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Gentoo cuts key parts of itself from net for its own good

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Admins with the Gentoo Project say they have disconnected major parts of its website a week after discovering it could be vulnerable to a command injection attack that allows bad guys to remotely execute code on the machine.

At time of writing, users trying to access Gentoo Archives and at least seven other areas of Gentoo.org got a message saying they were unavailable. Gentoo pulled the server hosting the sections "to prevent further exploitation and to allow for forensic analysis," according to Gentoo's homepage.

The words "further exploitation" and "forensic analysis" suggest the server was pwned, but Gentoo assures us the damage was minimal.

"There was no possibility of any leak of personal or meddling with the Gentoo Portage tree," Mike Doty, a member of Gentoo's Infrastructure team, said in an emailed statement. "The attack was limited to one service on one server."

Members intend to rebuild the server and will also perform a security audit on source code for packages.gentoo.org, which is the service containing the injection vulnerability. According to this advisory, the vulnerability allows the remote execution of code by attaching a semicolon to the end of the URL, immediately followed by the command an attacker wants to run. The bottom of the page will then display the output of that command.

Gentoo's advisory comes a week after Ubuntu unplugged five of its eight production servers following the discovery they had been so badly compromised that they were being used to attack other sites. Turns out the systems, which were sponsored by Canonical and hosted by the community, were running an old version of Ubuntu. Tsk, tsk.

Other Gentoo sites and services being shuttered included packagestest.gentoo.org, scripts.gentoo.org, archivestest.gentoo.org, kiss.gentoo.org, stats.gentoo.org and survey.gentoo.org. Gentoo wouldn't estimate when it will have them back online. ®

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