Identity theft protection firm 'exposes customers to phishing attacks'

LifeLock web authentication blunder leaves subscriber email addresses exposed

Leaky bucket

What happens when a company you trust to safeguard your identity actually ends up being the very organisation that leaves you vulnerable to attack?

That's what customers of identity theft protection company LifeLock appear to be discovering, after researchers learned that a flaw in the company's website could be leaving customers vulnerable to spearphishing attacks.

The flaw was first reported by security expert Brian Krebs, who was alerted to it by US researcher Nathan Reese. Reese discovered the flaw after clicking on an unsubscribe link in one of LifeLock's emails, which took him to a page where he could update his email marketing preferences.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The URL for this preference centre featured a unique subscriber key, a numerical identifier used by LifeLock to internally catalogue customers. By changing this value in the URL, Reese was able to access the preference centre for other LifeLock subscribers - which meant that he could also see their email addresses.

"It would be trivial to write a simple script that pulls down the email address of every LifeLock subscriber," Krebs said. "The design of the company's site suggests that whoever put it together lacked a basic understanding of website authentication and security."

"If I were a bad guy, I would definitely target your customers with a phishing attack because I know two things about them," said Reese. "That they're a LifeLock customer and that I have those customers' email addresses. That's a pretty sharp spear for my spearphishing right there. Plus, I definitely think the target market of LifeLock is someone who is easily spooked by the specter of cybercrime."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Readers may remember LifeLock as the company whose former CEO Todd Davis was so confident in its services that he ran numerous ads featuring his genuine social security number. He had his identity stolen at least 13 times.

LifeLock is now owned by security firm Symantec following a $2.3 billion acquisition in 2016, and as of January 2017, the company had more than 4.5 million subscribers. IT Pro has approached Symantec for comment.

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/355013/10-quick-tips-to-identifying-phishing-emails
Security

10 quick tips to identifying phishing emails

16 Mar 2020
Visit/business-strategy/mergers-and-acquisitions/354941/panda-security-to-be-acquired-by-watchguard
mergers and acquisitions

Panda Security to be acquired by WatchGuard

9 Mar 2020
Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355118/hpe-warns-of-critical-bug-that-destroys-ssds-after-40000-hours
Server & storage

HPE warns of 'critical' bug that destroys SSDs after 40,000 hours

26 Mar 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355138/zoom-beaming-ios-user-data-to-facebook-for-targeted-ads
video conferencing

Zoom beams iOS user data to Facebook for targeted ads

27 Mar 2020
Visit/software/355113/companies-offering-free-software-to-fight-covid-19
Software

These are the companies offering free software during the coronavirus crisis

25 Mar 2020
Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/355088/apple-lifts-iphone-purchase-restrictions
Mobile Phones

Apple lifts iPhone purchase restrictions

23 Mar 2020