Category Archives: Breaches

Breach Notifications

UK Consumer Price Indices (CPI) risking market manipulation with pre-release mistakes

Last week, the UK Treasury released, 17 hours prematurely, market-sensitive CPI statistics to around 400 Ministers, officials and advisers. The error was the exposure of the information to 400 whom shouldn’t see this information until the next day, immediately after its public release.    This is the second mistake of a CPI pre-release mistake.

The inquiry into the incident revealed an error by a junior official.

With such exposures of key economic data, the UK risks serious market and political manipulation of statistical output.

United Kingdom Treasury hacked via Amazon’s cloud

Anonymous use of Amazon’s Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) has enabled foreign intelligence agencies to conduct sustained malicious attacks on the United Kingdom Treasury.
One attack was performed by injecting a malicious attachment into an official email.

“To the recipient it would have looked like the attachment had been sent twice... Fortunately, our systems identified this attack and stopped it.”
UK Treasury Chancellor George Obsborne recently speaking at Google’s Zeitgeist conference said, “it averaged out as more than one attempt per day”.

The Treasury refused to expand on which countries were believed to be behind most of the cyber security threats.
‘There’s no honour among spies – and for those bidding for multi-billion pound contracts, it may be in your national economic interest to get some additional information.
‘We shouldn’t fool ourselves – everyone is doing it, including British secret services, so it’s vital we also have the right protection in place.’

Mr Osborne has consistently reiterated plans to fund a £650million national cyber security programme.

X Factor “H^X0R|)”

Hypothetically, Simon Cowell’s private file system has been hacked and personal data for over 250,000 applicants for the X-Factor show have been exposed.  Recent email from Fox Broadcasting states “This week, we learned that computer hackers illegally accessed information you and others submitted to us to receive information about The X Factor auditions…it is possible, however, that the information you did provide to us, which included your name, email address, zip code, phone number (which was optional), date of birth, and gender, may have been accessed…We are taking this matter very seriously and are working with federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this illegal action…The X Factor will never ask you to email personal information such as financial data, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or the user name or passwords you use to access other websites…If you receive an email that appears to be from or The X Factor asking for personal information, please delete it, as it did not come from us.”

Possible TicketMaster hacker pleads guilty

A hacker has pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft totaling $36,624,815.52 after authorities found him with more than 675,000 stolen credit card accounts on his home computers.  The theft mostly used SQL injections which are one of the most popular attacks against SQL databases of eCommerce sites.   Unlike XSS vulnerabilities which use JavaScript, injections use an SQL statement which results in malformed requests resulting in sensitive details not intended for outside consumption.

Beginning as early as 2002, RogeJio Hackett, Jr. began specifically to target computer databases that contained credit card information so that he could sell that information. RogeJio Hackett, Jr. would hunt for vulnerabilities in SQL  databases and exploit any security vulnerabilities he found in order to gain unauthorized access to such databases. He would then steal the credit card information stored in such databases. For example, first in August 2007 and again on a later date, the defendant used his special skill in computer security in order to obtain unauthorized access to the computers of “Company One,” an on-line ticketing services provider. Company One provides the ability to order and to pay for tickets ordered on-line for such clients as libraries, museums, theatres, performing arts centers, raceways, sporting teams, and festivals. RogeJio Hackett, Jr. stole a total of359,661 individual  access devices (i.e., credit card account information) from the computer systems of Company One.   He possessed many of these stolen access devices on his computers and storage media in his residence on June  30, 2009, the day the United States Secret Service executed a search warrant on that location.
In addition to hacking, RogeJio Hackett, Jr. also obtained stolen credit card information by purchasing it from others over the Internet. From May 2008 until June 30, 2009, he bought stolen credit card information online from several different individuals he believed to be in the United States, Ukraine and Russia.
From at least as early as September 2004, the defendant was a member of various on-line carding forums, i.e., on-line discussion forums for the purpose of buying or selling stolen financial information.  On one such carding forum, the defendant was a “Reviewed Vendor,” a seller whose stolen financial information had been reviewed by someone assigned by the carding forum administrator.

Read more in the USA v Hackett statement of facts.

70M Subscribers to PlayStation

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID,” wrote Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications for Sony Computer Entertainment America. “It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address … and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. … While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility.

The following letter has been sent to subscribers:


From: PlayStation Network <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:29 PM
Subject: Important information regarding PlayStation Network and Qriocity services
Valued PlayStation(R)Network/Qriocity Customer:
We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this intrusion, we have:
1) Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;
2) Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and
3) Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by rebuilding our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.
We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable. Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have  authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no  evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through  PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.
For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the  PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly  recommend that you change them as well. To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain  vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports. We are providing the following information for those who  wish to consider it:
– U.S. residents are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free  credit report, visit or call toll-free (877) 322-8228.
– We have also provided names and contact information for the three major U.S. credit bureaus below.  At no charge, U.S. residents can  have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to  granting credit in your name. This service can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name. Note, however, that because it  tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, it also may delay your ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies your identity.  As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on your file. Should you wish to  place a fraud alert, or should you have any questions regarding your credit report, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:
Experian: 888-397-3742;; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax: 800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
TransUnion: 800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
– You may wish to visit the website of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at or reach the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 for further information about how to protect yourself from   identity theft. Your state Attorney General may also have advice on preventing identity theft, and you should report instances of known or suspected identity theft to law enforcement, your State Attorney General, and the FTC. For North Carolina residents, the Attorney General  can be contacted at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; telephone (877) 566-7226; or For Maryland  residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202; telephone: (888) 743-0023; or
We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience. Our teams are working  around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes information protection very seriously and will  continue to work to ensure that additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information. Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is our utmost priority. Please contact us at 1-800-345-7669 should you have any additional  questions.
Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment
“PlayStation” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks and “PS3” and “PlayStation Network” are trademarks of Sony Computer  Entertainment Inc.
(C) 2011 Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC
919 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA 94404

The breach has prompted Sony to rebuild systems and restore services within the week.