Feeds

Popular FTP package download tarball poisoned

'Someone having a few lulz', suggests author

Website security in corporate America

A backdoor has been discovered in the source code of a widely used FTP package.

Version 2.3.4 of the source code for vsftpd – billed as probably the most secure and fastest FTP server for Unix-like systems – was replaced with a compromised version with an invalid signature. The dodgy tarball version of the code was uploaded onto the main download site and available for around three days before the hack was detected by Chris Evans, the author of vsftpd, on Sunday (3 July).

Evans has moved the main download to a new site, https://security.appspot.com/vsftpd.html, which is hosted by Google App Engine. The counterfeit code was poorly disguised and it is unlikely that too many of the tech-savvy users of vsftpd fell victim to the hack. Nonetheless the incident illustrates that code repositories can be poisoned and the importance of checking digital signatures as a safeguard against falling victim to such shenanigans.

Evans reckons the whole incident is more likely the result of a prank than a serious attempt to compromise corporate file transfer facilities.

"The backdoor payload is interesting," Evans writes. "In response to a :) smiley face in the FTP username, a TCP callback shell is attempted. There is no obfuscation.

"More interestingly, there's no attempt to broadcast any notification of installation of the bad package. So it's unclear how victims would be identified; and also pretty much guaranteed that any major redistributor would notice the badness. Therefore, perhaps someone was just having some lulz instead of seriously trying to cause trouble." ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.