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Fedora servers breached after external compromise

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Servers belonging to the Fedora Project were breached over the weekend by an unknown hacker who gained access though a team member's account.

The compromise of fedorapeople.org meant that the attacker had the ability, however briefly, to push changes to Fedora's SCM system. There's no evidence any such updates were made or that Fedora's systems were subject to any vulnerabilities or exploits.

“While the user in question had the ability to commit to Fedora SCM, the Infrastructure Team does not believe that the compromised account was used to do this, or cause any builds or updates in the Fedora build system,” Fedora Project Leader Jared Smith wrote. “The Infrastructure Team believes that Fedora users are in no way threatened by this security breach and we have found no evidence that the compromise extended beyond this single account.”

The breach was discovered on Saturday when an unnamed Fedora contributor received an email informing him that details for his Fedora account had been changed. Investigators quickly determined the account credentials “were compromised externally” and restricted access to the account. They also took filesystem snapshots of all systems the account had access to and audited logs immediately following the breach.

It's not the first time an open-source project has been attacked. Last month, 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 granted unauthorized access to their systems.

Also last month, the main source-code repository for the Free Software Foundation was shut down following an attack that compromised some of the website's account passwords. And in April, hackers penetrated the heavily fortified servers for Apache.org, the second attack against the open-source project in eight months.

Fedora's Smith said investigators planned to delve deeper into the breach and would report any new findings. ®

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