Security Experts:

Accellion to Retire File Transfer Service Targeted in Attacks

Accellion has formally announced plans to retire FTA, the large file transfer service that was at the heart of several recently disclosed data breaches.

The 20-year-old service is planned for retirement on April 30, 2021, past which Accellion won’t renew licenses for the software.

FTA runs on CentOS 6, an operating system that reached end-of-life on November 30, 2020, a matter that Accellion brought to the attention of FTA customers six months ago.

Despite efforts to completely move away from FTA, however, Accellion still had approximately 50 customers using the product back in December 2020, when a critical vulnerability was identified in it.

On December 23, the company said, FTA customers were alerted of a sophisticated cyber-attack targeting the file sharing service.

At least three organizations have been hacked through the vulnerable file sharing service, namely the Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Following the discovery of the critical flaw in FTA in mid-December, a “concerted cyberattack” on FTA continued into January. During that time, Accellion identified additional exploits and released necessary patches.

According to the company, all of the known FTA vulnerabilities that the attackers have been exploiting are now patched and new monitoring and alerting capabilities have been added, to identify and warn of anomalies associated with these attack vectors.

“All vulnerabilities are limited exclusively to FTA. They do not in any way impact Accellion’s enterprise content firewall platform known as kiteworks,” the company says.

In fact, Accellion has been long touting the more robust security capabilities of the kiteworks platform, asking customers to migrate to it and leave FTA aside. With the legacy product set to reach end-of-life at the end of April, moving to kiteworks is now unavoidable (Accellion will offer support for the migration for free).

“We have encouraged all FTA customers to migrate to kiteworks for the last three years and have accelerated our FTA end-of-life plans in light of these attacks. We remain committed to assisting our FTA customers, but strongly urge them to migrate to kiteworks as soon as possible,” Frank Balonis, Accellion’s chief information security officer, commented.

The company says it will honor FTA licenses that will expire past April 2021, and will continue to offer support to those customers for the duration of the licensing terms.

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