A few days ago, the Ubuntu Forums were breached by unknown assailants. A total of two million user accounts were stolen, albeit there is no need to worry just yet. User passwords are not compromised, as the assailants only obtained random text strings stored in the database. The issue has been corrected in the meantime, and full service has been restored.
Ubuntu Forums Hack Does Not Affect User Accounts
In most cases when a data breach takes place, user accounts are not safe from harm. But as far as the Ubuntu Forums hack is concerned, no user passwords were stolen. The issue came to light when a deep web seller claimed to own a copy of the Ubuntu Forums database, containing roughly two million user accounts.
The Canonical IS team investigated the matter promptly and discovered an exposure of data had taken place. The Ubuntu Forums were shut down for a while to address this issue, and ensure new security measures could be implemented. As it turns out, an SQL injection vulnerability had been used to exploit the Forumrunner add-on.
Among the information, the assailant managed to access were all database tables. However, it appears they only read from the “user” table. This list contains all specific usernames on the Ubuntu Forums, but the “password” table as not accessed by any means. Portions of the user table were downloaded, allowing assailants to get a list of usernames, email addresses, and IP addresses.
While there were passwords stored in the user table, they were not active passwords being used on the Ubuntu Forums. Instead, there were random strings, as the forum uses Ubuntu Single Sign On for login activity. Moreover, all of these random strings were hashed and salted, adding an extra layer of security.
So far, the Ubuntu Forums administrators have backed up all of the servers running vBulletin, and rebuilt them after wiping them clean. The vBulletin software has been updated to the most recent version as well. Last but not least, all database and system passwords have been reset to ensure no further breaches could take place.
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