& cplSiteName &

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.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
BBWF 2016: Orange Poland's Next-Gen Central Office

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Introduction to Orange Poland's legacy next-generation central office solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Viavi at OFC 2017

3|28|17   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief Craig Matsumoto reports from the Viavi booth at OFC and gets an update on the 400G testing market from Tom Fawcett, VP and GM of LAB & Production. At this year's event, Viavi won three awards from Lightwave magazine and showcased an interoperability demo with Ethernet Alliance and Finisar.
LRTV Custom TV
Connecting the Entire Home With DOCSIS 3.1

3|28|17   |   3:58:   |   (0) comments


Hitron Technologies had the first cable modem certified for DOCSIS 3.1 and already has over 120,000 units in the field. Greg Fisher, CTO of Hitron, provides an update on his company's rollout of new gateways and why he thinks DOCSIS 3.1 will continue to drive value for operators into 2017 and beyond.
LRTV Interviews
Amazon Prime's Hand of God Creator on Producing for OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ben Watkins is the creator, writer and producer of Hand of God, a series on Amazon Prime. At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, he explained the advantages of producing for an OTT platform versus traditional TV.
LRTV Custom TV
How Metrological Keeps Cable Customers on the Couch

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


Metrological offers an open source solution that reduces the time it takes cable operators to integrate OTT content into the linear television viewing experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The ABC of OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, Ben Watkins, creator of Amazon Prime's Hand of God show, explained how producing content for an OTT platform differs from producing content for traditional TV.
Shades of Ray
Why Analytics Is the Tech World's Digital Glue

3|27|17   |   02:20   |   (0) comments


It was obvious at the massive annual CeBIT enterprise tech trade show that the foundation for tech innovation right now is real-time analytics.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
AMS-IX & Huawei's OSN 902

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shows how its OSN 902 platform helps the Amsterdam Internet exchange to connect the world using multiplexing.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Smart Energy Innovation Center

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In Nuremberg, Huawei showcases its latest capabilities in the digitalization of Internet resources, network infrastructure and intelligence at its Smart Energy Innovation Center.
Valley Wonk
OFC & Hyperscale: A Good Mix?

3|24|17   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Cloud and telecom players want different types of equipment for their networks, as the chatter at OFC reveals.
LRTV Custom TV
Etisalat on NFV Journey

3|24|17   |   10:37   |   (0) comments


Etisalat is a service provider that prides itself on bringing innovative technologies to the markets it serves. It was one of the first operators to implement 3G and leads the pack in fiber penetration. Now, Esmaeel Al Hammadi, Etisalat's SVP of Network Development, explains the operator's journey to virtualization, beginning with the network core, as well as the ...
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
WiCipedia: Supergirls, No More Excuses & Media Monitoring
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 3/24/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Working From Home Doesn't Work for Everyone Click Here
You shouldn't nap on your keyboard, for instance.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.