Feeds

Hackers poison well of open-source FTP app

ProFTPD backdoored for 3 days

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Updated Hackers breached the main server hosting ProFTPD and remained undetected for three days, causing anyone who downloaded the popular open-source file transfer application during that time to be infected with a backdoor that grants unauthorized access to their systems.

The unknown attackers gained entry to ProFTPD's main distribution server by exploiting an unpatched vulnerability in the FTP application itself, project managers said late Wednesday night. The attackers then replaced the source files for the most recent version, ProFTPD 1.3.3c, with a backdoor. The compromise affected downloads from secondary mirror sites as well.

“The backdoor introduced by the attackers allows unauthenticated users remote root access to systems which run the maliciously modified version of the ProFTPD daemon,” project managers wrote. “Users are strongly advised to check systems running the affected code for security compromises and compile/run a known good version of the code.”

It's the latest hack attack to hit a popular open-source distribution system. On Tuesday, the Free Software Foundation said its massive repository of free software was compromised by hackers who exploited holes in Savane, a widely used software hosting application. Project managers for GNU Savannah said they couldn't rule out the possibility that the attackers gained root access to their system.

ProFTPD is file transfer protocol software whose source code is freely available by anyone to review or modify. It runs on Linux and Unix and is used by a long roster of organizations, including Harvard Law School, Virginia Tech Computer Science Lab, and Cisco Systems' Linksys division.

John Morrissey, a member of the ProFTPD core team, said in an email sent Thursday afternoon that members "currently believe the vulnerability used to gain access to ftp.proftpd.org was previously announced and fixed in ProFTPD, but was unpatched on the system in question." If correct, that means there's no evidence there's a critical vulnerability in the most recent version of the program.

The advisory and Morrissey's email have yet to say how many downloads of the infected software were logged from November 28 to December 1. ®

This article was updated to report details included in Morrissey's email.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.