infoTECH Feature

April 07, 2011

The Hartford Insurance Company Falls Victim to Hack Attack

Connecticut-based insurance group The Hartford Insurance Company announced that it was a victim of some pretty nasty malware, particularly of the password stealing variety, due to some not so nice hackers. According to recent reports, hackers installed password stealing programs into the company’s servers, one notably known as Trojan W32-Qakbot.

The company said the malware has affected a small number of employees and few customers as well, but has sent a warning letter to people who it thinks could be affected. The letter was sent to about 300 employees, contractors and a few customers.

"The Hartford has detected a virus that infected our Windows server environment, which may have resulted in the capture of your personal information," it said in the letter. "At this time, we do not know what, if any, personal information the virus may have captured from your session. We do know that the virus has the potential to capture confidential data such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, user accounts/logins, passwords, and credit card numbers."

"It was a very small incident," said Debora Raymond, a company spokeswoman.

Qakbot is difficult to trace as it covers its tracks as it spreads from one computer to another in the network while exposing the computers for further attack.

According to Symantec (News - Alert), "the virus downloads files, steals confidential information, and opens a back door on the compromised computer. The worm contains rootkit functionality to allow it to hide its presence."

In other hacking news, Sony was the recent victim of a malicious attack by a group known as “Anonymous.”

Anonymous responded to a recent legal matter involving Sony and known hacker GeoHot, or George Hotz. Hotz was recently ordered by a San Francisco judge to turn over his computer equipment as part of Sony’s legal effort and submit his PayPal (News - Alert) records for evidence that he’d received donations in response to PS3 jailbreak publication. Sony’s recent court win also allowed the company to collect the IP addresses of any user who had visited GeoHot’s site.

The attacks struck Sony’s websites, and, causing the sites to load slowly or not at all. Reports have been rolling in from various video game sites that Sony's PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 is experiencing outages and lag as well.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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