The fallout from an Adobe breach is spreading a little wider. Security researchers are reporting that the same cybercriminals who hacked into LexisNexis have also hijacked data from the wire service PR Newswire.
According to information security firm Hold Security, partial Web site source code and configuration data, along with a database of PR Newswire customers, was found on the same server where Adobe Systems’ source code was located. And that spells trouble.
“Cleverly disguised as an image, an archive of PR Newswire was found on hackers’ repository server,” Hold reports. “The database date appears to be from March 8, 2013 but it is unclear yet if the breach had happened at the same time or at a later date as the archive was created on April 22, 2013.”
What’s the Damage?
PR Newswire has confirmed the attack. PR Newswire is reportedly investigating the issue, which appears to be limited to customers from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. The company was not immediately available for comment, but KrebsOnSecurity reports it will begin the process of alerting affected customers and asking them to change their account passwords later today.
In a written statement to KrebsOnSecurity, PR Newswire said that at this point there is no evidence to suggest that the intrusion into its networks was in any way related to what happened with Sweden-based press release distributor Cision AB last week. At that time, the company said it was conducting an investigation into an erroneous press release that it published. The release stated that Samsung Electronics Co. would be purchasing Fingerprint Cards, a Swedish technology firm, for $650 million -- information that was inaccurate.
“PR Newswire has protocols and redundancies in place that are designed to minimize the risk of distributing fraudulent press releases, including both technological and human safeguards prior to issuing any release," the statement reads.
“The database contains approximately 10,000 records; however, there is only a minority of active users on this database. Those users represent an even smaller number of customers, as each customer generally has multiple usernames. PR Newswire decided to implemented a mandatory password reset for all customers with accounts on this database as a precautionary measure,” according to the statement.
The Broader Impacts
We turned to Aaron Titus, CPO at Identity Finder, a security and privacy firm, to get his reaction to the latest Adobe-related breach. He told us while we often think of identity fraud as a consumer problem, corporate identity fraud can have devastating effects on businesses, markets, and even public health.
“In this case, PR Newswire was concerned that a malicious third party could use the stolen information to impersonate their customers, potentially causing official-looking -- but fraudulent -- press releases to be sent in the name of customers like Chevron, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the World Health Organization,” he said. “It is easy to imagine the havoc that could be caused by such corporate identity fraud. PR Newswire forced a password reset for all of their customers, as a precaution."