After hack, RSA offers to replace SecureID tokens

Acknowledges that Lockheed Martin hackers used data taken from a March breach at RSA.

In an acknowledgement of the severity of its recent computer compromise, RSA Security said Monday that it will replace SecureID tokens for any customer that asks.

Customers have been left wondering whether to trust RSA's security tokens since March, when the company acknowledged that it had been hacked and issued a vague warning to its customers. Then, two weeks ago, government contractor Lockheed Martin was reportedly forced to pull access to its virtual private network after hackers compromised the SecureID technology.

In a letter sent to customers Monday, RSA confirmed that the Lockheed Martin incident was related to SecureID. Information "taken from RSA in March had been used as an element of an attempted broader attack on Lockheed Martin," RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello [cq] said in the letter.

Coviello said the company remains "highly confident in the RSA SecureID product," but acknowledged that the recent Lockheed Martin attack and general concerns over hacking, "may reduce some customers' overall risk tolerance."

In addition to offering to replace SecureID tokens, the company is also offering customers its technologies such as its RSA Transaction Monitoring service, used by some banks to block fraudulent online transactions. Banks with a large number of consumers already using the SecureID tokens may find it difficult to deploy new tokens, so this gives them another way of locking down security an RSA spokesman said Monday.

Every sixty seconds SecureID tokens generate a second six-digit number that users can type in along with their passwords in order to access computer systems. This second means of logging in keeps networks safe even when passwords get stolen, but now the security of RSA's technology is in doubt.

Security experts believe that the hackers who broke into RSA now have the seed numbers required to generate phoney SecureID tokens, but they would need a second attack in order to figure out which particular token is used by their victim. That appears to be what happened at Lockheed Martin, although the government contractor has declined to comment on the incident. Lockheed Martin spokespeople could not be reached for comment on Monday.

By issuing new tokens, RSA can use new seed numbers that are unknown to the hackers. EMC's security division says it has shipped about 40 million [m] of the tokens to date.

The company isn't saying how much it expects the cyber attacks to cost, but even before the SecureID replacement program, it was expensive. For its most recent financial quarter, ended March 31, EMC said the RSA group's gross margins dropped from 67.6 percent to 54.1 percent, year-over-year. In its quarterly earnings report, EMC blamed this downturn on the attack.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags emcfinanceindustry verticalsrsa security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?