The data breach of US bank Capital One that this week exposed the personal data of over 100 million US customers may be only the start of a series of breach notifications from other organizations, potentially including UK-based telecoms carrier Vodafone, US-based carmaker Ford and Italy-based global banking and financial services company UniCredit.
According to research conducted by Israel-based cybersecurity company CyberInt, the threat actor allegedly responsible for the Capital One breach tried to mask their identity and IP address by connecting to ‘IPredator’, a Sweden-based virtual private network (VPN) using the ‘Tor’ anonymity network. An account, ‘ISRM-WAF-Webrole’, was compromised, potentially through a configuration vulnerability, to gain access to Capital One's cloud infrastructure hosted by Amazon Web Services(AWS).
CyberInt has discovered screenshots and posts sent by the alleged threat actor(s) suggesting that other organizations are also likely to have been breached, using similar techniques; these include Vodafone, Ford, UniCredit, Michigan State University and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
According to CyberInt lead researcher Jason Hill: “The Capital One breach could be the tip of the iceberg, as organizations worldwide continue to make use of cloud-based services, cybercriminals, and other threat actors have taken note and are keen to exploit vulnerabilities and misconfigurations to gain access to potentially sensitive and valuable data.”
He added: “Organisations using cloud-based services such as Amazon S3 should immediately ensure that their assets are correctly configured to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Furthermore, users of cloud services should audit their deployments to ensure that access permissions and privileges are correctly configured. In addition to logging activity on cloud services, these logs should be regularly monitored to ensure that incidents such as the recent Capital One data breach are detected and acted upon in real-time, as they occur, rather than after-the-fact.”
The Capital One breach is believed to be one of the largest in the history of banking. Capital One only became aware of the massive breach following a responsible disclosure email alerting them to potentially leaked data on a GitHub account associated with the alleged threat actor.
The hack is expected to cost the Capital One Financial Corporation up to US$150 million in the near term, including paying for credit monitoring for affected customers. Potential reputational damage and a resulting loss in customer confidence are, of course, harder to estimate.
“Organisations moving to cloud services should consider using digital risk protection services such as CyberInt’s My Digital Presence, which provide automated discovery and monitoring of digital assets including cloud storage instances and identify those that are left ‘open’ or at risk,” says Jason Hill.