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The Very Serious Okta Breach and the Arrest of the Lapsus$ Ransomware Gang

The recent breach of the industry-standard, cloud-based single sign-on (SSO) authentification service provider Okta is important because:

  1. the SSO software is so broadly used by a variety of Fortune 1000 companies and third-party vendors, the breach creates a potentially vast attack surface for companies, large and small.
  2. The company response by Okta is a case study on how not to manage a serious breach.
  3. The alleged attribution to the Lapsus$ ransomware gang connects the breach as the potential point of access of a long list of high profile recent hacks of major international companies, including Nvidia, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft; and
  4. Previously underestimated by both the hacker and research communities due to the parochial nature of some of their hacking techniques,  the Lapsus$ modus operandi (and the success rate and scale of their attacks) are now shedding light on a variety of previously discounted vulnerabilities and potential attack surfaces.

The San Francisco-based Okta, Inc. is self-described on its website as the “identity provider for the internet” with more than 15,000 customers on its platform.

The recommendation is that organizations review their operational relationship (and that of their vendors) to the Okta ecosystem of OSS platforms and products.  Again, these hacking techniques are not highly technical but, when successful, are of major consequence.   The Okta breach and the Lapsus$ ransomware hacks also further reinforce the importance of multi-factor authentication over the ease of use SS0.

OODA is here to help.  OODA members can contact us by replying to any of our emails or using this form.

Following is a timeline of the Okta Breach and the Lapsus$ ransomware rampage, concluding with technical guidance and recommendations gleaned from a handful of ongoing technical investigations underway by Okta, Microsoft, Nvidia, etc.

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You can chose to be an OODA Loop Subscriber or an OODA Network Member. Subscribers get access to all site content, while Members get all site content plus additional Member benefits such as participation in our Monthly meetings, exclusive OODA Unlocked Discounts, discounted training and conference attendance, job opportunities, our Weekly Research Report, and other great benefits. Join Here.

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.