Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Renato Marinho

SANS ISC: Microsoft web site compromise and partner security SANS ISC InfoSec Forums

Special Webcast: What you need to know about the crypt32.dll vulnerability. Register Now

Sign Up for Free!   Forgot Password?
Log In or Sign Up for Free!
Microsoft web site compromise and partner security

There’s been a lot of discussion over the last few hours regarding a Microsoft website that apparently got defaced. While the domain name has been taken offline, the defacement itself was rather obvious. Users browsing the page were shown a typical “0wn3d by” message with a picture taken of Bill Gates during what was probably his least pleasant visit to Belgium in 1998.

The affected site displayed a remotely hosted image and the attacker’s nickname:

body onload="document.body.innerHTML='/p align=center//font size=7/Own3d by Cyber-Terrorist//font//img src=!/billgates.jpg//p align=center//font size=7>--Cyb3rT--//font///p/';"//noscript/

The affected site was a subpage of where users could select a distribution license for the Internet Explorer Administration Kit. The server isn’t, however, located on the Microsoft network, but at a hosting partner. In addition, the source of the page mentions another third party as being responsible for the site’s development.

While the brand impact of a low-level compromise like this is negligible, it does bring up some hard questions. In this day and age of increasingly popular out and co-sourcing, how do you ensure your partners are able to meet your security requirements ? Reputation is a good starting point, while supplier audit and compliance with relevant security standards can complete the picture. Both should be part of any outsourcing RFP.

After all, while this may be a small time issue, web site defacements have in the recent past often involved malicious code distribution. Being unavailable and looking a bit silly is one thing to reflect on a brand. Being involved in the distribution of a banking fraud trojan quite another.

Maarten Van Horenbeeck


158 Posts

Sign Up for Free or Log In to start participating in the conversation!