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What could be the impact of the RSA breach

In the past few months there seems to have been a rise in what is called Advance Persistant Threats (APT).
Wikipedia actually has a short but comprehensive description of what it means HERE.

An article on SC Magazine describes what seems to have been an APT against RSA affecting the security of their two factor authentication products.
It is not clear exactly what has been stolen at the moment, but RSA has admited that some sensitive information has been leaked/downloaded.

By reading some of the security community reactions (Help net security article) there seems to be 3 main concerns:
1. Security breach related to their pseudo random number generation, their product security would then be reduced to the security of the user’s passcode. Usually a simple 4 digits PIN.
2. The extend of their customer data that was stolen, could some of that data have an adverse effect of their customers (i.e.: password, name, addresses, etc)
3. What could be the security impact on the RSA 2 factor product users

The first concern is another example that security through secret is never good, and I am surprised RSA would only rely on some “secret fixed seeds” for their token code generation.

The second concern is typical of any data breach from a reseller/vendor who keeps large volume of customers data. The nature of the data and how it was protected will be of importance for RSA’s reputation.

Finally, the 3rd concern is what is of most significance. The common security community message seems to be: no need to panic.
Although I agree, I would add “but do not ignore it”.

It is important to remember that 2 factor authentication are used to improve the access security controls.
If the level of security it provides is reduced to a single factor authentication then there is an increased security risk towards what you were trying to protect in the first place.
This is even worse if that 2 factor authentication was the sole authentication method, as compromised tokens codes would then leave you with a very small 4 pin passwords.

Also, with todays popularity of “in the cloud” services many companies have replaced the physical security element where access was only accessible while on premises or from the company network, with a 2 factor authentication security control:
The “somewhere you are” requirement being replaced with a “something you have” requirement.

A compromised of the RSA token codes generation could have a very negative security impact on companies who are using RSA tokensto protectaccessto their cloud services.
They would indeed end up with portal accesses only protected by a userid and a 4 pin digits.
Now, if that is the case, this would be something to worry about and act upon.

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