Cybersecurity and Leaking Customer Data

All is relatively well here at Woesnotgone Meadow, where everyone has above average bandwidth.

In the Meadow, we are working towards more of a green future. We are recycling, and starting to use solar panels. There are other projects in the works. We do use electricity from the grid to power our computers, lights, stoves, microwaves, and other services at home and work. Margie is the local manager for the power company, and she generally manages all of the things we need to be done individually and for the Meadow, so we know it is done right and timely. Fortunately, we have not had a problem with this. Another electricity provider appears to not have been so lucky.

Eskom is the largest electricity utility in South Africa. In this case, when a third party detects an issue on your system, and reports this vulnerability to you, seemingly someone in the company would thank the researcher and start working on closing the issue. This does not seem too outlandish or out of the realm of reality. This did not quite happen in a recent case with Eskom. The security researcher detected the vulnerability. This was located in Eskom’s information system with its database. This issue had been open for weeks. A company may not listen to someone without evidence. This issue was documented to other parties with a screenshot. The specific vulnerability operations at that time had not been disclosed. This may be from the Trojan Azorult, downloaded from a game. With this specific issue, the user who “allegedly” downloaded the Trojan had also been identified. The end result and detectable issue was the vulnerability was leaking customer data.

The researcher informed them multiple times of the vulnerability and its effects. A news organization also had informed Eskom. There also had been direct messages on Twitter to Eskom. Still no action on this significant issue. After everything else failed, the issue was posted in a public forum (Twitter).

The user’s data being exposed was the alarm for the researcher to focus on. The vulnerability was leaking the customer’s full name, type of credit card, partial credit card number, and credit card CVV.

When you receive a gift, generally you don’t ignore this, especially the ones of this type. To receive this data early before the industry at large would have saved them a mass amount of time, money, overhead if they would have acted upon this. This also highlights the need for more user education. It should be obvious, however, the users should not load games on business computers.

Thanks for visiting Woesnotgone Meadow, where the encryption is strong, and the O/Ss are always using the latest version.

Resources

Abrams, L. (2019, February 9). Power company has breach due to downloaded game. Retrieved from https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/power-company-has-security-breach-due-to-downloaded-game/

Dissent. (2019, February 6). Eskom data leak exposes sensitive customer information-security researcher. Retrieved from https://www.databreaches.net/eskom-data-leak-exposes-sensitive-customer-information-security-researcher/

Finnegan, C. (2019, February 7). Eskom data leak may have exposed personal details of a number of customers. Retrieved from http://thechiefobserver.com/1304/eskom-database-flaw-may-have-exposed-personal-details-of-a-number-of-instances/

NAVVA. (2019). Eskom data leak exposes sensitive customer information-security researcher. Retrieved from https://navva.org/africa/africa/eskom-data-leak-exposes-sensitive-customer-information-security-researcher/

Vermeulen, J. (2019, February 6). Eskom data leak exposes sensitive customer information-security researcher. Retrieved from https://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/295030-eskom-data-leak-exposes-sensitive-customer-information-security-researcher.html

About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.

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