Adobe hack actually affected 38m, not 3m

Adobe reveals hacker break-in affected millions more users than first thought

Reuters Shona Ghosh
30 Oct 2013

Adobe has redone its sums and found hackers stole data from more than 38 million customers from its network, not three million as originally calculated.

When Adobe reported an attack on its networks earlier this month, it originally said that attackers took took credit card information and other data from 2.9 million customers' accounts.

At the time, it also reported said that hackers had accessed an undisclosed number of Adobe IDs and encrypted passwords that were stored in a separate database. Now, it appears that 38 million records of active users were stolen from that second database, and many more records of inactive users may have been accessed, too.

The company also said earlier this month that the attackers stole source code to three other products: Acrobat, ColdFusion and ColdFusion Builder. However, now it appears more applications were affected.

"Our investigation to date indicates that a portion of Photoshop source code was accessed by the attackers as part of the incident Adobe publicly disclosed on 3 October," the spokesperson told security researcher Brian Krebs.

The company is still investigating to determine how much account information was breached and is in the process of notifying affected users, the spokesperson added.

Unscrambled passwords

Even though the company believes the stolen passwords were encrypted, the attackers may have been able to access them in plain text by one of several methods, including breaking the algorithm that Adobe used to scramble them, said Marcus Carey, a security researcher and expert on cyber-attacks, who formerly worked as an investigator with the National Security Agency.

They could use those passwords to break into other accounts because many people use the same passwords for multiple accounts, he said.

"This is a treasure trove for future attacks," Carey said.

While the spokesperson Heather Edell said Adobe wasn’t aware of any unauthorised activity on Adobe accounts as a result of the attack, she could not say whether stolen credit cards or passwords had been used to launch follow-on attacks against Adobe customers or conduct other types of cybercrimes.

"Our investigation is still ongoing," she said. "We anticipate the full investigation will take some time to complete."

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