Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security //

Data Leakage

9/25/2018
12:10 PM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

United Nations' Websites Besieged by Data Leaks, Exposed Files

In time for the UN's General Assembly this week, two reports find that the United Nations' websites have been leaking data for months, thanks to unsecured files and applications.

The UN is getting a serious diplomatic lesson in data leakage this week.

As the United Nations General Assembly continues this week in New York City, a pair of reports from different security researchers finds that a number of the UN's websites have been leaking data for some time, thanks to exposed files and poor security practices.

The first report finds that the UN accidentally published some sensitive materials, which include passwords and technical papers, after someone misconfigured some popular, web-based applications used to manage workflow, including Trello, Jira, as well as Google Docs.

Kushagra Pathak, an independent security researcher, found the misconfigured files, which were available to anyone with the proper link. After first finding more than 60 of these files exposed in August, Pathak alerted officials within the UN and then shared the information with The Intercept on September 24.

As part of his research, Pathak found several Trello boards exposed to the wider Internet and through those he then found Jira tickets, as well as Google Docs, with each gradually exposing more and more sensitive information.

For example, according to The Intercept, Pathak found:

One public Trello board used by the developers of Humanitarian Response and ReliefWeb, both websites run by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, included sensitive information like internal task lists and meeting notes. One public card from the board had a PDF, marked "for internal use only," that contained a map of all U.N. buildings in New York City.

Although Pathak contacted UN security officials about the exposed files and applications, a representative told him that their security team could not reproduce the vulnerability. After being contacted by The Intercept, the files were then taken down, according to the report.

Following that report, Mohamed Baset, a security researcher with Seekurity, which conducts penetration testing, published a blog post detailing how he found a vulnerability in a WordPress-based UN website that exposed resumes and job applications sent to the organization.

After conducting some vulnerability testing, Baset and his team found a portal where applicants could upload their resumes if they were seeking a job with one of the organization's numerous divisions.

"Regardless that the application is not enforcing HSTS [HTTP Strict Transport Security], which means the application is supporting both HTTP and HTTPS versions, an MITM attacker would get your CV file while uploading it -- the application is vulnerable to local path disclosure," according to the September 24 blog post.

Overall, Baset claims that "thousands" of resumes, along with personal data, could have been exposed for months. As with the other case, Baset claims that he contacted UN officials but that he didn't hear back before writing his post.

In his blog post, Baset notes that this particular vulnerability is easy to patch. He recommends that anyone running WordPress-based websites should upgrade to the latest version and use security plug-ins to harden the site.

These types of data leaks are becoming more and more common as businesses and other organizations move toward cloud infrastructure to support their IT footprint, as well as investing more in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and web-based applications. In the past month, researchers found an exposed MongoDB belonging to Veeam that exposed millions of records. The database was hosted by the company on Amazon Web Services. (See Unsecured Veeam Database Reportedly Exposed Millions of Records.)

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cloud Security Threats for 2021
Or Azarzar, CTO & Co-Founder of Lightspin,  12/3/2020
Why Vulnerable Code Is Shipped Knowingly
Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer, Veracode,  11/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-27772
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in coders/bmp.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned int`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but could po...
CVE-2020-27773
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/gem-private.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type `unsigned char` or division by zero. This would most likely lead to an impact to appli...
CVE-2020-28950
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
The installer of Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool (KART) prior to KART 4.0 Patch C was vulnerable to a DLL hijacking attack that allowed an attacker to elevate privileges during installation process.
CVE-2020-27774
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/statistic.c. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of a too large shift for 64-bit type `ssize_t`. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but co...
CVE-2020-27775
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
A flaw was found in ImageMagick in MagickCore/quantum.h. An attacker who submits a crafted file that is processed by ImageMagick could trigger undefined behavior in the form of values outside the range of type unsigned char. This would most likely lead to an impact to application availability, but c...