AMD Blog Site Hacked, Usernames, Encrypted Passwords Stolen

A group calling itself r00tbeer claims responsibility for the attack, which forced AMD to take the site offline and to change all the passwords.

Advanced Micro Devices is the latest major company to be victimized by hackers, shutting down its blog site Aug. 19 after a group calling itself r00tbeer apparently defaced the site and stole a database containing information of AMD staff.

The attackers reportedly announced the hack on its Twitter account after putting their logo and a link to the Twitter account on the site.

The chip maker has since shut down the site, initially saying it was being taken offline for "routine maintenance," then posting a message that said its blog site "is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience. This area will be back online as soon as possible."

In a statement emailed to eWEEK, an AMD spokesperson said the blog site was attacked Aug. 19 and that the company immediately took the site offline and changed all passwords. AMD officials are investigating the hack and said they hoped to bring the site back online within 24 hours.

"We believe that the attackers posted less than 200 registered usernames and salted password hashes to a hacker Website," the statement said. "AMD uses salted password hashes, which is an industry best practice for encryption and extremely difficult to crack. … AMD remains committed to data security and user privacy and has launched an investigation into this matter."

According to reports, AMD uses the WordPress blogging tool as the foundation of its blog site, which includes postings on everything from the company's consumer and enterprises chip technologies to its cloud efforts and corporate information. The r00tbeer attackers apparently stole a user database from the site that contained information of almost 190 internal accounts.

In an Aug. 20 post on Sophos Labs' Naked Security blog, Paul Ducklin, head of technology in the Asia-Pacific region for Sophos, said the SQL data set contained 189 usernames and what seemed to be PHPass-hashed passwords, and that 185 of the usernames also included email addresses. Ducklin said 174 of those are from AMD, with the rest coming from two public relations companies, Edelman and Bite Communications.

There also were some full names of AMD employees or PR representatives, with the leaked data spanning from July 2010 to Aug. 9, 2012.

The attackers posted the database information onto a hacker site. The attack came soon after the r00tbeer group announced on Twitter that they were targeting "a large company" for its next hack, telling people to "stay tuned for the upcoming database dump."

Sophos' Ducklin said that in terms of its size, the AMD hack was relatively minor, but that any hack is a cause for concern.

"All in all, a small deal in the history of security breaches," he wrote. "More of a hackette than a hack, and no AMD customers need to panic, which is good news. But every hack is, at its heart, bad news. If only we were collectively more conscientious about patching against criminals, and if only those criminals were more likely to be caught! Of course-since where hacking is concerned, an injury to one is an injury to all-the vast majority of Internet Good Guys amongst us can help make both those things come true. Patch early. Patch often. Keep logs. Report breaches."