ICANN Targeted in Spear Phishing Attack

icannICANN is investigating a recent intrusion into their systems.

We believe a “spear phishing” attack was initiated in late November 2014. It involved email messages that were crafted to appear to come from our own domain being sent to members of our staff. The attack resulted in the compromise of the email credentials of several ICANN staff members.

In early December 2014 ICANN also discovered that the compromised credentials were used to access other ICANN systems besides email:

  • The Centralized Zone Data System (czds.icann.org)
    The attacker obtained administrative access to all files in the CZDS. This included copies of the zone files in the system, as well as information entered by users such as name, postal address, email address, fax and telephone numbers, username, and password. Although the passwords were stored as salted cryptographic hashes, we have deactivated all CZDS passwords as a precaution. Users may request a new password at czds.icann.org. We suggest that CZDS users take appropriate steps to protect any other online accounts for which they might have used the same username and/or password. ICANN is providing notices to the CZDS users whose personal information may have been compromised.
  • The ICANN GAC Wiki (gacweb.icann.org)
    Public information, the members-only index page and one individual user’s profile page was viewed. No other non-public content was viewed.

Unauthorized access was also obtained to user accounts on two other systems, the ICANN Blog (blog.icann.org) and the ICANN WHOIS (whois.icann.org) information portal. No impact was found to either of these systems.

Based on our investigation to date, we are not aware of any other systems that have been compromised, and we have confirmed that this attack does not impact any IANA-related systems.

Earlier this year, ICANN began a program of security enhancements in order to strengthen information security for all ICANN systems. We believe these enhancements helped limit the unauthorized access obtained in the attack. Since discovering the attack, we have implemented additional security measures.

We are providing information about this incident publicly, not just because of our commitment to openness and transparency, but also because sharing of cybersecurity information helps all involved assess threats to their systems.

ICANN asked all Centralized Zone Data System users to change their passwords in what resulted in requiring to assign the most complicated password ever.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

2 comments

  1. It doesn’t matter how complicated a password if one just hands it over to a spear phisher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.