RealTime IT News

Airline Database Posted On Defacement

The U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command was defaced Monday morning, with presumably legitimate screenshots of database files from a major airline and bank.

Using a common gateway interface (CGI) hack, a defacing team calling themselves the Deceptive Duo posted the information on the U.S. Navy site to "ensure that the public is aware of the United States of America's lack of security."

At the bottom of the defaced Web page, several screenshots have been added, notably what seems to be a flight schedule and passenger manifest for a Midwest Express airline database using Microsoft Access in Windows XP Office.

"This situation proves that we are all still vulnerable even after 9/11," the DeceptiveDuo posted on their defacement. "Tighten the security before a foreign attack forces you to. At a time like this, we cannot risk the possibility of compromise by a foreign enemy," the Web page statement read.

It also appears the e-mail addresses and full names of Midwest Express customers have been compromised with the screenshot, which one security expert said, "seemed legitimate, and not just a manipulated image map."

Lisa Bailey, Midwest Express spokesperson, said the two hackers gained access to its Web-based user profile database, an area that lets customers update their personal information via a supposedly secure connection.

"Frankly, we're not sure how they got into it," Bailey told InternetNews.com. "We hired consultants two weeks ago to go over our entire operations, but they hadn't gotten to that (part) yet. We gave them a call this morning and they are now."

In an instant messaging interview with the two members, the Deceptive Duo said it was "quite easy" to break into the database of the airline and the Union Bank.

The two wouldn't explain how the bank database was accessible, but said they got into Midwest Express because of a relatively common vulnerability. The airline uses Microsoft SQL, which has a default password to login. It's seems the system administrator didn't change the password when the database was implemented and put on a live network. The two merely gained access to the corporate intranet and typed in the default password to get in the database.

In a preemptive nod to critics who say Web site defacing/hacking is not the way to publicize security breaches, the Deceptive Duo said they've already tried getting the affected companies attention in the past.

"We've tried subtle ways of informing the (admins of) vulnerable servers," one of the duo said. "It seems that it takes drastic means for others to realize the severity of this all. And I feel if we show the mass public, others will flex and strive to secure their servers as well. I mean, we see everyone pushing for stronger security, yet we are still witnessing breaches?"

"Unfortunately, it takes action to get a reaction," they concluded.