New RSA Innovation Helps Thwart "Smash-and-Grab" Credential Theft

London - 9 October 2012

RSA Distributed Credential Protection is Engineered to Remove Primary Points of Compromise; Scrambles, Randomizes and Splits Authentication Credentials Across Multiple Servers, Data Centers and the Cloud

  • RSA has introduced a unique technology to mitigate the risk of stolenpasswords, answers to security questions, and other stored credentials and secrets.
  • RSA Distributed Credential Protection is designed to eliminate a primary point of compromise by proactively or reactively scrambling, randomizing, and splitting sensitive data across multiple locations.
  • Innovative new technology developed by RSA(® )Labs bolsters the defense-in-depth strategy for enterprise portals and web portal providers while limiting impact to usability.

RSA, The Security Division of EMC (NYSE: EMC), today introduced an innovative new technology designed to protect passwords and other credentials and secrets stored in databases from cyber attacks.

RSA(® )Distributed Credential Protection is engineered to scramble, randomize and split secrets and authentication credentials into two separate locations. Designed to work alongside existing password protections, RSA Distributed Credential Protection is built to dramatically reduce the likelihood of successful "smash-and-grab" attacks on password servers that compromise customer, retail and financial portals every year, leaving millions of passwords and credentials at risk.

With RSA Distributed Credential Protection, even if an attacker compromises one of the two servers used to store the scrambled and split credential data, the information gained would be useless. Secrets can also be re-randomized at the push of a button so that any potential later intrusion into one of the credential servers would similarly yield useless information. As a result, attackers face the daunting task of having to compromise two separate servers or data centers nearly simultaneously, without detection, in order to gain valuable information.

Engineered by RSA Labs, this new capability is the result of groundbreaking work in Split Value Cryptographic Authentication. Credentials secured by RSA Distributed Credential Protection benefit from an added security layer using advanced cryptographic techniques developed by RSA Labs to verify authentication while never reconstructing the split halves.

According to the Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigation Report, of the data breaches investigated in 2011, servers were among the primary target assets in 64% of investigations and those accounted for 94% of compromised records. Such incidents can cause expensive lawsuits and remediation, brand damage, business distraction and customer attrition. By randomizing and splitting sensitive information into two servers, RSA Distributed Credential Protection helps eliminate a primary point of compromise representing a vulnerability for many portal operators today.

Key benefits of RSA Distributed Credential Protection:

  • Designed to reduce the risk of bulk credential data loss that so often results from "smash-and-grab" cyber attacks.
  • Engineered to eliminate the primary point of password server compromise by randomizing and splitting the credentials across two secure locations.
  • If one location is compromised, the stolen information is useless. Secrets can also then be re-randomized at the push of a button to render information stolen from the second location useless.
  • Secrets are compared cryptographically without reconstruction, eliminating the risk of an attacker grabbing them at reassembly.
  • Deployment is transparent to end users.

A number of deployment options are available, including splitting across different domains within an enterprise or splitting across an on-premise environment and one in the cloud.Available in Q4 2012, RSA will showcase RSA Distributed Credential Protection at RSA(® )Conference Europe 2012 in London.

Dan Schiappa, Senior Vice President of Identity and Data Protection, RSA, "RSA Distributed Credential Protection is the result of several years of incredible research and development innovation at RSA Labs. This technology offers a unique way to truly protect bulk data stores of passwords, secrets and other credentials from even highly sophisticated attacks. This new approach to credential protection will be a game-changer for organizations responsible for the security of very large numbers of end user access credentials."

Scott Crawford, Managing Research Director, Enterprise Management Associates, "Recent, high profile breaches have highlighted the inadequacies of some implementations of credential protection techniques such as hashing and salting. Given the threats posed by attackers seeking to compromise large sources of access credentials and other high-value information, organizations must take these risks seriously and, in some cases, consider new approaches, such as that introduced by RSA."

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