Retool Blames Google Cloud Malfunction for $15M Crypto Hack Loss
Retool recently reported a breach affecting 27 accounts, with hackers using Google Authenticator’s cloud sync to steal $15 million in crypto from Fortress Trust.
Google Authenticator’s cloud sync feature played a key role in this breach by transforming what should have been a multi-factor authentication into a single-factor vulnerability.
Retool initially designed its system for multi-factor authentication (MFA). But the latest update from Google in April 2023 altered this by silently enabling cloud sync, effectively weakening the security model, according to Snir Kodesh, Retool’s head of engineering. The breach incident occurred on August 27, 2023, around the time Retool was transitioning their login process to Okta.
Anatomy of the Retool’s Attack
The attacker first initiated an SMS phishing attack, masquerading as a member of the IT team to address a “payroll issue.” Falling into the trap, an employee unknowingly handed over their login credentials through a deceptive link. To add insult to injury, the hacker leveraged deepfake technology to mimic the voice of an IT team member, tricking the employee into sharing an additional OTP token.
This token was crucial, as it let the attacker link a new device to the employee’s Okta account, granting them active access to the company’s Google Workspace session. With cloud sync enabled on Google Authenticator, the attacker then accessed internal admin systems and took control of 27 customer accounts, leading to the enormous crypto heist from Fortress Trust.
The attack illustrates that cloud syncing of one-time passcodes can pose a security risk, counteracting the “something the user has” factor in MFA. Security experts are now advising the use of FIDO2-compliant hardware security keys to counter such phishing attacks.
Who Could Be Behind the Attack?
Although the exact identity remains undisclosed, the attack strategy resembles that of a group known as Scattered Spider or UNC3944, notorious for their sophisticated phishing campaigns. A recent advisory from the U.S. government has also highlighted the rising use of deepfakes in cyber-attacks, adding another layer of concern in an already complex security landscape.
In light of these events, businesses and individual users alike may need to reassess their reliance on cloud-based MFA solutions. As the Retool incident has shown, even seemingly secure systems can have vulnerabilities that skilled hackers are more than willing to exploit.
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