Security Experts:

cPanel User Database Targeted by Hackers

cPanel Inc., the company behind the popular web hosting account management tool, informed customers over the weekend that their account information may have been compromised.

Attackers attempted to breach one of cPanel’s user databases containing names, contact information, and passwords, which were encrypted and salted. The company said it interrupted the breach, but the hackers might have still gained access to the details of cPanel Store and Manage2 users.

cPanel has pointed out that credit card information is stored on a separate system specially set up for this purpose and it’s not affected by the breach.

“Although current passwords are stored salted and encrypted, we are accelerating our move to stronger password encryption at the same time in order to minimize disruption. In order to safeguard the system, we will force all users with older password encryption to change their passwords,” Aaron Stone, director of internal development at cPanel, told customers in a statement.

On January 18, cPanel released new builds designed to patch 20 vulnerabilities in cPanel & WHM (WebHost Manager) versions 11.54, 11.52, 11.50 and 11.48. The list of issues, all identified by cPanel’s own security team, includes a few severe vulnerabilities that allow attackers to read arbitrary files and execute arbitrary code.

However, Stone pointed out that the cPanel security updates are not related in any way to the recent incident.

This is not the first time cPanel has warned customers of a breach. In February 2013, the company informed users who had opened a support ticket in the previous six months that a server in the technical support department had been compromised.

cPanel asked customers at the time to change server passwords provided to cPanel tech support via the ticket system.

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Eduard Kovacs is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.