Light Reading

Is Comcast Ready for Big Hack Attack?

Mari Silbey
2/11/2014
50%
50%

How well would Comcast cope with another security invasion by computer hackers?

In a calculated attack last week, hacking group NullCrew FTS claims to have exploited a known vulnerability in at least 34 Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) servers throughout the US, potentially gaining access to subscriber payment information and account settings. Comcast said at the time that it had "no evidence to suggest any personal customer information was obtained in this incident."

Others, however, are not so sanguine about Comcast's ability to stave off security threats to its customers. In fact, at least one security expert is recommending that Comcast subscribers change their passwords to protect their accounts from cyber intruders.

"Of course, Comcast should be telling their customers to change their passwords. Even if there was just a chance of a breach, it's still best practice to change your passwords regularly," said cybersecurity analyst Jack Whitsitt. "Any company that is not yet being open with its customers about what's happening with regard to security events is doing themselves a disservice. What is also concerning is that, at least anecdotally, many people don't remember or realize they have an ISP email address and so, if someone were to use theirs, would they even realize it?"

Whitsitt was referring to the fact that all Comcast customers have a master email account, and that this account is used to manage subscriber settings and payment transactions for all cable services. After gaining access to that account, a hacker could use the master email address to share information and control of the account with other parties.

A reporter for ZDNet, Violet Blue, publicly scolded Comcast in a blog post late Sunday night for not being more aggressive in its response to last week's attack. Blue likened Comcast's response to an attempt by Snapchat to downplay its own battle with hackers just over a month ago.

In addition, Blue pointed out that NullCrew FTS, the group claiming credit for the Comcast attack, also claimed responsibility for a similar assault on BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) two weekends ago. So this may be the start of a hacking campaign against North American broadband service providers.

A Comcast spokesperson insisted, though, that the MSO has matters under control. "We take our customers' privacy and security very seriously," he said in an email response to Light Reading late Monday. "We have aggressively investigated this incident and have found no evidence to suggest any customer information was obtained.”

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
gconnery
50%
50%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/13/2014 | 1:28:14 AM
Re: Data
Agreed.  Anyone who has followed the details of the recent Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels hacking is aware of the normal progression...  at first the company minimizes the number of customers that were affected (only in store purchasers and a small number of them at bat) then that number is increased as forensic security goes to work and realizes more about what is going on (well, actually some online customers were affected too and now the total number affected is 3 times the earlier number, but hey its only email addresses and credit cards with no PINs) then more information is discovered and the numbers go up again (sorry that last count was too small, and oh, it looks like the encryption we used wasn't very good so the PINs were probably accessed too).  For Comcast to pretend up front that they know everything is fine when they don't really know anything at all is ridiculous. 


Good post Mari.  People should change their Comcast passwords.  I just did.  Have you paid your Comcast bill online with a credit card?  Pay attention to this story.
Ashu001
100%
0%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Lightning
2/11/2014 | 9:24:34 AM
Re: Data
KBode,

That itself should ring a Bell-That something is very fishy here.

Why is a Company which is usually very Transparent and upfront of its Upgrades,etc ;Staying Silent here?

Definitely merits a closer Look.

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
50%
50%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Lightning
2/11/2014 | 9:22:35 AM
Re: Data
kq4ym,

You have illustrated the Conrundrum that the Likes of Comcast has to face here very effectively.

While they do have a fiduciary responsibility towards their Clients to tell them the truth and reality of the situation at hand here they also have to be responsible towards their Owners and Shareholders and not do something which will damage their Brand Image irreperabably.

Its a Difficult Balancing Act to maintain for sure.

Regards

Ashish.
kq4ym
100%
0%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2014 | 7:59:28 AM
Re: Data
It did seem a bit curious when Comcast said no infomation was taken from customer data. On one hand, you would think they would be honest enought to provide the truth of the matter, on the other Comcast wants to protect it's brand and image. It will be no surprise though to eventually find that Comcast was not quite correct in it's assessment of the hack.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2014 | 7:32:11 AM
Data
The problem is I'm not sure Comcast knows if data was obtained. The NullCrew post didn't contain user data, but it explained how to obtain private data for a period of up to 24 hours. Comcast has been great in discussing network upgrades publicly and openly (like DNSSec) but was pretty quiet about this.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?