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FireEye Says Network Secure After Analyst Accounts Compromised

On July 31, 2017, a hacker claimed to have been deep inside Mandiant’s infrastructure.

On July 31, 2017, a hacker claimed to have been deep inside Mandiant’s infrastructure. FireEye, which bought Mandiant for $1 billion in January 2014, responded: “Our investigation continues, but thus far we have found no evidence FireEye or Mandiant systems were compromised.”

Yesterday FireEye published its preliminary findings. “The Attacker did not breach, compromise or access our corporate network, despite multiple failed attempts to do so.” Investigations will continue, but “we do not anticipate any significant new discoveries,” wrote Steven Booth, FireEye VP & CSO.

Booth explains that Adi Peretz, whom FireEye describes as the ‘Victim’, had some personal on-line accounts compromised by the unknown Attacker; but neither the FireEye corporate network nor the Victim’s personal or corporate devices were either breached or compromised. 

All of the data released by the Attacker came from the online accounts, including Peretz’ LinkedIn, Hotmail and OneDrive accounts. This data included three FireEye corporate documents, which the Attacker obtained from the Victim’s personal online accounts. “All of the other documents released by the Attacker were previously publicly available or were screen captures created by the Attacker.” writes Booth.”

The interesting part of FireEye’s account of the data loss is not stated, but can be inferred. “We confirmed the Victim’s passwords and/or credentials to his personal social media and email accounts were among those exposed in at least eight publicly disclosed third party breaches (including LinkedIn) dating back to 2016 and earlier.”

But while LinkedIn and Hotmail have both been subject to past breaches, there is no such public account of a OneDrive breach. If there has been no OneDrive breach, there are two implications: first, Peretz shared his credentials across multiple accounts; and secondly, he did not routinely and regularly change them. Both should be highly recommended. (SecurityWeek has reached out to Microsoft for information on any previous OneDrive breach.)

We can also assume that Peretz did not automatically use two-factor authentication where it was available. “We worked with the Victim to secure his personal online accounts, including implementing multi-factor authentication where possible,” writes Booth. Peretz, it would seem, did not practice strong password hygiene for his own accounts.

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SecurityWeek reached out to Steven Booth for confirmation on this, and to ask whether FireEye staff are or will be subject to specific corporate policy rules over password use and management. We received a brief statement from the communications team: “Normally we’d be happy to comment on something like this, but in this case we can’t add additional comment to the blog post.”

FireEye’s corporate security is clearly stronger. Although the Attacker claimed to have gained access to the corporate network, the investigation identified only failed login attempts. We can expect that staff practices will also be stronger in future.

Written By

Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.

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