At Opera, we strive to be open, and we want to continue this tradition, by sharing with you what happens here. High profile companies like Opera are under continuous attack by hackers trying to break into their systems, and we want to tell you about an incident some weeks ago.
This incident involves the same hackers as have tried to attack us before. Before they were thrown out last time, they had managed to gain access to an account with limited access, which went undetected through our system reviews afterwards. A few weeks ago, they logged into this account, and tried to use it to spread malware. Most of their attempts were unsuccessful, but they eventually successfully managed to change some fields in a database. We have since completed exhaustive scans of our systems, and are now ready to share the details with you.
The end result was that for new installations of old Opera 12 versions, on pristine Windows environments without Flash installed, if users browsed videos and accepted Opera’s suggestion to install Flash for them, they might have ended up getting malware instead. The misbehaving server was taken offline as soon as we were able to sort the details out, and the total impact appears to have been extremely limited. We know of 2 users who were affected, although we expect there might be more. The malware would immediately have locked the computer, asking the user to pay money to unlock it – a common malware tactic – so any affected users would have noticed as soon as they attempted to install Flash.
The attack was quickly halted, and no further users can be affected. The overlooked account has since been cleared out, and we will continue to review our systems to curb this sort of attack in future. At Opera we are working hard to provide excellent security, and we take incidents such as this extremely seriously. We are continuously working to improve and learn from any mistakes, and we can assure you that we have learned a lot lately. We are cooperating with law enforcement agencies, and expect the hackers too will have to learn new skills soon. However, life at a company like Opera means that such attacks will not stop any time soon, and we will remain vigilant against any new intrusion attempts.