Forefront Insights: Data Breaches & Undersea Cable Cuts

Ilyas Esmail
May 13, 2024
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Welcome to another edition of Forefront Insights, our weekly blog where we take a look at last week's main cybersecurity events. Recent incidents involving the UK Ministry of Defence, WordPress sites via the LiteSpeed Cache plugin, and Dell's API misuse highlight the diverse nature of cyber threats facing businesses today. These cases underscore the importance of robust security measures, including Web Application Firewalls (WAF) and API security solutions, to safeguard sensitive data and maintain trust.

UK Ministry of Defence Payroll Data Breach

The UK Government recently confirmed a significant breach of the Ministry of Defence's payroll system, exposing personal data of active and reserve personnel, as well as some recently retired veterans. The breach, attributed to a threat actor's unauthorized access, compromised approximately 270,000 payroll records. Notably, the core network of the Ministry of Defence remained unaffected, thanks to the isolation of the compromised system and prompt action to prevent further intrusion1.This incident highlights the critical need for vigilant monitoring and rapid response mechanisms to detect and mitigate threats before they escalate.

Read more about this: UK confirms Ministry of Defence payroll data exposed in data breach (

Exploiting LiteSpeed Cache Bug in WordPress Sites

Another alarming development is the active exploitation of a high-severity flaw in the LiteSpeed Cache plugin for WordPress. Threat actors have been creating rogue admin accounts on vulnerable websites, gaining full control and potentially injecting malware or installing malicious plugins. This vulnerability, identified as CVE-2023-40000, affects over 5 million active installations, with a significant portion of websites still running outdated versions of the plugin2.The exploitation of this vulnerability underscores the necessity of a robust Web Application Firewall (WAF) to detect and block malicious activities. Cloudflare's WAF, for instance, offers comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats, including XSS attacks, by filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic between a web application and the internet. Implementing such a solution can significantly enhance a website's security posture.

Read more about this: Hackers Exploiting LiteSpeed Cache Bug to Gain Full Control of WordPress Sites (

Dell API Misuse Leads to Data Breach

Dell recently faced a data breach where a threat actor abused an API to steal 49 million customer records. The attacker accessed a partner portal API as a fake company, scraping customer order data, including warranty information and customer names. This breach not only highlights the vulnerabilities associated with APIs but also the importance of securing them3.Cloudflare's API Gateway offers a solution to such challenges by providing tools for securing, managing, and scaling APIs. It helps prevent unauthorized access and data exfiltration, ensuring that APIs serve as secure conduits for data exchange.

Read more about this: Dell API abused to steal 49 million customer records in data breach (

Another Undersea Cable Cut in Southern Africa

Today's failure of the EASSY-SEACOM undersea fiber cable has significantly impacted internet connectivity, affecting a broad swath of regions. According to Cloudflare Radar, the disruption began early in the morning and has led to a substantial decrease in internet traffic and increased latency across multiple countries. The precise statistics from Cloudflare Radar indicate a sharp decline in traffic by approximately 40% from the norm, which underscores the severity of the outage.

Data from Cloudflare Radar (Traffic | Cloudflare Radar)

This incident highlights the critical nature of submarine cables in global internet infrastructure and the cascading effects their disruptions can have on connectivity and data flow. Take a look at Cloudflare's Orpheus system which intelligently routes traffic around failures like today's and keep an eye out later this week on our blog for an article about the DDoS attacks that plagued Q1 of 2024.


The cybersecurity landscape is fraught with challenges, but understanding the nature of recent breaches and implementing appropriate protective measures can significantly mitigate risks. The incidents involving the UK Ministry of Defence, WordPress sites, and Dell emphasize the need for comprehensive security strategies encompassing both WAF and API security solutions. Cloudflare's offerings, including its WAF and API Gateway, represent vital tools in the arsenal against cyber threats, providing robust protection for web applications and APIs alike. As we navigate this complex landscape, the importance of staying informed and proactive in cybersecurity efforts cannot be overstated. At Forefront, we are committed to enhancing our clients' infrastructures with cutting-edge solutions to everyday problems. By staying ahead of the curve, we can ensure the security and integrity of our digital assets in an increasingly interconnected world.

For more insights and updates on cybersecurity trends and solutions, visit our blog at Forefront Bits.

Until next week,

Ilyas Esmail
CEO, Forefront

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