Too small to hack? No such thing.

Dave Forster reports:

Rob Hegedus likens website and other malicious data hacks to cockroaches.

“If you see one, there’s 20 you’re not seeing,” said Hegedus, the CEO of Suffolk-based cybersecurity firm Sera-Brynn.


…. any website, no matter its size or affiliation, can wind up in the crosshairs of an attack.

“The mentality of, ‘Well, we’re not really important, it’s not going to happen to us,’ is really dangerous, as more and more people are learning,” Kipp said.

Read more on The Virginian-Pilot.

One need only look at the continuing problem of attacks using SQL injection vulnerabilities to know that’s the truth. It’s not uncommon to see lists of vulnerable sites posted on Pastebin, such as one recent list by “PREDICTIBLE.” But do the entities even know they’ve been identified as an easy target? Probably not, and even when you try to alert them, they often don’t respond to the alert. And then we wind up with more posts on this site about schools, businesses, and organizations with their unencrypted data exposed. Some of them may contain sensitive information on clients or patients.

PREDICTIBLE, who tells that he has been active for only a few weeks, claims to have hacked 15-20 sites in the past few weeks, exploiting SQLi. One of the sites, which he did not list in his list of vulnerable sites, gave him access to unencrypted credit card information, he claims. He said he only looked at it to verify what he was seeing and that he didn’t steal the information, but still…

PREDICTIBLE, who freely admits he is involved in “dropping” databases but sees his hacks as an attempt to improve security by increasing awareness, has some advice how to protect against such attacks:

  1. Scan your website for vulnerabilities.
  2. Use a hash for passwords as it takes longer and a lot of hackers will not try spend the time to crack the hash.
  3. Try an SQL injection on your own site to see if any of the hashes will work.
  4. Create more secure passwords for the site’s tables or use a harder keyword for your site.

Pretty basic advice, right? But from talking with people in not-for-profits, there are way too many who would have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about or, as importantly, how to implement it.  And while the FTC provides a guide for businesses and tells businesses:

Pay particular attention to the security of your web applications—the software used to give information to visitors to your website and to retrieve information from them. Web applications may be particularly vulnerable to a variety of hack attacks. In one variation called an “injection attack,” a hacker inserts malicious commands into what looks like a legitimate request for information. Once in your system, hackers transfer sensitive information from your network to their computers. Relatively simple defenses against these attacks are available from a variety of sources.

Unfortunately, the FTC doesn’t list any specific resources. While I understand that including resources that may become invalid or outdated is problematic, it would be nice if the government did include some places to start.

In the meantime, PREDICTIBLE would be happy to discuss this with you more if you are one of the too-many organizations storing personal information vulnerable to an injection attack.

You can reach him on Twitter @predictible or

XMPP : [email protected] (“for OTR convos only”)
Skype : amipredictible

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