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SourceForge mirror cracked: Served admin tool with gaping backdoor

Evil Korean load befouls 400 hapless punters

Security for virtualized datacentres

SourceForge has launched a clean-up after a backdoored copy of phpMyAdmin was served up from a Korean-based mirror maintained by the popular open source repository.

Logs indicate 400 users downloaded a corrupted copy of the phpMyAdmin database admin tool before the compromised code was identified and access to the ‘cdnetworks-kr-1′ mirror which had been dishing it out was suspended. The malicious code would have allowed hackers to remotely execute (potentially malicious) PHP code, according to a statement by phpMyAdmin's developers.

The compromised phpMyAdmin-3.5.2.2-all-languages.zip package was available for three days from 22 September until its discovery on 25 September, according to a statement by SourceForge, which said the tainted code was only served from its Korean mirror. The motives, tactics or perpetrators behind the breach remain unclear.

Through logs, we have identified that approximately 400 users downloaded this corrupted file. Notice of this corrupted file has been transmitted through security notice by the phpMyAdmin project and direct email to those users we were able to identify through our logs. The corrupted copy included malicious code allowing arbitrary commands by the Web server user.

It is our recommendation that downloaders of this corrupted file (which contains ‘server_sync.php’) assess risk and take action as they deem appropriate, including deletion of the corrupted file and downloading a fresh copy. Downloaders are at risk only if a corrupt copy of this software was obtained, installed on a server, and serving was enabled.

Security researchers at Tencent are credited with blowing the whistle on the breach. ®

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