Security firm Cyberoam turns victim in cyber attack

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 01, 2016


Hackers selling leaked database of firm’s customers and partners

Year 2015 did not end on a high note for the Indian cyber security firm Cyberoam that confirmed a cyber attack on its systems last week, resulting in possible leakage of its database that contained personal details of its customers and partners.

An Indian security researcher, who prefers to remain anonymous, recently encountered a hacker on the dark web who was willing to sell the Cyberoam database for 100 bitcoins (about ₹28 lakh). The researcher says as many as one million records were available in the database with details of Cyberoam’s customers and partners.

Dark web

The dark web is a part of the internet that is hidden from search engines such as Google and Bing and can only be accessed through special software such as the Tor browser. It is common to see hackers selling leaked databases of companies on dark web for quick gain. Many other hackers use the leaked database to extort money from the company whose data they possess.

Portions of the database, also seen by BusinessLine, contained customer names, phone numbers, email addresses, company names along with some transaction details.

“Most customers blindly trust vendors. This hack shows no company is safe from hackers who do advanced persistent attacks. Putting just a firewall or antivirus won’t do the job. Every company needs to do application security testing of every web portal, zero-day vulnerability testing for all their servers,” said J Prasanna, Director at Cyber Security and Privacy Foundation.

When BusinessLine informed Cyberoam, which was acquired by UK-listed cyber security firm Sophos in early 2014, about the incident last week, the company started an investigation and confirmed the cyberattack. However, until last Thursday it remained unsure over the extent of the leak as it continued its investigation into the attack.

“We have informed our partners and customers of a cyber-attack aimed at a web service in the domain via a publicly-accessible read-only API. We have taken steps to mitigate any exposure, and a thorough investigation is ongoing. Initial analysis indicates that the potentially exposed data consists of a marketing database from the year 2012 as well as some publicly available information and other non-sensitive information,” Hemal Patel, CEO, Cyberoam, told BusinessLine.

The company also said that this incident does not impact the security effectiveness of any Cyberoam product and that no customer or partner action is required in response to this incident.

However, the security researcher who found the database online insists it was not only a marketing database leaked but the company’s entire customer and partner database with over one million records is available for purchase on the dark web.

Growing menace

Experts point out that breaches are becoming a commonplace in India and no security firm is immune to them. “The estimated annual loss on account of data breach in India touched a whopping ₹2,500 crore in 2015. Malicious software is being uploaded on to the internet every minute and even data security firms are struggling to cope up with the threats of data breaches,” said Sunder Krishnan, Advisor at ISACA, international professional association focused on IT security and data governance.

Published on January 01, 2016

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine, are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. You can also access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all our readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. You can help us by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section.

Our subscriptions start as low as Rs 199/- per month. A yearly package costs just Rs. 999 – a mere Rs 2.75 per day, less than a third the price of a cup of roadside chai..

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor