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By | John Leyden 9th March 2009 13:05

Daily Telegraph hit by SQL hack attack

Middle England pwned

Vulnerabilities on a Daily Telegraph website have been exposed by serial grey-hat hacker Unu.

In a posting on the hackersblog site Unu outlines a number of SQL injection security weaknesses on the newspaper's website. The entry, which includes screenshots to substantiate the claim, claims that subscriber email addresses were potentially left open to harvesting as a result of security shortcomings with the site.

More seriously, passwords in clear text were also reportedly exposed.

In a statement, Paul Cheesbrough, chief information officer for Telegraph Media Group, said the attack affected a partner site and not the main Telegraph website.

"The hack interrogated database tables behind one of our partner sites - - and exposed a weakness in the way that particular site had been coded," Cheesbrough said.

"The problem being highlighted does not affect the main site, as some of our competitors are reporting, but the Telegraph Media Group does take anything that potentially compromises the security of our site and the data that we hold extremely seriously. We immediately took the impacted site down on Friday, and the two-year-old third party code is being re-written to eliminate the issues that brought to our attention."

The hacker first became famous for scouring the websites of security vendors, such as Kaspersky Lab and BitDefender, for problems. He's since moved on to looking for flaws on more mainstream websites, such as those run by Camelot and the Daily Telegraph.

Trend Micro notes recent research found that three in five (61 per cent) of people use the same password for multiple sites. The compromise of any one site - even if the information it holds isn't particularly sensitive - therefore poses an identity theft risk for those who fail to practice password security.

Trend offers some tips on password security for ordinary punters (here) and webmasters (here). ®

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