It has been an embarrassing week for security firm HBGary and its HBGary Federal offshoot. HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr thought he had unmasked the hacker hordes of Anonymous and was preparing to name and shame those responsible for co-ordinating the group’s actions, including the denial-of-service attacks that hit MasterCard, Visa, and other perceived enemies of WikiLeaks late last year.
One might think that such an esteemed organization would prove an insurmountable challenge for a bunch of disaffected kids to hack. World-renowned, government-recognized experts against Anonymous? HBGary should be able to take their efforts in stride.
Unfortunately for HBGary, neither the characterization of Anonymous nor the assumption of competence on the security company’s part are accurate, as the story of how HBGary was hacked will make clear……..
The hbgaryfederal.com CMS was susceptible to a kind of attack called SQL injection. In common with other CMSes, the hbgaryfederal.com CMS stores its data in an SQL database, retrieving data from that database with suitable queries. Some queries are fixed—an integral part of the CMS application itself. Others, however, need parameters. For example, a query to retrieve an article from the CMS will generally need a parameter corresponding to the article ID number. These parameters are, in turn, generally passed from the Web front-end to the CMS.
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