UpGuard Reports Accenture Data Exposure, Debuts Risk Detection Service

The security vendor claims Accenture left multiple cloud-based storage servers unsecured, though Accenture is downplaying the risk.

Google Cloud IAM

Security vendor UpGuard announced on Oct. 10 that global consulting firm Accenture had left at least four cloud-based storage servers publicly available, which it claims could have left Accenture customers at risk. Accenture is downplaying the impact of the cloud data exposure, which it has since fixed.

"There was no risk to any of our clients—no active credentials, [personally identifiable information or] other sensitive information was compromised," Accenture noted in a statement sent to eWEEK. "The information involved could not have provided access to client systems and was not production data or applications."

Accenture added that the company has a multilayered security model and the data in question would not have allowed anyone that found it to penetrate any of those layers. 

The exposed cloud data servers were first reported to Accenture on Sept. 17 by UpGuard Director of Cyber Risk Research Chris Vickery. According to UpGuard, the Amazon S3 storage buckets that Vickery detected contain highly sensitive data about Accenture Cloud Platform, its inner workings and Accenture clients using the platform.

The Accenture data exposure is just one of multiple disclosures by Vickery and UpGuard in recent years, including Verizon and the Republican National Committee (RNC), among others.

UpGuard CyberRisk

UpGuard, meanwhile, is aiming to make it easier for organizations to detect cyber-risks, such as exposed cloud storage data, with a new CyberRisk capability. UpGuard was originally known as ScriptRock and rebranded in January 2016. The company's initial platform helped to identify risks within an organization. The new CyberRisk capability goes beyond internal threats to help validate third-party risk detection as well.

"You've seen all the data breaches that our firm has reported, and all that stuff is really about poor configurations and people not having a good handle on what they've got externally," Mike Baukes, co-founder and co-CEO of UpGuard, told eWEEK.

Baukes said that with the new capability, his firm is looking to provide a "Google Search" for security vulnerabilities. While many security researchers use the Shodan security search tool to help uncover security risks, what UpGuard provides goes beyond what a Shodan search provides, according to Baukes.

"Shodan is focused on the network components, and we're about configuration," he said. "We look at approximately 150 different categories where we look to identify the potential of a company being compromised."

UpGuard CyberRisk checks server, email, security and application configurations for proper setup. UpGuard also provides additional context to understand threats based on an organization's structure, Baukes said. In addition, UpGuard has a grading system for risk that Baukes said enables customers to understand what all the checks mean in terms of overall security posture.

Many of UpGuard's security breach disclosures have involved organizations, like Accenture, that have left data improperly secured in an Amazon S3 storage bucket. At the AWS Summit in August, Amazon took aim at that specific issue with the Macie Machine Learning service that helps organizations detect confidential information that is in the cloud. Baukes said what UpGuard is providing is a more comprehensive approach than what is available on AWS alone.

"Not everyone is on Amazon; the breaches that we have found are not just Amazon S3 buckets. There are many other vectors," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.