Call Me Skeptical

In a Gizmodo article about the Target debacle they claim that an HVAC contractor caused the whole damned thing! Now, help me out here, but I don’t really see how such a thing could possibly happen based on the theory of separation.

  1. It’s not like Target has one superserver that controls all the HVAC systems for all of their stores in their datacenter. That is kept unique to each store AND they have different contractors in different states and areas. I know in Texas they have several for the stores they themselves own and rely on landlords for properties where they lease the space for their stores.
  2. Their financial servers are located at their datacenter in Chicago, if I am not mistaken, and only people who work in the accounting, financial and payroll departments have access to their own servers. For those of you who work in the corporate world, you know the many layers of separation that keep Johnny the back door supervisor out of the corporate servers. In other words, the girl working payroll in a Target in Duluth, GA is not going to have access to the real work datacenter servers in Chicago.

I’ve read the article and the links within and I’m sorry, it’s not washing. I can’t see a way to make it wash. You guys get this to gibe? Let me know because it’s like 3 AM and my sleep deprived brain and kitten are not letting me see how this works

Gratch and I were talking about something similar the other night. You assume that the separation exists and is secure yet we all know how quickly a system will start to break down without constant feeding and caring. It’s not that they used his login info to get into the financial systems. They used it to get into the network. Once you’re past the firewalls, who has multiple layers of protection from there. Are the financial servers in a separate datacenter or behind their own firewall? Probably not because it costs too much to pay for and maintain. Most security systems (virtual and physical) have a point where the deterrents just stop. People have that ‘They’ll never get past $X’ mentality not really thinking that if someone finally does, then what’s stopping them? ‘We have huge firewalls and secured lines coming into the building, but the admin passwords are weak as hell on the servers or unpatched. But it doesn’t matter because no one can get in!’

No system is 100% secure and any security person should be able or know how to start to break into their own systems.


I would bet money on someone somewhere doing something stupid that was the equivalent of leaving your keys in the visor of your car.

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The sticky note with the password stuck to the monitor? :smiley:

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The file on the open network share labelled “passwrods”