by Pajor A
Database Breaches: Target
As technology grows at an ever faster rate, people scramble to keep up with the new changes. New systems are released; new patches, new servers, and more and more new technologies are being developed such as the cloud. Computer infrastructures such as the Google’s data bases or Sony’s Playstation Network have the challenge to maintain which is very hard on a large scale and expensive to keep up to date. With the quickly changing environment of technology, it is only becoming more difficult to stay up to date as time progresses into the future of new unknown technology advances.
On particular area corporations and nations have to worry about is the threat of hackers. Hackers come in all forms, sizes, and origins and will attack any outdated server, computer or any other device that have some kind of small handicap. One example of a program that can be potentially threating is the stopping of releases of new patches of the popular Windows XP software program. Without the protection of Microsoft releasing new patches to update security for the XP program it fling opens a door for hackers to have a field day on users still using the outdated program for malicious activities.
This same idea of programs not being updated or replaced goes for corporations and governments that maintain and run large databases. A database consists of many servers which periodically need to be updated and maintained to assure the highest level of security. Companies and nations need to keep the upmost highest level of security because databases are the Holy Grail for hackers or the jackpot of prizes.
Databases have all the information a hacker could want. Databases are where companies store their customer’s information such as, addresses, social security, credit cards, pin numbers and etc. Not only their customer’s information are stored on databases, the companies’ own information are on those same databases. Corporations store new ideas, technologies, and accounting information that could affect the public drastically in many different ways if the wrong information gotten into the wrong hands.
Nations are also facing the same problem such as China stealing high tech and military information from the U.S. government. These state sponsored hackers are professionally trained and are given limitless resources to obtain information they need or want at a moment’s notice without being tracked by the U.S. government. This makes it difficult to protect against state attacks because they are virtually undetectable to many programs.
One of the most popular tools for hacking a database is the SQL Injection. They account for about 25% of all hacks on the internet which is the most popular tool hackers use. SQL is the most used language on the internet which is why hackers used the SQL injection.
SQL injection is commonly done on the corporates login screen that prompts the user for a user name and password. At this point the hacker will provide code in the user name and password to see what kind of code the database is written in. If they find out it is SQL code they go with a set a procedures. After the hackers confirm the website is a SQL code then the hackers add more specific code to the username and password to gain access in areas where they shouldn’t.
One of the most recent and publicized example of a data breach is the Target Corporation. Target was apparently hacked by the popular SQL injection hacker method. The target of the attack was Target’s IT management who were actually a third party that supported the IT systems. The third party did not practice well coding or good password protection in this case. The IT department had a default password for the third party which was easily detected by the hacker doing a SQL injection on the site used by Target. The hackers had an arsenal of weapons to use to attack the Target database. One of methods used was memory-scraping also known as “Reedum.”
The program “Reedum” then started to record all the credit card and debit card information that was processed through Target’s systems undetected. The recording process started about two days after the injection. It has been said that the injection started in mid-November and ended December 15, 2013. Soon the malware had so much information and power that it would gather information in real time and even set up a server for the hackers on Target’s database to store all the information. All this was done by a default password set up by the malware in the Target Corporation.
As soon as the hacker was in the database of Target, the hacker stole more than 110 million customer’s credit card information. What the hackers do with the information is then sell the credit card numbers and information on the black market for thousands of dollars undetected. Some cards work and other don’t. Seeing how 110 million credit cards are stolen, the chances of credit cards working are very high. This is the digital age is now upon us, these occurrences are going to keep on occurring and occurring so corporations and governments have to stay on their toes to keep safe watch of hackers.