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UK's Ministry of Defence Breached With Easy SQL Injection

A group of activist hackers calling themselves NullCrew have targeted the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), and used a simple SQL Injection attack to plunder thousands of email addresses and passwords.

According to the NullCrew disclosure, the MOD’s webmaster made a terrible mistake, as the group was able to life more than 3,000 email address and password combinations from a database by using an “easy as [expletive] SQL Injection.”

“You may criticize us on the simplicity of the vulnerability. But if you can get so much useful data so easily, why wouldn't you,” the group asked.

In addition to leaking the email addresses and passwords, the group also posted the details of the /etc/passwd file on the server.

When it comes to data leaks, NullCrew has been highly active. Last month, the same group was responsible for a breach on a server used by Orange, one of the UK’s largest mobile operators. Initially, they only posted the database schema taken from one of the company’s databases, but a short time later, actual data was published, including internal database host information, along with the corresponding passwords.

In September, in an effort to get the attention of the university and the media, the group published a list of some 4,000 names and a hand full of passwords, said to have been taken from the Cambridge University Press.

Further, they released email addresses and names taken from Sony’s mobile division. The data was taken from servers that manage customers in China and Taiwan, and maintained by a third-party, Sony said.

In the same week that Sony was targeted, the group attacked commercial and government websites in Cambodia, after police in the Southwest Asian country arrested Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay. According to published accounts, they hit websites maintained by the Ministry of Public Works, the Cambodian armed forces, and Cambodia's Institute of Standards.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.