Unpacking the Okta Security Incident—The Hidden Risks of HAR Files and How to Counter Them


Published on Oct 21, 2023   —   1 min read

The recent unauthorized access to Okta's support case management system has set off alarm bells in cybersecurity circles. Leveraging stolen credentials, the attacker viewed files from specific Okta customer support cases. Although Okta's main service remains untouched, this incident shines a spotlight on the security risks tied to sharing HTTP Archive (HAR) files. Let's dissect what this means and how to fortify your organization's cybersecurity.

The Incident: A Closer Look

On October 20, 2023, Okta Security disclosed that their support case management system had been compromised. The attacker accessed files from recent customer support cases. Okta has since notified all affected customers and implemented protective measures, including revoking session tokens embedded in HAR files.

HAR Files: A Blessing and a Curse

HAR files are invaluable tools for troubleshooting web interactions. However, they can also store sensitive data like cookies and session tokens. In the wrong hands, this data can be weaponized to impersonate legitimate users, posing a significant security risk.

Defensive Strategies

  1. Sanitize Before Sharing: Always remove sensitive credentials and cookies/session tokens from HAR files before sharing.
  2. Access on a Need-to-Know Basis: Limit HAR file access to only those who require it for troubleshooting.
  3. Regular Audits: Consistently review the use and storage of HAR files to prevent unauthorized access or misuse.

Warning Signs: Indicators of Compromise

Okta released a list of IP addresses and user-agents associated with the incident, many of which are linked to commercial VPN services. Stay vigilant for activity related to these indicators and adjust your security protocols as needed.

The Bottom Line: Vigilance is Key

This incident serves as a critical reminder of the ever-present threats in the cybersecurity landscape. Always be alert for suspicious activity and ensure your security measures are up-to-date.


While Okta has acted swiftly to mitigate the impact, the incident serves as a wake-up call. HAR files, useful as they are, come with inherent risks. By adopting proactive security measures, you can minimize these risks and safeguard your organization's data.


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