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Qualys Breach: Ransomware Gang Strikes Infosecurity Firm

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Cybersecurity company Qualys has suffered a data breach after hackers exploited a zero-day flaw in its Accelion FTA server, becoming the latest known victim of a data breach at enterprise firewall vendor Accellion.

The breach has already affected numerous companies including, most notably, retail giant Kroger, law firm Jones Day, and the state of Washington.

The company said last Wednesday that the security incident did not have any “operational impact,” but “unauthorised access” had been obtained to an Accellion FTA server used by the company. 

Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA) is enterprise-grade software used for file transfers.

In December, it was discovered that the Clop ransomware group was exploiting vulnerabilities in the legacy software to extort organisations, threatening to leak sensitive data stolen from vulnerable servers unless a ransom was paid.

Qualys has become the latest victim, admitting this week that it used the software “to transfer information as part of our customer support system [in] a segregated DMZ environment”. However, the company says the incident hasn’t affected Qualys production environments, codebase, of customer data hosted on the Qualys Cloud Platform.

Qualys said it had been using Accellion’s FTA to transfer encrypted files associated with its customer support system that had been manually uploaded to its systems. The company claimed that it had deployed the Accellion server in a completely segregated DMZ environment on its network that was separate from systems hosting and supporting the company’s core Qualys Cloud Platform.

While hasn’t yet revealed any further details about the incident, Clop ransomware operators claimed to have stolen data from Qualys and shared screenshots of stolen files on its leak site as proof of the hack. The leaked data includes invoices, purchase orders, tax documents, and scan reports.

Qualys said it has “notified the limited number of customers impacted by this unauthorised access.”

“As a security company, we continue to look for ways to enhance security and provide the strongest protections for our customers,” the company said. “Qualys is strongly committed to the security of its customers and their data, and we will notify them should relevant information become available.”

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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