BrowserStack is a cloud service to allow developers to test their web applications across a variety of desktop and mobile browsers. Over the weekend, customers of the service were sent an email claiming that the site was shutting down. The email also disclosed a variety of bad security practices, which one would believe related to the site compromise. The email is below.
Dear BrowserStack User,
We are unfortunately displeased to announce that BrowserStack will be shutting down. After much consideration on our part, we have realized we were negligent in the services we claimed to offer. In our terms of service, we state the following:
[…] after the restoration process is complete, the virtual machines are guaranteed to be tamper-proof.
[…] The machines themselves are in a secure network, and behind strong firewalls to present the safest environment possible.
[…] At any given time, you have sole access to a virtual machine. Your testing session cannot be seen or accessed by other users, including BrowserStack administrators. Once you release a virtual machine, it is taken off the grid, and restored to its initial settings. All your data is destroyed in this process.
Unfortunately, we have blatantly lied. Not only do all of our administrators have access, but so does the general public. We have no firewalls in place, and our password policies are atrocious. All virtual machines launched are open to the public, accessible to anyone with the alpha password “nakula” on port 5901, a password which is stored in plaintext on every VM. As well, our infrastructure uses the same root passwords on all machines, which is also stored in plaintext on every VM launched (“c0stac0ff33”).
Given the propensity for cyber criminals to target infrastructure services such as ours, it is almost certain all of your data has been compromised. These passwords take no less than 15 minutes to find for anyone who is looking.
We hope we have not caused you too much trouble, and to our enterprise customers who signed deals contracts based on a fabrication, we are equally sorry.
Sincerely, The BrowserStack Team
From Twitter, the compromise was confirmed.
We did get hacked. Currently sanitising entire BrowserStack, so service will be down for a while. We're on top of it & will keep you posted.
— BrowserStack (@browserstack) November 10, 2014
The company later stated on Twitter that the hacker’s access was restricted to the list of email addresses and they are working on bringing the service back up.
BrowserStack explains on a Growth page of their site that they launched in 2011 and have over 23,000 paying customers.