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Unauthorized access to drupal.org

We received an email yesterday:

Dear community member,

We respect the privacy of your information, which is why, as a precautionary measure, we are writing to let you know about an incident that involves your personal information. The Drupal.org Security and Infrastructure Teams have discovered unauthorized access to account information on Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org. Information exposed includes usernames, email addresses, and country information, as well as hashed passwords. However, we are still investigating the incident and may learn about other types of information compromised, in which case we will notify you accordingly.

This unauthorized access was made via third-party software installed on the Drupal.org server infrastructure, and was not the result of a vulnerability within the Drupal software itself. This notice applies specifically to user account data stored on Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org, and not to sites running Drupal generally.

We have implemented additional security measures designed to prevent the recurrence of such an attack, and to protect the privacy of our community members.

The next time you attempt to log into your account, you will be required to create a new password.

Below are steps you can take to further protect your personal information online. We encourage you to take preventative measures now to help prevent and detect the misuse of your information.

First, we recommend as a precaution that you change or reset passwords on other sites where you may use similar passwords, even though all passwords on Drupal.org are stored salted and hashed. All Drupal.org passwords are both hashed and salted, although some older passwords on groups.drupal.org were not salted. To make your password stronger:

* Do not use passwords that are simple words or phrases
* Never use the same password on multiple sites or services
* Use different types of characters in your password (uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).

Second, be cautious if you receive emails asking for your personal information and be on the lookout for unwanted spam. It is not our practice to request personal information by email. Also, beware of emails that threaten to close your account if you do not take the “immediate action” of providing personal information.

For more information, please review the security announcement and FAQ at https://drupal.org/news/130529SecurityUpdate. If you find any reason to believe that your information has been accessed by someone other than yourself, please contact the Drupal Association immediately, by sending an email to password@association.drupal.org.

We regret that this incident has occurred and want to assure you we are working hard to improve security.

If you have an account with drupal.org or groups.drupal.org you should definitely be changing your password. Also, if you use the same email address and password on other sites, you should change those as well.

Please note, if you read this carefully, the unauthorized access was due to a third-party software on the server – NOT a vulnerability with the drupal software and does not affect your own drupal installation.

Just an FYI…

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Forums Under Attack

If you’ve ever visited a forum before, you know how helpful they can be.

These very same forums can also harm you. Well not you personally, but your computer. And if you’re like me, your computer is an extension of you.

Want to start some really heated discussion in a forum? Write a post that declares whatever forum software you use is the best and safest. I’ve seen many of these posts and the name calling and defensive posture people take over their decision to use one forum software over another is sometimes ridiculous.

After scanning many, many forums for people, we’ve come to discover 2 things:

  1. None of them are always safe
  2. They’re all safe – sometimes

In order to better understand the above you have to get into the mind of a hacker.

Hackers don’t hack just to hack. They now hack for money. Their income depends on how many computers they can infect and remotely control. They need to reach as many computers as possible because they know their “hacks” won’t work on every computer.

They’re playing a numbers game.

Let’s see now, where can they reach thousands of people unaware of their malicious intent?

AH HA! Forums.

Many people visit forums to solve a problem. When you’re looking for a new web hosting provider, you can go to www.webhostingtalk.com or other such forums. When you’re looking to solve a problem with a cascading style sheet you can search for “forum CSS” and you’ll find a ton of sites offering you contact with potential solutions.

In other words, your guard is down. You’re focused on getting an answer to your question or a solution to your problem. If a window pops up asking you to install something, you might just be tempted to follow along just so you can get to your end result.

And after all, forums are safe, right?

In our work, we’ve seen Drupal, phpBB, vBulletin, php Fusion and Joomla based sites all hacked. Sometimes it’s the plugins used. Other times it’s a carefully crafted SQL injection. Or it could be a remote file injection attack that succeeds. Whatever the attack vector, the point is that every website is a target for hackers. The scans we do today may not uncover an exploit discovered tomorrow.

It’s part of our daily routine to scan the forums and chat rooms that hackers use to discover what they know. Our business is a game of chase and the hackers are always leading the way. 

I’m not saying you should never visit forums, that would be ridiculous. I visit them all the time. What I am saying is that you have to be just as careful when visiting forums as you would just viewing any webpage. Don’t click on things you aren’t 100% sure are safe.

Another thing to discuss is when people change their forum or blogging software because they’ve been hacked.

I just read a posting that read, “we were using phpBB and we were hacked (twice), the second time nothing could be done to retrieve our forum and to wipe everything and start from scratch. Drupal was recommended to us so we decided to give it a whirl.”

Why, after spending so much time learning one system, would you change to something else? Why not spend some time learning how to lock down your existing system? Why not ask questions of other forum owners, how they keep their forum from being a hacker victim?

Maybe I’m wrong on this, but that’s what makes sense to me. If I’m wrong or if you disagree, please voice your opinion with a comment or two.

Thank you for your time and attention.