Mar 132014

I’m watching  Josh Tyrangiel of Bloomberg on CBS News this morning reporting that prior to its massive breach, Target ignored the warning alerts generated by its  FireEye system.  Target hasn’t responded to Bloomberg’s questions as to why the warning e-mails generated by the system were ignored.

Interestingly, we heard something similar in the Neiman-Marcus breach where hackers kept triggering alarms, but the almost 60,000 alarms were ignored by personnel  who viewed them as false positives.

Update: Jim Finkle and Susan Heavey of Reuters have more on this and Target’s response, including comments by experts that it’s completely understandable that personnel might ignore the malware alerts from FireEye:

FireEye has a function that automatically deletes malicious software, but it had been turned off by Target’s security team before the hackers’ attack, the Bloomberg report said, citing two people who audited FireEye’s role after the breach.

Shook and Strand said that the vast majority of FireEye’s customers turn off that functionality because it is known for incorrectly flagging data as malware, which can halt email and Web traffic for business users.

“FireEye … is cutting edge,” Strand said. “But it takes love and care and feeding. You have to watch it and monitor it.”

  6 Responses to “Target ignored its own warning system – Bloomberg (updated)”

  1. Because too many alerts are “just noise”. FireEye alerts are noise because it is too hard to react to them.

  2. They are ignored because there isn’t a mechanism to react to them.

    The FireEye hangover is what you get after you’ve bought FireEye but cannot react to what it is telling you.

    People buy the product with no way to act upon the alerts. This is what FireEye neglects to tell you when you buy their product.

  3. It would be interesting to hear someone from FireEye comment to that.

    • Yeah, but what can they really say other than, “What do we need to do – dance naked on the table to get your attention?”

  4. “Let your stolen data reach the sky.FireEye!”

  5. Malware.binary overload. All FireEye customers know that feeling, $1.6m for a generic message whilst the founders become billionaires on a cash cow.

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