CRYPTOGRAPHY OUTFIT RSA Security has admitted that hackers used SecurID data stolen from its systems to attack a US defence contractor, and said it will replace the affected tokens for some of its customers.
In an open letter, RSA executive chairman Art Coveillo said stolen data lifted back in March was used in an attack on Lockheed Martin, which supplies the US government. Fortunately Lockheed Martin said that no data was compromised in the incident.
The SecurID heist has also been linked to attacks on two other US military contractors, Northrop Grumman and L-3 Communications.
Coveillo said in the letter, "Certain characteristics of the attack on RSA indicated that the perpetrator's most likely motive was to obtain an element of security information that could be used to target defence secrets and related IP, rather than financial gain, [personal identifying information], or public embarrassment."
"For this reason, we worked with government agencies and companies in the defence sector to replace their tokens on an accelerated timetable as an additional precautionary measure. We will continue these efforts."
The security breach is a major embarrassment for RSA, which is one of the most trusted security firms in the world. Its two-factor authentication tokens are used by many large multi-national companies for generating passcodes to access sensitive systems and data. It was feared hackers got access to the algorithms that generate the passcodes, but the company hasn't revealed whether or not that was the case.
RSA Security might face a large bill to replace SecurID tokens for its customers, most of which are firms "with concentrated user bases typically focused on protecting intellectual property and corporate networks." µ