image
Apple
LastPass announces new capability for iPhones and iPads
LastPass has announced its new save and fill experience, allowing customers to fill in, create and save their credentials directly within the site's form field.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
New survey uncovers critical OT security challenges
While industrial control environments continue to be a target for cyber criminals, there are widespread gaps in industrial security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Microsoft
SMX partnership with Microsoft leads to NTT recognition
SMX has captured the attention of NTT after receiving positive reviews from businesses across Australasia and beyond for its email security.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cloud
QuSecure partners with DataBridge Sites to showcase platform
QuSecure has partnered with DataBridge Sites to showcase its Quantum-as-a-Service (QaaS) orchestration platform, QuProtect.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Phishing
Online identity theft is rising in NZ - here’s what to do about it
It may start with a few stolen details online, but it could end with thousands of dollars missing or worse, a reputation down the drain.
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."