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Cisco Says Vegas Conference Attendees' Information Was Leaked 97

Julie188 writes "Thousands of people got a nasty e-mail this morning from Cisco. The company was warning people that its attendee registration database for its Cisco Live 2010 event was hacked. Cisco Live 2010 is the company's annual user conference, held last week in Las Vegas with an estimated 18,000 in attendance. If it's not embarrassing enough for a company that sells security gear to get hacked, the e-mail also went out to people who didn't register and didn't attend the event. That raises questions about exactly what database was pried open and how bad the damage is. Cisco's e-mail said the hole was quickly closed and only business-card type information was exposed."
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Cisco Says Vegas Conference Attendees' Information Was Leaked

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:27PM (#32843632)

    the e-mail also went out to people who didn't register and didn't attend the event.

    That's even more embarassing than a security breach -- it's a routing error. From Cisco.

    • Re:Routing error (Score:5, Insightful)

      by skids ( 119237 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:42PM (#32843774) Homepage

      Cisco's customers will not find bureaucratic bungling from them to be anything out of the ordinary, trust me, they are very used to it.

    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      If anyone has a secret collation of all the email lists used in mass-emailings, it's Cisco.

      They also know how often you accidentally use the default ".com" instead of ".org".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM ( 157947 )

        For a long time, you could retrieve all of Cisco's customer data (from people who entered data on their web site) from just changing "submit" to "retreive" in the URL. Haven't tried it recently, but they exposed names, addresses and emails by the thousands for years without doing anything to correct it.

        Never gave me a good impression of Cisco...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zippthorne ( 748122 )

      Perhaps Cisco's purchase of linksys was more like HP's "purchase" of compaq...

  • TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:29PM (#32843650)

    We hope you have returned home safely and are back into your normal routine after a busy week at Cisco Live 2010.

    We are contacting you because on the final afternoon of Cisco Live, one of our vendors identified an unexpected attempt to access attendee information through ciscolive2010.com. The ability to access this information was quickly removed, but not before some conference listings were accessed.

    Cisco Live takes the security of attendee information very seriously and immediately elevated this matter to our chief security officer. His team completed a thorough review and as a result we believe your registration information – specifically your Cisco Live badge number, name, title, company address and email address– was accessed. No other information was available or accessed.

    Although these details are commonly accessed by our World of Solutions partners and often freely provided by Cisco Live attendees, we felt it was our responsibility to inform you as quickly as possible. As we cannot yet confirm the information was accessed by an authorized Cisco Live partner, we encourage you to consider the appropriate precautions to protect against any unwanted email.

    Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that may result and feel free to contact us directly at support@ciscolive2010.com if you have any additional questions or information.

    We hope you enjoyed your Cisco Live experience and we look forward to welcoming you to Las Vegas in 2011.

    • So it wasn't their fault but it kind of it because they outsourced the solution. Also the data made public is no worse then what gets posted on Facebook. Non-story for the most part.
    • AC's working for Cisco now???

  • so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#32843666) Homepage

    I can't think of anything less important than seeing phonebook-style data made public. Losing credit card numbers or bank account numbers for large groups is bad; losing email addresses is not.

    • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by foo1752 ( 555890 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:44PM (#32843800) Homepage

      Losing credit card numbers or bank account numbers for large groups is bad; losing email addresses is not.

      Losing email addresses is not AS BAD as losing more sensitive information, but it is still not good. I, for one, wouldn't be happy about that information being exposed.

      • Re:so what? (Score:5, Funny)

        by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:56PM (#32845068) Homepage
        I agree. I can't even imagine what would happen if anyone found out I had attended a Cisco conference. I would be a social pariah. My children wouldn't be able to look me in the eye. My wife would leave me. The dog would run away. Even my cats would look at me even more disdainfully than they usually do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Assuming they weren't arm-twisted into it, I'd say it's cool that they notified everybody.

    • Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FranTaylor ( 164577 )

      Do you really think Cisco is going to be happy if their customer list falls into the hands of their competitors? If this data has profile info like "How much Cisco equipment have you bought in the last year" then it could be VERY VERY useful to their competitors.

      • "How much Cisco equipment have you bought in the last year" then it could be VERY VERY useful to their competitors.

        How would that data be VERY VERY useful?

        (I'm not asking to argue, I'm asking to understand.)

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Dear MobileTatsu-NJG, we noticed some information of yours on a website we are monitoring due to the Cisco data loss.

          We can offer BETTER security cheaper. Our services have never been compromised. You will be able to trust again. Guaranteed.

          • Okay, that's kinda useful. What about 'really really useful'?

            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by leptons ( 891340 )
              you are an idiot
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                I thought 'really really useful' would have a more interesting meaning than "SPAM PEOPLE WHO'VE ALREADY PURCHASED THE PRODUCTS THEY NEED". My bad.

              • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward

                you are an idiot

                Here on the internet we say "your an idiot". Please try to keep up.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Threni ( 635302 )

          It's useful if, for example, their competitors want to let everyone know that they buy stolen lists of email addresses to spam/cold call people with.

        • How better to sell a product, than to know what the customer is currently buying?

          • How better to sell a product, than to know what the customer is currently buying?

            Umm just about any way would be better. "Hi! Want to buy our cheaper stuff?" "Shoulda asked me last week before I bought this stuff."

      • "Business card like info"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mikkeles ( 698461 )

      The fact that supposedly secure information was accessed is the main story. As in: they broke into your house and only managed to get a stuffed toy (this time).

    • by hmmm ( 115599 )

      That all depends on how the information was leaked/stolen. The "how" could be more important to Cisco's reputation than the "what".

  • by Extremus ( 1043274 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#32843668)
    They could stay quiet about it.
    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      They're a California company, aren't they? Certain breaches must be disclosed under California state law, so their merry band of lawyers probably advised them to make this public. (Yes, they could still stay quiet about it, but...)

  • by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:40PM (#32843748) Journal
    It was just a website hack into a low-security-data backend database. It's not like someone actually subverted any of their products.
    • If any gear was subverted I doubt CISCO would admit it.

      • That you are correct in, of course.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That assumption is incorrect [cisco.com].

        Read the source material. Cisco doesn't like full disclosure, but they are serious about tracking, fixing, and then informing. They mention welcoming contributions from 'independent researchers' several times in their docs, maintain multiple related mailing lists, and provide upload facilities for suspect firmware.

        Hmmm [cisco.com]:"Cisco Security Advisory: Hard-Coded SNMP Community Names in Cisco Industrial Ethernet 3000 Series Switches Vulnerability: For Public Release 2010 July 07 1600

  • Honest honey! I was no where near Vegas that week!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      What happens in Vegas, will be leaked via email a week later... not to mention via facebook and twitter (not myspace because noone uses it anymore)... or when that stripper you married shows up on your porch.
    • Wait a minute . . . we never actioned SAID that it happened during a week. GRAB HIM!!!!

  • by mulgar ( 1432387 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:41PM (#32843770)
    Can someone paste the header to see if the email from "Cisco" is legit or fraudulent? I attended Cisco Live and received no such email, and people who didn't attend received the mail, the Cisco Live team has a database of everyone who registered for the event so if the email was legit I would have expected to see it get sent to the correct audience?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's legit, I saw your info in a few of the dumps.

    • by mulgar ( 1432387 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:54PM (#32843880)
      So I'm a Cisco employee who attended Cisco Live as a speaker last week, I just checked with a contact (who sends emails out from support@ciscolive.com) and they are not aware of any of this - which leads me to think the email is faked. If someone can provide the original email header so we can investigate further that would be appreciated... my contact is checking into this further I will update if I find out anything else...
      • I attended last week and have not received any emails of this type.

      • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:10PM (#32844014)
        The TAC called, and unless you can set up a second Live 2010 conference and reproduce the problem they're going to close the ticket.
      • by mulgar ( 1432387 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:29PM (#32844228)
        Okay, as far as I can tell from my Cisco Live team contacts the email is legit and was sent from Cisco, but I don't have any further information on the leaked data as I'm not involved there so I won't speculate - there is a team investigating this and I'll leave it up to them to provide further details. The only details I can provide is pretty much already covered in the email sent out: “Cisco has been made aware that some Cisco Live registration information may have been accessible to an outside party through the conference website. Our first priority is the security of our attendees and we take their privacy very seriously. The ability to access this information was immediately removed and the matter was elevated to Cisco’s chief security officer for immediate review. Our review showed that affected information is strictly limited to the name, title, affiliation, and email address of some Cisco Live attendees. No additional personal information – such as credit card data -- was compromised. As the affected information is limited to data that is commonly available via badge swipes onsite and/or the exchange of business cards, we do not believe this presents any threat to our attendees in terms of identity theft. The impact will likely be limited to unsolicited email communication. We are currently reaching out to those individuals to keep them informed and offer our apologies for any inconvenience.” – Cisco spokesperson.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is good that a company which got hacked informs possible collateral victims. Yes, at first glance it appears to be particularly embarrassing for a company to get hacked if it advertises to security conscious people -- until you realize that there is no perfect security and every worthwhile target eventually gets hacked. How you deal with it when it happens is what separates the pros from the amateurs.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      and it is very likely that they were not even the ones whos systems got hacked. From what I saw, it was the company who was running the venue, wingateweb.com( owner of ciscolive2010.com ) and not Cisco. I'll bet many of those posting about how bad Cisco is don't dare look under their beds at night. boo! lol

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:49PM (#32843832)

    the e-mail also went out to people who didn't register and didn't attend the event.

    . . . I met a man, who wasn't there.

    He wasn't there again today . . . I think he's from the CIA . . .

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:06PM (#32843980) Homepage

    Cisco collected that information so they and their "partners" could spam you: "... we believe your registration information - specifically your Cisco Live badge number, name, title, company address and email address- was accessed. No other information was available or accessed. Although these details are commonly accessed by our World of Solutions partners".... Their "partner locator" [cisco.com] finds 16601 partners in the United States, 3241 in China, 998 in Russia, 427 in Romania. 330 in Nigeria, and 12 in Afghanistan. So just about anybody who wants that data could get it.

    They're just irked that someone who didn't pay for their mailing list might spam you.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      yo, this is SOP for these conferences and anyone with a clue knows that all the vendors at the show can have access to the attendee list if they pay the $$ for it. They can also rent machines from the conference organizers which lets attendees cards be scanned at the booth and that list is provided to the vendor either on the spot or via a data dump.

      I'm afraid of the boogie-man just as much as the next guy but this stuff people are drumming up here is nothing but a witch hunt. There's nothing here so stop
    • by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:09PM (#32845202) Homepage

      Cisco's entire worldwide partner ecosystem != Cisco Live! World of Solutions, which was a vendor booth exhibition at Cisco Live in Las Vegas last week.

      I'm not sure how many partners were in World of Solutions but there were perhaps 200. Companies like EMC, APC, CA, etc. You want a light-up rubber ball or blinking shot glass or whatever shiny object they were giving away at their booths, you let them scan your badge. Some had booth babes running around with scanners, which was fairly effective at a conference where 95% of the attendees are men.

      Every conference I've ever attended has worked this way.

  • Hmmm. A "nasty" email that doesn't seem very nasty. A "data breach" that released data that every business partner has access to. "Julie188", Julie Bort ...

    This isn't a non-event being blown into a mountain by a trade rag that wants web hits, is it?

  • does NOT stay in Vegas
  • ...damn lies, and sales opportunities.
  • This is going to make it much harder for them to now push security at the conference. Plus they better have an all hands meeting with all the staff running the conference to make sure everyone's story is straight that could be terrible Public Relations for Cisco. They could turn this around and have a session about the compromised device and explain how they fixed it and give tips to the customer to avoid having the same situation happen to them. We will see how Cisco handles this.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#32844668)
    these conferences always look like they are run by someone other than the company or companies owning the show. For the Cisco Live 2010 conference, Wingateweb.com ran the registration or it looks like they did because they own the domain( ciscolive2010.com ). When I looked up who owned that domain and then looked at their website( wingateweb.com ) and this is what it says:

    Trusted Technology
    World-class Delivery

    Event organizers around the world rely on WingateWeb’s event management software and services to deliver the world’s top conferences, conventions and trade shows. Optimize your strategy, maximize your audience and deliver perfect events every time with WingateWeb.

    So before people blame Cisco for someone getting into the database and getting attendee data dumps you might want to ask who really was to blame. And FYI, very often the on site software for registering and checking in is not only run on Windows laptops but they are very poorly done. Way to many times redundant information was requested and don't even try to use tab completion for city, state, etc, tab navigation, or the space bar for button activation. I would not doubt that many many other conference databases have been hacked but this Cisco conference hack was found out because they are very security minded and looked into it.

    • So before people blame Cisco for someone getting into the database and getting attendee data dumps you might want to ask who really was to blame.

      Cisco is to blame for contracting an incompetent.

      It's their conference, it's their fault.

      What's next, BP's CEO bears no responsibility for the spill? Er, wait...

      • by Locutus ( 9039 )
        yo Francis, when we see that Cisco knew what was going on and continued to let it happen then you can go and blame them for who was running the event registration.

        Regarding the BP comment, have you not read anything of how a BP employee was on the DWH and was directing operations to use unsafe measures? The CEO can say all he wants that he's not to blame but his direct employees caused the problems. But of course, it also appears they hired contractors who sidesteps minor things like BOP systems failures an
  • what happens when you leave the root login as "root" on the database. I mean Cisco and security? LOL. Oh and Hayley Williams was "hacked" too.

  • What happens in Vegas *doesn't* stay in Vegas?
  • it was a gamble.

Old programmers never die, they just hit account block limit.