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Security China

VTech Hack Exposes Data On 4.8 Million Adults, 200,000 Kids (vice.com) 65

New submitter lorenzofb writes: A hacker broke into the site of the popular toy company VTech and was able to easily get 4.8 million credentials, and 227k kids' identities using SQL injection. The company didn't find out about the breach until Motherboard told them. According to Have I Been Pwned, this is the fourth largest consumer data breach ever. "[Security specialist Troy Hunt] said that VTech doesn't use SSL web encryption anywhere, and transmits data such as passwords completely unprotected. ... Hunt also found that the company's websites "leak extensive data" from their databases and APIs—so much that an attacker could get a lot of data about the parents or kids just by taking advantage of these flaws."
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VTech Hack Exposes Data On 4.8 Million Adults, 200,000 Kids

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  • Phew...

  • Honestly ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @02:41PM (#51014583) Homepage

    VTech doesn't use SSL web encryption anywhere, and transmits data such as passwords completely unprotected. ... Hunt also found that the company's websites "leak extensive data" from their databases and APIsâ"so much that an attacker could get a lot of data about the parents or kids just by taking advantage of these flaws

    Just stop using this crap ... over and over and over and over we see these same damned stories.

    Stop handing all this information over to companies who are too indifferent and incompetent to give a shit about how badly they misuse your data.

    • Re:Honestly ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by matthewv789 ( 1803086 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @02:51PM (#51014609)

      The problem is 99% of the population has no idea, and will never have any idea. And neither do the websites' owners. Asking a handful of nerds not to use their site is not going to do any good, and sending them an email telling them their site sucks isn't going to help much either.

      These sites will still be just as insecure in 15 years if there isn't a legal requirement to use encryption, hash passwords, and pass at least basic automated scans for SQL injection, XSS, and other common attacks. Seriously, outside of the dot.com/web services space, financial services and e-commerce where they have to pass PCI, this level of insecurity is extremely widespread, at all sizes of companies, and it's not changing any time soon.

      • Re:Honestly ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @03:13PM (#51014713) Homepage

        It's a lost cause. Our school sends home permission slips to allow the teachers to post pictures and videos of our kids on the school website at least once a year, sometimes more. I always say 'no' and my wife respects this, but she gets annoyed with me. She thinks I'm paranoid, and I told her I'm not paranoid, I'm just trying to make a point to the school, and in a way that's fairly painless for us.

        Then one day she signed a permission for a video to be posted without consulting me. I was a bit upset, and she started saying that "it was password protected with a different password for each class." I got her to login to see our classes videos and pictures, and I could see at the top that once you were past the login page, it didn't seem like there was any session or anything. I showed her how I could take the URL for that picture and post it into another browser and it let me in without asking for a password. She still didn't quite get it or believe me. The URL was in the form of a GET request, with a picture ID number in the URL. I just started modifying the URL and typing in other numbers. Not every one was a hit, but I started bringing up pictures of kids in other classes. I said, "how can I see these if you've only entered the password for our daughter's class?" That finally seemed to prove my point, that the school (and whoever their web portal supplier was) just wasn't competent at making this secure, if I could get past their security in a few minutes. Unfortunately I can't really report that to the school or anything because I would just end up with police at my door.

        • That finally seemed to prove my point, that the school (and whoever their web portal supplier was) just wasn't competent at making this secure, if I could get past their security in a few minutes. Unfortunately I can't really report that to the school or anything because I would just end up with police at my door.

          Report it anonymously to your local newspaper

      • what's funnier is slashdotters who work in IT, who have posted in other articles about security that the main thing is employees ability to get their job done with no inconvenience, and security that causes inconvenience or makes it harder to do job is bad. They make fun of "security nuts" like the OpenBSD and related projects teams, and those that seek to tighten up Linux distros' security, for example.

        No you fucking twats, you're part of the problem. Security is painful, good security is more painful.

    • Even better, companies should stop the rampant collection of non-essential information.

      Large databases of sensitive information are just massive breaches waiting to happen. If it's not a SQL injection attack, it will be some other exploit (heartbleed, shellshock, logjam, etc.) Even if you could magically defeat every exploit, the data can get exposed by any malicious or incompetent administrator. If nothing else, authorities with sufficient interest in the data could simply compel the database owners to

    • by indytx ( 825419 )
      The problem is that this "crap" is given to your kid as a gift and requires a software installation to run, and unless you want to tell your kid "no" and explain that their gift will never work you set up the account.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday November 27, 2015 @02:45PM (#51014595) Journal
    If you know a programmer who writes code vulnerable to SQL injections, tell them to buy this book [amazon.com]. If you are a programmer that writes SQL injections, you need it (or a swift kick in the head).

    Seriously, this is an old, solved problem. We know how to write code with zero SQL injections. It's been solved, and there is no excuse for having any of them in your code.
    • You're preaching to the choir. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of web developers in existence do not read slashdot, barely know how to program, and have never even HEARD of SQL injection (or other common attacks), and if they have... they stopped working on that site 10 years ago and it's been running on autopilot ever since, with only minimal maintenance as needed since then (often by someone not very competent or up to date). This problem isn't going to be solved until it's illegal to run insecure

      • You're probably right as the majority of "web developers" these days have it all prebuilt into Wordpress for them.
      • You're preaching to the choir. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of web developers in existence do not read slashdot

        That's why I said "give it to someone who writes sql vulnerabilities. " :) I figured most people here would know how to avoid them (I really, really hope so).

        Considering there are PHP tutorials high in Google's search results show aren't teaching parameterized queries, it's going to be a long time before we get rid of the problem completely.

    • False, Your code can be perfect and still be subject to SQL injection depending on where and how it is run because of vulnerabilities outside the code, in web framework or web serving software

  • This is just embarrassing. There's absolutely zero excuse for SQLi these days.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 )

      This is just embarrassing. There's absolutely zero excuse for SQLi these days.

      Define 'excuse'.

      Lazy. Incompetent. Indifferent. Greedy.

      The usual set of 'excuses' apply here. And as long as companies have no liability for crap like this, it will keep happening.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is sort of asking for a class action suit.

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Why the heck is this data sitting on a machine connected to the internet? Collect the data, then periodically (every month or so) append it to an internal (non-internet) machine. Then delete the sensitive data (name, address) from the internet connected server. Any hack will only get a month's worth of data.

      • You seem to imply there is legal "duty of care" (or whatever you'd call it).

        They don't care. They never promised to care. The license probably says they don't care. The people who run the company don't care.

        Taking steps to care presupposes they care. If they don't care what happens to your "sensitive data", they're sure as hell not going to take steps to protect it. Because that would involve caring.

        What part of greedy corporation shielded by license agreements and only interested in their own profit

        • A good point for data protection laws as in the EU. Here companies can be held criminally responsible if they breach their duty of care.
    • Transmitting passwords unencrypted (probably storing them unencrypted) is a pretty clear sign of negligence at this point. I would say that SQL injections are too, but that's (a little) more of a stretch. Considering it's been best practices to encrypt passwords for over two decades if not longer, then I wouldn't be surprised if a class action lawsuit won.
      • I agree, but what negligence? What law or standard says that a business has to use encryption and protect passwords? Yes, there are rules surrounding finance, e-commerce (if paying by credit card at least) and healthcare, and maybe government contractors, but that's about it. There is no standard or rule or law that says they can't publish your usernames and passwords on their homepage for convenience if they feel like it...

        • What I'm saying is that most of what programmers say about this is essentially "pride of craft" - we code things securely because we take pride in making a secure product. But not everyone takes pride in their work, and when combined with not everyone caring about customers or their privacy, you have the situation we're in.

          Lots and lots of businesses just do the minimum they need to to sell crap to customers and make a buck. Even if they take pride in their products, their website is beyond their understand

        • Here is the legal definition of negligence:

          Negligence is a failure to use reasonable care that results in harm to another party. Under negligence law, there are two different forms of negligence. In one form, a person does something that a reasonable person would not do. In the other form a person fails to take action that a reasonable person would take to prevent harm. Both forms of negligence can result in a negligence lawsuit filed against the party responsible for the damage.

          So you would have to show that a reasonable person would not publish usernames and passwords on their homepage (and you would also have to demonstrate harm from their actions).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is the kind of crap that you get when the website is outsourced to H1-Bs and contractors with zero liability who don't give a damn. Leaking personal information should be a civil offense in the United States, punishable with fines for each piece of personally identifiable information leaked. It should be like HIPAA [wikipedia.org], maybe then these companies would take security seriously.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They don't provide adequate feedback for interaction. For example, you'll push a button, but then the toy will keep hounding you with sounds for five minutes -- well after you've put it down and gone on to do something else. So it'll distract your child from what they were interested in. If you have 5 VTech toys in your house then your child won't know wtf to do, with each toy beckoning them. I don't see why they don't only react only when you push a button.

    Besides that, when you initially turn on t

  • Kids are definitely insecure as of today.
    • Probably because nobody stays at home with the kid all day, kids don't have the security of a routine and less nurturing. They only get some guardian's partial frantic attention since they have to watch 10 other kids, and then burnt out parents at home busy making dinner and getting ready for tomorrow. Then there's those daycares [dailymail.co.uk] that just tie kids to the bed all day and who knows what the fuck else. I'd be insecure too.

  • Little Bobby DROP TABLES http://xkcd.com/327/ [xkcd.com]

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