CUNA website attacked and user data exposed

Team GhostShell has released the data acquired through more successful attacks against a wide variety of websites. Victims include the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and several other companies and government organizations. Initial estimates put the total number of leaked CUNA website usernames and MD5 hashed passwords at around 46,500. Many of the hashed passwords have already been cracked and were included in the release. The data released also included full names and physical addresses as well as individual names tied to phone numbers.

This attack was just the latest example of what can occur when your website has not been tested thoroughly for SQL injection (SQLi) and other vulnerabilities on a regular basis. SQLi occurs when an attacker finds a vulnerable or poorly protected website and passes commands directly to the backend database. When an attack is successful the effect can be a devastating disclosure of personal information. This type of attack has been documented time and time again and remains one of the top vulnerabilities listed in the OWASP top ten. ( Any company that maintains sensitive information on individuals should regularly have trusted third party security firms review the current security status of their websites through penetration tests.

Best practices recommend a penetration test be conducted at least annually to ensure security of your website has not been compromised by any changes that have occurred since the last test. Many of today’s websites utilize content management system like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Content management systems (CMS) like this are regularly tested by both users and developers to ensure their security. However many vulnerabilities found on websites today will actually stem from plugins or software add-ons installed by the end user to the CMS platform. Unfortunately not all plug-ins are properly tested for security by their developers. We at PathMaker Group have found that even after being notified of a security vulnerability many customers will not implement a fix for some time leaving their website vulnerable to attack.

Another issue that stands out from this latest attack is the ability for users to set weak, dictionary based passwords on their accounts. Many of the cracked passwords were comprised of a single lower case word found in any standard English dictionary. This is not a recommended security best practice configuration. User account passwords must be administratively required by the system to be strong in nature. For example, a reasonably strong password should contain at least 12 characters comprised of UPPERcase, lowercase, numb3rs, and $pecial characters. By allowing your users to store weak passwords, you may be allowing attackers authenticated access to your systems. This can lead to a PR nightmare for both you and your client.

PathMaker Group can provide professional security testing of your current security controls including penetration testing of your websites. Talk to us about becoming your partner in defending your most valuable assets. Click the “Contact Us” button on the right to get in touch with a security expert who can assist with your annual security testing and provide guidance on securing your business from outsider attack.

We have not included link to the data exposed by Team GhostShell due to the sensitivity of the included data and respect for those who have been affected.

CUNA has now confirmed the attack via press release:

Included is a statement from CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.“We do not believe any sensitive personal information from our web site was accessed, however, we are contacting all users of our website to advise them of the breach. Further, we will continue to analyze the information posted online by the (hackers) group, as well as continue to validate that no other risks exist. We will also continue to monitor our website and take increased security measures to ensure it is safeguarded.”