theDocumentId => 746341 United Nations' Websites Besieged by Data Leaks, ...

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.

(Source: UN)
(Source: UN)

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
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-34432
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-27
In Eclipse Mosquitto versions 2.07 and earlier, the server will crash if the client tries to send a PUBLISH packet with topic length = 0.
CVE-2021-20399
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-27
IBM Qradar SIEM 7.3.0 to 7.3.3 Patch 8 and 7.4.0 to 7.4.3 GA is vulnerable to an XML External Entity Injection (XXE) attack when processing XML data. A remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability to expose sensitive information or consume memory resources. IBM X-Force ID: 196073.
CVE-2021-20562
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-27
IBM Sterling B2B Integrator Standard Edition 5.2.0.0 through 5.2.6.5_3 and 6.1.0.0 through 6.1.0.2 vulnerable to cross-site scripting. This vulnerability allows users to embed arbitrary JavaScript code in the Web UI thus altering the intended functionality potentially leading to credentials disclos...
CVE-2020-18428
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-26
tinyexr commit 0.9.5 was discovered to contain an array index error in the tinyexr::SaveEXR component, which can lead to a denial of service (DOS).
CVE-2020-18430
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-26
tinyexr 0.9.5 was discovered to contain an array index error in the tinyexr::DecodeEXRImage component, which can lead to a denial of service (DOS).