A hacker using the handle “USDoD” has reportedly stolen contact information on more than 80,000 members of an FBI-run program called InfraGard and put the information up for sale on an English-speaking Dark Web forum.
The information the hacker accessed from InfraGard’s database appears to be fairly basic and in some cases does not even include an email address, according to KrebsOnSecurity, which first reported on the incident this week. But the information belongs to CISOs, security directors, IT and C-suite executives, healthcare professionals, emergency managers, and law enforcement and military personnel directly responsible for protecting US critical infrastructure.
A Potentially Valuable Asset
As such, the stolen data represents a valuable asset for adversaries, says former InfraGard member Chris Pierson, currently CEO of BlackCloak, an online privacy-protection service for top executives and corporate leaders.
“The InfraGard database of contacts is a big win for any intelligence agency or nation-state to possess,” Pierson says. The compromised data is nowhere close in sensitivity compared to major breaches such as the one that the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) disclosed in 2015. Still, it is very practical and easy to use from an attacker’s perspective, he says.
“While much of the information may be public or publicly available, the condensing of this information into the key people who run our nation’s critical infrastructure is immensely valuable,” Pierson notes. Personal addresses, personal cell phones, and easy access to which members possess a security clearance are all key pieces of data for an adversary to have, he says.
The FBI describes InfraGard as an initiative to bolster the nation’s collective ability to defend against physical and cyber threats to critical infrastructure targets. It basically connects the FBI directly with critical infrastructure owners, operators, and security stakeholders. Its members include key security personnel and decision-makers from all 16 US civilian critical infrastructure sectors.