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An attacker who breached the software development environment at LastPass this August and stole source code and other proprietary data from the company appears to have struck the password management firm again.

On Wednesday, LastPass disclosed it is investigating a recent incident where someone using information obtained during the August intrusion managed to access source code and unspecified customer data stored within an unnamed third-party cloud storage service. LastPass did not disclose what kind of customer data the attacker might have accessed but maintained that its products and services remained fully functional.

Unusual Activity

“We recently detected unusual activity within a third-party cloud storage service, which is currently shared by both LastPass and its affiliate, GoTo,” LastPass said. “We immediately launched an investigation, engaged Mandiant, a leading security firm, and alerted law enforcement.”

LastPass’ statement coincided with one from GoTo, also on Wednesday, that referred to what appeared to be the same unusual activity within the third-party cloud storage-service. In addition, GoTo’s statement described the activity as impacting its development environment but offered no other details. Like LastPass, GoTo said its videoconferencing and collaboration services remained fully functional while it investigates the incident.

It is unclear if the apparent breach of GoTo’s development environment is related in any way to the August intrusion at LastPass or if the two incidents are entirely separate. Both companies declined to answer a Dark Reading question on whether the two incidents might be related.

The new breach at LastPass suggests that attackers may have accessed more data from the company in August than previously thought. LastPass has previously noted the intruder in the August breach gained access to its development environment by stealing the credentials of a software developer and impersonating that individual. The company has maintained since then that the threat actor did not gain access to any customer data or encrypted password vaults because of the design of its system and the controls it has in place.

Were LastPass’ Security Controls Strong Enough?

Those controls include a complete physical and network separation of the development environment from the production environment and ensuring the development environment contains no customer data or encrypted vaults. LastPass has also noted that it does not have any access to the master passwords to customer vaults, thereby ensuring that only the customer can access it.

Michael White, technical director and principal architect at Synopsys Software Integrity Group, says LastPass’ practice of separating dev and test and making sure that no customer data is used in dev/test are certainly good practices and in line with recommendations.

However, the fact that a threat actor managed to gain access to its development environment means they potentially had the ability to do a lot of damage.

“The short answer is that we simply cannot know based on what has been said publicly,” White says. “However, if the impacted dev systems have any access to common internal tools used for software build and release — for example, source code repositories, build systems, or binary artifact storage — it could allow an attack to insert a surreptitious back door into the code.”

So, the mere fact that LastPass might have separated development and test from its production environment is not enough guarantee that customers were fully protected, he says.

LastPass itself has only confirmed the threat actor behind the August breach as accessing its source code and some other intellectual property. But it’s unclear if the actor might have done other damage as well, researchers tell Dark Reading.

Joshua Crumbaugh, CEO at PhishFirewall, says development environments tend to present easy targets for threat actors to inject malicious code without being detected. “That malicious code is like finding a needle that you don’t know to look for in a haystack of needles,” he says.

Development environments are also known for having hardcoded credentials and for insecure storage of API keys, user credentials, and other sensitive information. “Our research continuously demonstrates that development teams are one of the least security aware departments at most organizations,” Crumbaugh says. He adds that LastPass’ breach sequel suggests they didn’t completely trace the attackers’ actions after the first breach.