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Finjan uncovers database storing more than 8,700 stolen FTP credentials

Data enables cybercriminals to upload malware to compromised systems more easily

February 27, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - A fresh discovery by security vendor Finjan Inc. provides yet another example of how easy it is becoming for almost anyone to find the tools needed to break into, infect or steal data from corporate Web sites.

The San Jose-based vendor announced today that it has uncovered an illegal database containing more than 8,700 stolen File Transfer Protocol server credentials including usernames, passwords and server addresses. Anyone can purchase those credentials and use them to launch malicious attacks against the compromised systems.

The stolen credentials belong to companies from around the world and include more than 2,500 North American companies, some of whose Web sites are among the world's top 100 domains, according to Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's chief technology officer.

The FTP credentials would allow malicious hackers to break into and upload malware of their choice to compromised servers literally with a click or two, he said. "You could pick any server you wanted in the list, pay for it" and launch an attack with very little effort, Ben-Itzhak said.

A trading interface on the server hosting the illegal database allows purchasers to buy FTP server credentials based on the countries in which the servers are located or even by the Google ranking of the Web sites, Ben-Itzhak said. It also appears to be designed to give criminals looking to resell FTP credentials a better basis for pricing the stolen data, he said.

A newly updated version of a tool kit called NeoSploit, which allows a cybercrook to automatically inject iFrame tags to Web pages on a compromised server, is also available. These tags are used in turn to surreptitiously pull in malicious code from other Web sites, Ben-Itzhak said.

All of the FTP credentials on the database uncovered by Finjan seem to have been harvested previously using Trojan horses and other forms of malware, he said.

"Software as a service has been evolving for some time, but until now, it has been applied only to legitimate applications," Ben-Itzhak said. The recently uncovered database and associated trading applications show that the model is being applied in the cyber-underworld as well, he said.

The database is being hosted on a server in Hong Kong, though all of its contents are in Russian, Ben-Itzhak said. As of last weekend, the server was still up and running, he added, though Finjan had sent e-mail informing the Internet service provider informing them about the rogue database. It was not immediately clear if the server hosting the database was itself compromised.

Companies that want to find out if their servers are in the list uncovered by Finjan can contact the company. Meanwhile, companies concerned that their servers have been compromised need to change their FTP usernames and passwords if they haven't already done so as part of their regular routines, Ben-Itzhak said.

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.



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