- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2015

BitDefender, a Romanian software company that supplies Internet security products to hundreds of millions of clients both in the workplace and at home, admits hackers have made off with the usernames and passwords of an undisclosed number of customers.

An individual using the alias “detoxransome” claimed earlier this week that they had breached a system used by the security firm and  threatened on Twitter to leak a customer database unless compensated by the company to the tune of $15,000.

Login credentials compromised in the purported attack have since been published online, and representatives with the Romanian software maker now confirm the breach and say an investigation is underway.

Attackers didn’t hack BitDefender’s internal network, but had gone after a third-party application linked to its server, the company told Forbes on Friday. Nonetheless, a spokesperson for the firm acknowledged that “a vulnerability potentially enabled exposure of a few user accounts and passwords,” described as “very limited” in scope and representing “less than one per cent of our SMB customers,” or small- and medium-sized business clients.

“The issue was immediately resolved and, additional security measures were put in place in order to prevent it from reoccurring,” the spokesperson said. “This does not affect our consumer or enterprise customers. Our investigation revealed no other server or services were impacted.”

The breach was first reported by Travis Doering of the Hacker Film blog, who wrote on Tuesday this week that the hacker identifying as “detoxransome” had provided screenshots suggesting that they had in fact been able to log-in to the user accounts of certain BitDefender customers and even corporate employees.

According to the shadowy figure, user data pilfered in the attack was in cleartext and didn’t need to be cracked any further before being used.

“Yes they were unencrypted, I can prove it,” they said in an email to Forbes. “They were using Amazon Elastic Web cloud which is notorious for SSL problems,” referring to a form of web encryption.

The software company was founded in 2001 and last year was awarded by PC MAG for best anti-virus. The firm’s website states it “outsmart[s] the industry not only by maintaining the clearest view, the sharpest mind and the deepest insight, but by staying one step ahead of everybody else — be they black hats or fellow security experts.”

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