Learning from mistakes: The Yahoo hack


Belan’s observed offensive traits were as follows:

  • He identified peripheral web servers via Google and Linkedin searches

  • Used known WordPress flaws and custom bugs to compromise PHP sites

  • Linux authentication mechanisms were altered to capture credentials

  • Nmap was used to identify exposed network services internally

  • Corporate Wikis revealed administrative workflows and VPN details

  • Ticketing, bug tracking, and version control systems provided secrets (e.g. cryptographic keys, seeds, hashes, credentials, and source code)

  • Cookies from weak non-production instances (e.g. staging) were valid in production as cryptographic materials were the same — bypassing 2FA

  • Client certificates (exposed by email, ticketing, or lifted from filesystems) were combined with known credentials to access corporate VPNs

  • Engineering credentials were used to commit backdoors to version control which were self-approved and later deployed into production

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