Kaspersky breach exposes sensitive database, says hacker

SQL injection said to strike deep

By Dan Goodin

Posted in Security, 8th February 2009 09:21 GMT


A security lapse at Kaspersky has exposed a wealth of proprietary information about the anti-virus provider's products and customers, according to a blogger, who posted screen shots and other details that appeared to substantiate the claims.

In a posting made Saturday, the hacker claimed a simple SQL injection gave access to a database containing "users, activation codes, lists of bugs, admins, shop, etc." Kaspersky has declined to comment, but two security experts who reviewed the evidence said the claims appeared convincing.

"This looks very real to me," Thomas Ptacek, a researcher at security provider Matasano said via instant message a few hours after the post went live. He pointed to the address bar of one screenshot that showed usa.kaspersky.com along with the text "concat_ws(0x3a,ver" to the right of that. "It's a URL that is being used to alter the database request that's used to generate the page," he added. "One of them can be tricked into pulling arbitrary data from the database. Game over."

Roger Thompson, chief research officer at competing anti-virus provider AVG concurred. "/me feels sorry for Kaspersky," he wrote to El Reg. "Can't tell for certain, but it looks legit."

Representatives from Kaspersky declined to immediately comment.

"Given the hour, we are not able available to talk now, but I will work on answers for you to have early tomorrow," a spokeswoman wrote in an email sent Saturday evening California time, several hours after the post was made.


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