More than 1.4 Million Legacy Members of the American Bar Association Have Credentials Stolen

  • By Steven
  • Apr 25, 2023

American Bar Association Data Breach

The American Bar Association is the largest global organization of legal professionals in the world and has more than 166,000 members currently. The organization maintains data for a huge number of lawyers and other legal professionals, and this large-scale organization suffered from a recent data breach. The breach released information for over 1.4 million past members of the organization, putting countless users at risk in the process. 

How Did the Attack Occur?

Attackers broke into the American Bar Association legacy file database and gained access to a huge database of user credentials. The credentials were usernames and passwords for more than 1,466,000 members. The attack was first discovered on March 17, 2023, and notices were quickly sent out after. The initial attack is suspected of having occurred on March 6, 2023, and the attackers had more than one week to dig through the data and to take as much as they could from the legacy database. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

After gaining access to the legacy system of the Bar Association, the hackers were able to gain access to passwords and usernames for as many as 1,466,000 members. The stolen information doesn't include personal or private information, but the credentials may be useful for future attacks. 

The only positive about this cyber attack is that the stolen usernames and passwords were hashed and salted before being stored. This means that extra characters were added in, and the information was encrypted to make it more difficult to access. 

The attackers have this modified data and will have to work to decrypt the information and remove the extra characters before getting access to the data. This data could be used to gain future access to accounts and perhaps to take additional data about each of the legal professionals within or to use the accounts for harmful purposes. 

How Did ABA Admit to the Breach?

On Thursday, March 17, 2023, the American Bar Association began sending out emails to current and past members that data had been compromised. The emails explained that legacy Bar Association data was stolen in the data breach and that a huge number of old login credentials were taken. It's unclear how much additional data could be stolen from each of the legacy accounts if the attackers are able to take the login information and get into those accounts. This is a concern that users should be considering. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

While it isn't possible to recover the stolen data from the attackers, it will take time for the passwords and usernames to be cracked, and by then, the information could be changed to something else. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

The real concern is over how much data was leaked and how much work would be required to change all the usernames and passwords for the many accounts exposed. It's unclear whether the stolen accounts are still active or not, but if they are, users should log in and make password changes as soon as possible for protection.

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