Hackers at Center of Sprawling Spy Campaign Turned SolarWinds’ Dominance Against It

An anonymous reader shares a report: On an earnings call two months ago, SolarWinds Chief Executive Kevin Thompson touted how far the company had gone during his 11 years at the helm. There was not a database or an IT deployment model out there to which his Austin, Texas-based company did not provide some level of monitoring or management, he told analysts on the Oct. 27 call. “We don’t think anyone else in the market is really even close in terms of the breadth of coverage we have,” he said. “We manage everyone’s network gear.” Now that dominance has become a liability — an example of how the workhorse software that helps glue organizations together can turn toxic when it is subverted by sophisticated hackers. On Monday, SolarWinds confirmed that Orion — its flagship network management software — had served as the unwitting conduit for a sprawling international cyberespionage operation. The hackers inserted malicious code into Orion software updates pushed out to nearly 18,000 customers.

[…] Cybersecurity experts across government and private industry are still struggling to understand the scope of the damage, which some are already calling one of the most consequential breaches in recent memory. […] Experts are reviewing their notes to find old examples of substandard security at the company. Security researcher Vinoth Kumar told Reuters that, last year, he alerted the company that anyone could access SolarWinds’ update server by using the password “solarwinds123” “This could have been done by any attacker, easily,” Kumar said. Others — including Kyle Hanslovan, the cofounder of Maryland-based cybersecurity company Huntress — noticed that, even days after SolarWinds realized their software had been compromised, the malicious updates were still available for download.