Orvis, a Vermont-based retailer that specializes in high-end fly fishing equipment and other sporting goods, leaked hundreds of internal passwords on Pastebin.com for several weeks last month, exposing credentials the company used to manage everything from firewalls and routers to administrator accounts and database servers, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. Orvis says the exposure was inadvertent, and that many of the credentials were already expired.
Based in Sunderland, VT. and founded in 1856, privately-held Orvis is the oldest mail-order retailer in the United States. The company has approximately 1,700 employees, 69 retail stores and 10 outlets in the US, and 18 retail stores in the UK.
In late October, this author received a tip from Wisconsin-based security firm Hold Security that a file containing a staggering number of internal usernames and passwords for Orvis had been posted to Pastebin.
Reached for comment about the source of the document, Orvis spokesperson Tucker Kimball said it was only available for a day before the company had it removed from Pastebin.
“The file contains old credentials, so many of the devices associated with the credentials are decommissioned and we took steps to address the remaining ones,” Kimball said. “We are leveraging our existing security tools to conduct an investigation to determine how this occurred.”
However, according to Hold Security founder Alex Holden, this enormous passwords file was actually posted to Pastebin on two separate occasions last month, the first being on Oct. 4, and the second Oct. 22. That finding was corroborated by 4iq.com, a company that aggregates information from leaked databases online.
Orvis did not respond to follow-up requests for comment via phone and email; the last two email messages sent by KrebsOnSecurity to Orvis were returned simply as “blocked.”
It’s not unusual for employees or contractors to post bits of sensitive data to public sites like Pastebin and Github, but the credentials file apparently published by someone working at or for Orvis is by far the most extreme example I’ve ever witnessed.
For instance, included in the Pastebin files from Orvis were plaintext usernames and passwords for just about every kind of online service or security product the company has used, including:
-Data backup services
-Multiple firewall products
-Call recording services
-Orvis wireless networks (public and private)
-Employee wireless phone services
-Oracle database servers
-Microsoft 365 services
-Microsoft Active Directory accounts and passwords
-Battery backup systems
-Mobile payment services
-Door and Alarm Codes
-Apple ID credentials
By all accounts, this was a comprehensive goof: The Orvis credentials file even contained the combination to a locked safe in the company’ server room.
The only clue about the source of the Orvis password file is a notation at the top of the document that reads “VT Technical Services.”
Holden said this particular exposure also highlights the issue with third parties, as the issue most likely originated not from Orvis staff itself.
“This is a continuously growing trend of exposures created not by the victims but by those that they consider to be trusted partners,” Holden said.
It’s fairly remarkable that a company can spend millions on all the security technology under the sun and have all of it potentially undermined by one ill-advised post to Pastebin, but that is certainly the reality we live in today.
Long gone are the days when one could post something for a few hours to a public document hosting service and expect nobody to notice when it’s taken down. Today there are a number of third-party services that regularly index and preserve such postings, regardless of how ephemeral those postings may be.
“Pastebin and other similar repositories are constantly being monitored and any data put out there will be preserved no matter how brief the posting is,” Holden said. “In the current threat landscape, we see data exposures nearly as often as we see data breaches. These exposures vary in scope and impact, and this particular one is as bad as they come without specific data exposures.”
If you’re responsible for securing your organization’s environment, it would be an excellent idea to create some tools for monitoring for your domains and brands at Pastebin, Github and other sites where employees sometimes publish sensitive corporate data, inadvertently or otherwise. There are many ways to do this; here’s one example.
Have you built such monitoring tools for your organization or employer? If so, please feel free to sound off about your approach in the comments below.