08.20.15

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Ashley Madison Disaster Apparently the Fault of Microsoft Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What kind of company uses Windows for security?!

Hilton Manchester

Summary: New reports serve to show that Ashley Madison’s data which got leaked includes complete dump of corporate Windows passwords

TWO months ago we wrote about the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach and Microsoft Windows. It’s quite unusual for large, high-profile breaches to involve anything but Microsoft, but the media rarely call out Windows, not even when Stuxnet is clearly all about Windows (not surprisingly because Microsoft aids the NSA and the NSA developed Stuxnet) and the Sony were reportedly the fault of a leaky Window server, irrespective of who infiltrated it (an entirely separate question).

Another day, another crack. Because OPM contains the personal details of many rich and powerful people. OPM still dominates the news to some degree (although Windows is rarely mentioned) and now it’s Ashley Madison [1,2]. A lot of people, including very high-profile people, can now be publicly shamed and/or blackmailed.

“Well done, Microsoft. Instead of helping just the NSA (and by extension Five Eyes) hoard weapons of blackmail against billions of people the company has now got weapons of blackmail scattered all around the Web, targeting many millions of people.”According to this report, the leak “included a full domain dump of corporate passwords (NTLM hashes) of the Windows domain of the company” (hello Microsoft!).

“According to security experts, including Krebs,” wrote Gordon in IRC, “it’s definitely a legit dump” and there are articles that explain why. “The database dump,” to quote this one report, “appears to be legitimate and contains usernames, passwords, credit card data (last four), street addresses, full names, and much much more. It also contains an extensive amount of internal data which looks like the hackers had maintained access to their environment for a long period of time.”

Ashley Madison’s owners are in panic because a lot of lawsuits may be imminent. They are trying to DMCA sites that share the data, but history teaches that this is a futile effort. They now pay the price of using Windows and many people (perhaps dozens of millions) pay the price of relying on a company that uses Windows.

Well done, Microsoft. Instead of helping just the NSA (and by extension Five Eyes) hoard weapons of blackmail against billions of people the company has now got weapons of blackmail scattered all around the Web, targeting many millions of people. Microsoft leads to a form of global anarchy by making its software flawed by design and leaky by intention. It’s that same dumb mentality that leads some politicians to demands of back doors only for the “Good Guys” (them).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Remember How The DMCA ‘Stopped’ The Release Of Ashley Madison Cheaters Data? About That…

    And… it took longer than expected, but less than a month later, the data file has leaked online, and you can bet that lots of people — journalists, security researchers, blackmailers and just generally curious folks — have been downloading it and checking it out.

    Maybe, next time, rather than claiming copyright, the company will do a better job of protecting its systems.

  2. Data from hack of Ashley Madison cheater site dumped online [Updated]

    Gigabytes worth of data taken during last month’s hack of the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has been published online—an act that could be highly embarrassing for the men and women who have used the service over the years.

    A 10-gigabyte file containing e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive Ashley Madison information became available as a BitTorrent download in the past few hours. Ars downloaded the massive file and it appeared to contain a trove of details taken from a clandestine dating site, but so far there is nothing definitively linking it to Ashley Madison. User data included e-mail addresses, profile descriptions, addresses provided by users, weight, and height. A separate file containing credit card transaction data didn’t include full payment card numbers or billing addresses.

    [...]

    “We have now learned that the individual or individuals responsible for this attack claim to have released more of the stolen data,” they wrote in an e-mail to Ars. “We are actively monitoring and investigating this situation to determine the validity of any information posted online and will continue to devote significant resources to this effort. Furthermore, we will continue to put forth substantial efforts into removing any information unlawfully released to the public, as well as continuing to operate our business.”

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

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