SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Unencrypted Gearbest database leaves over 1.5mil shoppers’ records exposed

By Kai Ping Lew
Tue 19 Mar 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Security researcher Noam Rotem has discovered a major security breach in the Shenzhen-based eCommerce site Gearbest.

The online shopping website ships goods to overs 250 countries and ranks in the top 100 websites in almost 30% of these regions, according to VPNMentor. 

Rotem and his team of ethical hackers at VPNMentor found that the company uses an Elasticsearch database, which is ordinarily not designed for URL use.

They also reported being able to access over 1.5million records in different areas of Gearbest’s unencrypted database, including:

  • Orders database, including purchased products, shipping address and postcode, customer names, email addresses, and phone numbers
  • Payments and invoices database including order number, payment type, payment information, email address, name, and IP address.
  • Members database including name, address, date of birth, phone number, email address, IP address, national ID and password information, account passwords.

Using the leaked information, Rotem's team found they were able to log into Gearbest accounts and operate them with full user privileges, viewing current and past orders, accumulating Gearbest points, and changing account passwords and details.

In a worst-case scenario, VPNMentor’s research found that by cross-referencing different databases, hackers can steal the identities of Gearbest customers.

Depending on the countries and information requirements, the data available can give hackers access to online government portals, banking apps, and health insurance records, to name a few.

After Rotem’s findings were published, Gearbest posted a statement on its Facebook page responding to VPNMentor.

“Some of the external tools we use to temporarily store data may have been accessed by others and therefore data security may have been compromised.”

“Our investigation reveals that on March 19, 2019, … firewalls were mistakenly taken down by one of our security team members for reasons still being [sic] under investigation. Such unprotected status has directly exposed those tools for scanning and accessing without further authentication.”

Gearbest said in the statement that the breach may affect 280,000 newly registered customers and customers who placed orders with Gearbest between March 1, 2019, and March 15, 2019.

It also says the data leak has been fixed two hours after detection.

“We will further strengthen our internal security management to avoid such incidents from happening again.”

Gearbest says it also taking measures to deactivate the passwords of the compromised to prevent credential abuse and will notify affected customers via email.

The full VPNMentor report is on its website. 

What cybersecurity experts have to say  

Digital Guardian cloud services security architect Naaman Hart

The most shocking thing about this is the complete mistruth that was told to customers of Gearbest. 

Data-at-rest encryption was the promise and it doesn’t appear to have been the case at all. 

While breaches can be seen as almost unavoidable these days, encryption of the data stolen should be a given, especially given the sensitivity of the data Gearbest stored. 

Worryingly it’s not just the usual names, addresses, passwords and emails; the data includes passport details and national IDs. 

Gearbest don’t appear to have shown any care in segregating information, that while it’s all personal, it’s not equal.

The data was linked so easily together that a complete profile of someone could be built that exposes the individual to identity fraud. 

There are many other risks that could now befall the individual customer and trying to fix this problem by invalidating their data by requesting new passports and national IDs is not only difficult, it’s sometimes impossible. 

Gearbest’s customers may have to accept that they've forever exposed to additional risk thanks to the mismanagement of their data.

It appears that Gearbest failed on two counts of poor configuration. 

First, they failed to protect a ‘big data’ Elasticsearch setup and secondly, they failed to encrypt any of that data. 

Both of these are configuration and best practice problems and frankly, there’s little excuse for not implementing them correctly.

Ultimately if you can’t trust a company to get the basics right, definitely don’t trust them to keep you and your data safe.

Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol

It’s concerning when it takes an organisation months, or even years, to recognise that a misconfigured server has enabled a breach or a leak.

As a global eCommerce provider that ships to over 250 countries and territories, ranks in the top 100 websites in almost 30 percent of said regions, and has subdomains in 18 different languages, Gearbest must adopt a flexible security platform that proactively detects and responds to new threats as they arise.

Allowing a server to remain misconfigured for a prolonged period of time increases the odds that a malicious actor can find it and exploit the information therein for their own purposes.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, misconfigurations have grown in popularity as an attack vector across all industries.

This highlights the reality that organisations are struggling with limited IT resources and, consequently, are susceptible to careless and reckless mistakes like misconfigurations.

As such, companies must turn to flexible and cost-effective solutions that can help them to defend against data leakage.

For example, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) provide cloud security posture management (CSPM), data loss prevention (DLP), user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA), and other capabilities that can give an organisation confidence that its data is truly safe.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Cybersecurity
Kaspersky opens three new centers to boost data management
Cybersecurity company Kaspersky has opened three new Transparency Centers, one in Japan, the second in Singapore and the third in the United States.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
SonicWall
Find out how you and your business can prevent being caught out by everything from ransomware to cryptojacking.
Link image
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Infosys
Preparing for the digital decade with the right workforce strategies
For a decade that started under the pall of the pandemic, the 2020s is poised to end with a bang with the digital economy swelling to a high across the world.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Apple
LastPass announces new capability for iPhones and iPads
LastPass has announced its new save and fill experience, allowing customers to fill in, create and save their credentials directly within the site's form field.
Story image
Yubico
New research shows global drive for passwordless authentication
A new study has shown there has been a significant shift towards wanting a passwordless future, but adoption is still in its infancy.
Story image
Motorola Solutions
Motorola Solutions deploys communication system to 5th Japanese airport
Motorola Solutions with its partner, Nippon Airport Radio Services deployed the mission critical communication system to Kansai.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.