Thursday, September 10, 2009

SQL Injection Exposes Sensitive Details on Military Personnel

Via The Register UK -

Programming errors on a website that helps commuters carpool to work are exposing sensitive information of workers for hundreds of employers in Southern California, including at least one military installation.

The bugs, discovered last month on, allow hackers access to a variety of personal information, including individuals' names, home addresses, phone numbers, the times they commute to and from work, and in some cases employee numbers. The SQL injection vulnerability remained active at time of writing, more than two weeks after it was reported to a developer who runs the website.

"There's sensitive data there that definitely shouldn't be on the internet," said Kristian Hermansen, a security researcher who identified the vulnerability after receiving an email from his employer saying he was required by law to provide the information. "The reason I am bringing this to your attention is that the issue is not being fixed by the admins and most companies don't even know that their employees' personal and corporate information, like employee ID [number and] login ID, may have been compromised."

The form Hermansen was required to complete asked for a wealth of personal information, including his typical work hours, the times he begins work on each workday, and his employee ID. "The state can impose monetary penalties on companies that fail to complete this survey," an email sent by Hermansen's employer warned.

The website is a joint project developed by transit authorities in five regional governments in Southern California. Individuals enter their work and home addresses and the time they leave from each, and the website pairs them up with others with home and office locations and commute times that are suitable for carpools. Hermansen said virtually all of the data is accessible to anyone who knows how to exploit the vulnerability.

His tests revealed that at least one military institution was among the employers that used the website. The Register agreed to withhold the institution' identity because of the potential sensitivity of the matter.

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