Paris Hilton may be victim of T-Mobile Web holes
The hacking may have exploited the company's Web site
IDG News Service - The hackers who stole information from hotel heiress Paris Hilton's mobile phone account and those of other T-Mobile customers may have taken advantage of a hole in T-Mobile's Web site, according to security experts and those familiar with the incident.
A flaw in a Web site feature to reset T-Mobile account passwords is believed to have played a role in the hack of Hilton's T-Mobile Sidekick account, which resulted in her star-studded address book, photos, e-mail messages and voice mail being posted for public consumption on the Internet (see story). The password-reset hole is just one of hundreds or even thousands of similar flaws in the mobile provider's Web page that could give malicious hackers easy access to customer information, according to an analysis by a security expert.
A spokesman for T-Mobile USA Inc., a division of T-Mobile International AG, declined to comment specifically on the password-reset exploit or on the security of the company's Web site, despite repeated requests. In an e-mail statement attributed to Sue Swenson, chief operating officer of T-Mobile USA, the company said that it cares about protecting the security and privacy of its customers and that the company is "aggressively investigating the illegal dissemination of information over the Internet of T-Mobile customers' personal data."
Rumors about how Hilton's Sidekick was hacked have been in abundance since her account was posted on Web sites Feb. 20. One leading theory suggests that it may have been linked to a 2003 hack by Nicolas Jacobsen, the 22-year-old who pleaded guilty Feb. 15 to compromising the accounts of 400 T-Mobile customers. Another attributes it to an easy-to-guess password on Hilton's account.
But the hack may in fact be fallout from a technical analysis of the company's Web site based on information in an affidavit filed in the Jacobsen case by U.S. Secret Service agent Matthew Ferrante.
In a Feb. 17 blog posting, Jack Koziol, a senior instructor at InfoSec Institute, used information in the affidavit and publicly available information on T-Mobile's site to discuss how Jacobsen compromised T-Mobile's servers in 2003.
Koziol speculated that Jacobsen used a SQL injection attack to compromise T-Mobile's servers and noted that, as of his posting, there were "literally hundreds of injection vulnerabilities littered throughout the T-Mobile website," according to his blog, "Ethical Hacking and Computer Forensics."
In a SQL injection attack, attackers use a SQL database query to send, or "inject," unexpected commands into a SQL database, allowing them to manipulate the database's contents.
Early on Feb. 19, Koziol received an e-mail from a reader complimenting him on his blog. The
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!