On January 18, opensubtitles.org, one of the largest subtitles websites, faced a data breach. OpenSubtitles posted on their forum that they were contacted by a hacker on telegram in August 2021.
It seems like the hacker was able to breach their server and get sensitive information. As every cybercriminal does, the hacker also asked for a ransom so as not to disclose the data.
The data consisted of usernames, emails, passwords and much more. The hacker also promised that he would delete the data after he received the ransom. With not many options, Opensubtitles agreed to it. The hacker explained how he hacked.
The attacker was able to crack the weak password of a SuperAdmin which allowed him to access an unsecured script.
The script which was used only by SuperAdmins, created the way for SQL injections and data extraction. After providing the information, he also helped them to solve the error. The worst part is the hacker exposed their data.
As posted in the forum,
“The site was created in 2006 with little knowledge of security, so passwords were stored in md5() hashes without salt. It means if you used a strong password (let’s say at least 10 characters with the lowercase, uppercase, number and special characters) you should be safe, but short easy passwords, especially if they are in the English dictionary can rather easily be extracted from these data.”
The post also said that they felt amazing, as it had been 15 years since the site was created and the hacker must’ve had a hard time cracking it. OpenSubtitles became a victim of cyber fraud which made them learn a lesson that, if they are contacted by a hacker, there should be minimum talk and should not believe in false promises.
They have realized the mistake of ignoring the need for security on their website. They also apologized for their mistake and advised their users to use a strong password. They explained further about their updates and issues to be fixed.