EMC’s RSA Security division says the security of the company’s two-factor SecurID tokens could be at risk following a sophisticated cyber-attack on the company.
In a , RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello said his company is “actively communicating this situation to RSA customers and providing immediate steps for them to take to strengthen their SecurID implementations.”
If you’ve ever wondered whether two-factor authentication systems actually boost security, things that spit out random numbers you have to enter in addition to a password, the answer is yes, yes they do. But, their effectiveness is of course dependent on the security of the systems that actually generate those funny numbers, and as of this morning those are looking a little less reliable. Â RSA, the security division of Â EMC and producer of the Â SecurID systems used by countless corporations (and the Department of Defense), has been hacked. Yesterday it sent out messages to its clients and posted an open letter stating that it’s been the victim of an “advanced” attack that “resulted in certain information being extracted from RSA’s systems” — information “specifically related to RSA’s SecurID two-factor authentication products.”
In this case, the hackers found information on RSA’s SecurID products — which are used on PCs, USB devices, phones and key fobs in about 25,000 corporations to provide an extra layer of security beyond a username and password for people logging into programs or networks.Having access to RSA’s internal networks and the SecurID source code might give criminals some subtle way of attacking SecurID users, but it shouldn’t give them a way of completely breaking RSA’s encryption, said Thorsten Holz, an assistant professor at Ruhr-University Bochum who studies computer security. “If RSA implemented everything correctly, nobody should be worried too much,” he said.However, from RSA’s statement, it’s not clear exactly what the hackers were able to learn off the company network.According to Nate Lawson, a cryptographer and the founder of Root Labs, there’s simply not enough information available to tell how bad the problem really is. “If I was a customer of theirs it makes it really hard to know what I need to do. They recommend a lot of things that people are already doing,” he said
The company, however assures that it has not totally been compromised, but we believe that the vulnerability make ignite a few hacker minds to exploit it entirely. We would recommend if you are using those Token to beef up security in more than one ways, probably by setting a strong password policy