Ubiquiti Files Case Against Security Blogger Krebs Over ‘False Accusations’ (for doing his job)

In March of 2021 the Krebs on Security blog reported that Ubiquiti, “a major vendor of cloud-enabled Internet of Things devices,” had disclosed a breach exposing customer account credentials. But Krebs added that a company source “alleges” that Ubiquiti was downplaying the severity of the incident — which is not true, says Ubiquiti.

Krebs’ original post now includes an update — putting the word “breach” in quotation marks, and noting that actually a former Ubiquiti developer had been indicted for the incident…and also for trying to extort the company. It was that extortionist, Ubiquiti says, who’d “alleged” they were downplaying the incident (which the extortionist had actually caused themselves).

Ubiquiti is now suing Krebs, “alleging that he falsely accused the company of ‘covering up’ a cyberattack,” ITWire reports: In its complaint, Ubiquiti said contrary to what Krebs had reported, the company had promptly notified its clients about the attack and instructed them to take additional security precautions to protect their information. “Ubiquiti then notified the public in the next filing it made with the SEC. But Krebs intentionally disregarded these facts to target Ubiquiti and increase ad revenue by driving traffic to his website, www.KrebsOnSecurity.com,” the complaint alleged.

It said there was no evidence to support Krebs’ claims and only one source, [the indicted former employee] Nickolas Sharp….

According to the indictment issued by the Department of Justice against Sharp in December 2021, after publication of the articles in question on 30 and 31 March, Ubiquiti’s stock price fell by about 20% and the company lost more than US$4 billion (A$5.32 billion) in market capitalisation…. The complaint alleged Krebs had intentionally misrepresented the truth because he had a financial incentive to do so, adding, “His entire business model is premised on publishing stories that conform to this narrative….”

[…]

Krebs was accused of two counts of defamation, with Ubiquiti seeking a jury trial and asking for a judgment against him that awarded compensatory damages of more than US$75,000, punitive damages of US$350,000, all expenses and costs including lawyers’ fees and any further relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Source: Ubiquiti Files Case Against Security Blogger Krebs Over ‘False Accusations’ – Slashdot

Ubiquiti’s security is spectacularly bad, with incidents like anyone with ssh / telnet access to access points being able to get in and read the database and change the root passwords. Their updates are few and far between and very poorly communicated (if at all) to clients who don’t have a UNP machine. They did not notify me about the breach until some time after Krebs broke and then only in the vaguest of terms.

To blame a reporting party for your own failings is flailing around like a little kid and it’s a disgrace that the legal system allows for this kind of bullying around.

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