It seems more and more recently, Security companies are getting owned. The three notable ones in the past month or so have been Goatse Security, Ligatt, and HBGary. If you were not aware of who Goatse Security are, then you may remember the breach quite a while ago that exposed the email addresses of iPad owners. That breach was guys from Goatse Security. HBGary is an incident response company and Ligatt Security is a company that has gained more visibility in the Security World than it should.
I will look at the Goatse Security compromise first. A screenshot of the site after getting owned can be seen here. There is not a whole lot behind this other than it was done for the “lolz” and a “look what I did” kind of thing. HBGary and Ligatt are much more interesting.
The entire subject of Ligatt so much material to write about that it constitutes more time than I want to give Ligatt Security and Gregory D Evans. For all of the background on Ligatt/Mr. Evans please see Attrition.org. Now what happened recently was that the website Ligatt Leaks has gone live in an attempt to expose all of the things wrong with Mr. Evans. Some of the fallout from Ligatt Leaks is that someone had gotten into Ligatt’s mail server for several days, pulled down all of the mail and released all of it in a torrent.
HBGary is the most interesting out of the three I have noted. I had never heard of HBGary until one of their higher ups went public stating that he had found all of the personal information of the people that run Anonymous and would be selling it to the FBI. Not only did Anonymous rebuke the information stating that it was not correct but that HBGary was going to turn over innocent people to the FBI. This also angered Anonymous and so they took a page from the Ligatt book, got into HBGary’s mail server and released all of the emails stored there detailing their attack on Anonymous and how HBGary was planning to start targeting WikiLeaks donors.
Being a security shop and getting hacked is a pretty big blow to not only your ego but your reputation as well but it occurs all too often. Some further examples include Dan Kaminsky gets hacked, Kaspersky gets hacked, and Kevin Mitnick’s website hacked.
In my eyes, it comes down to the fact that you don’t write all of the software that you use (personally or for business). If you do not write all of the code yourself then you can not be 100% certain that there are no holes nor can you fully trust it (and even if you do write it 100% yourself, you are human and make mistakes). Being in the Security Industry also requires a sense of humility as there will always be someone who will be able to find a hole. The key is to not piss these people off and if they do find a hole, work with them to try and get it fixed. Do not paint a bullseye on your back and ask for you. Many people have done this and many have failed (see LifeLock CEO and StrongWebmail contest).
Having been keeping tabs on this industry for several years, I can tell you that there are plenty of people that I would not dream of pissing off because I know how good they are at attacking technologies and that I would not stand a chance against them. It just boils down to the fact that you need to assume everything is vulnerable and someone will get in.