Critical.
Authoritative.
Strategic.
Subscribe to CIO Magazine »

Free Software Foundation's software repository hacked

The GNU.org site was compromised last weekend by a SQL injection attack

The Web front end for a Free Software Foundation software repository remains down after the server it was hosted on was attacked last week.

The repository holds the pages for the organization's Gnu.org website, which the attackers altered last weekend. They also downloaded all the user names and encrypted passwords. None of the Gnu software projects on the server have been compromised as part of the attack, said Matt Lee, FSF's campaign manager.

As a precaution, the Savannah server's administrators eliminated any changes to the server contents since Nov. 23, a day before the first attack. Developers using the repositories can upload changes from their local copies, and as they are signed onto the system, they will be required to change their password.

According to the FSF, attackers breached the FSF server Nov. 24 by using SQL injection attacks against the Savane bug tracking application. The Savannah server, maintained by volunteers, holds the contents of the Gnu.org website in a CVS repository, as well as the Gnu-sponsored software projects. The server hosts both the gnu.savannah.gnu.org and savannah.nongnu.org domains, both of which are used to access the repositories.

The attackers obtained the user names and hashed passwords from a MySQL database and were able to create at least one new administrative account for the website, which allowed them to deface the Gnu.org home page.

The attackers also found a directory with PHP write access and ran a PHP reverse shell procedure to run root kits against the server. At this point however, the FSF believes they did not get root access to the server itself.

Savane is being rewritten and the developers are fixing the vulnerability, Lee said.

The FSF is not the only open-source software organization whose repositories have been compromised. Earlier this year, the Apache Software Foundation also had its site and passwords compromised.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

References show all
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: open source, security, Free Software Foundation, data breach, software
Latest Blog Posts
Whitepapers
  • Case Study: Fox Sports
    Fox Sports Australia needed a way to deal with explosive data growth while moving to a new purpose-built studio and production facility. Read how an internal private broadcaster helped the broadcaster meet these challenges while savings costs, decreasing system implementation time and reducing IT support calls by 75%.
    Learn more »
  • PCI DSS v3.0 - Compliance Guide
    Due to a lack of consumer confidence and a subsequent drop in sales, all entities that handle credit cardholder information are being challenged to adopt more effective data protection measures. This paper provides information on available tools to help validate compliance with the latest version of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
    Learn more »
  • The Future of IT: From Chaos to Service Automation
    Technology has become the heart and soul of every business, but IT workload and system complexity become more challenging. This whitepaper details the future of IT, the major challenges facing CIOs, and the three ways to transform IT so CIOs can lead the way.
    Learn more »
All whitepapers
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to Invitation only events CIO, reports & analysis.
Salary Calculator

Supplied by

View the full Peoplebank ICT Salary & Employment Index

Recent comments