IoT firm Ubiquiti hit by 'catastrophic' data breach

Data Breach
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Update: “In response to this incident, we leveraged external incident response experts to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure the attacker was locked out of our systems,” Ubiquiti has said in a message (opens in new tab) to its community, adding that the experts found no evidence that would suggest that customer information was accessed. The company says it is working with law enforcement agencies and has “well-developed evidence” that the perpetrator was an individual with intricate knowledge of Ubiquiti's cloud infrastructure.

An anonymous whisteblower has claimed that Internet of Things (IoT) (opens in new tab) specialists Ubiquiti massively downplayed its recent system breach.

Ubiquity urged its customers to change their passwords (opens in new tab) blaming in January 2021 after claiming an incident at a third-party cloud provider (opens in new tab) may have exposed authentication information. 

However, this was apparently false information given out at the behest of the company’s legal department apparently to protect Ubiquity’s share price, the anonymous (opens in new tab) letter to the European Data Protection Supervisor claims.

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According to the letter, which the whistleblower shared with leading cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, the breach potentially put all Ubiquiti devices at risk.

Downplaying the incident

The whistleblower shared that the attackers had gained administrative access to Ubiquiti’s cloud servers (opens in new tab) at Amazon Web Service (AWS) (opens in new tab) and accessed all S3 data buckets, all application logs, all databases, all user database credentials, and secrets required to forge single sign-on (SSO) (opens in new tab) cookies.

In the letter, the whistleblower alleges that Ubiquiti’s security noticed something was amiss in late December last year, and soon found a backdoor left by the intruders. 

Removing the backdoor invited a ransom note from the intruder threatening to expose the breach along with details of another backdoor. Ubiquiti however didn’t engage with the intruders and found and closed the second backdoor. 

“Ubiquiti had negligent logging (no access logging on databases) so it was unable to prove or disprove what they accessed, but the attacker targeted the credentials to the databases, and created Linux instances with networking connectivity to said databases,” wrote the whistleblower in the letter reiterating that it was the company’s legal department that overrode repeated requests to take stringent action.

Via: KrebsOnSecurity (opens in new tab)

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.