Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Malware & Threats

Linux Mint Website, Forum Hacked

The developers of the popular Linux Mint distribution have shut down the official website and forum after they were both breached by a hacker.

The developers of the popular Linux Mint distribution have shut down the official website and forum after they were both breached by a hacker.

Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre informed users on Sunday that a hacker breached their website and replaced legitimate download links with ones pointing to a modified version of the ISO for Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition. Users who downloaded the image via torrents or a direct HTTP link are not affected.

According to Lefebvre, altered ISOs for the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Linux Mint were hosted on a server in Bulgaria. The project lead said only the 64-bit version was linked from the hacked website, but provided valid signatures for all versions of 17.3 Cinnamon to allow users who downloaded the ISO on February 20 to determine if they have a legitimate copy or one that has a backdoor.

“The hacked ISOs are hosted on 5.104.175.212 and the backdoor connects to absentvodka.com. Both lead to Sofia, Bulgaria, and the name of 3 people over there,” Lefebvre said. “What we don’t know is the motivation behind this attack.”

Lefebvre said the attacker breached Linux Mint systems via the blog, which is powered by the latest version of WordPress running a custom theme. The hacker uploaded a PHP backdoor to the themes directory of the installation.

A security firm has been called in to investigate the incident and determine how exactly the attacker broke in, but Linux Mint developers noted that there is no evidence that a WordPress zero-day vulnerability is involved.

The backdoored version of Mint includes a Linux Trojan dubbed Tsunami, which has been around for well over a decade. The malware can be leveraged by malicious actors for DDoS attacks, to download files and execute shell commands on the infected system.

In addition to replacing Linux Mint download links, the attacker also breached the official forum (forums.linuxmint.com). The compromised phpBB forum database stored information such as usernames, hashed passwords, email addresses, details included by users in their profile or signature, and information posted on the forum, including in private topics and messages.

Users have been advised to change their passwords on all websites where the same password has been set. Lefebvre warned that malicious actors might be able to crack weak passwords.

As some users pointed out on Sunday, the Linux Mint forum database, along with shell access, had been offered for sale for $85, or 0.1949 Bitcoins. According to the Have I Been Pwned service, a total of more than 71,000 accounts are included in the leak.

Lefebvre said the forum will likely be restored on a different server and all user passwords will be reset. Linux Mint developers plan on buying more servers and separate services in an effort to prevent attackers from compromising multiple services if they breach one server.

Related: User Data Compromised in DayZ Forums Breach

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) 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.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Cybercrime

CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.

Cybercrime

Chinese threat actor DragonSpark has been using the SparkRAT open source backdoor in attacks targeting East Asian organizations.

Application Security

Electric car maker Tesla is using the annual Pwn2Own hacker contest to incentivize security researchers to showcase complex exploit chains that can lead to...

Malware & Threats

Norway‎-based DNV said a ransomware attack on its ship management software impacted 1,000 vessels.

Malware & Threats

Cybercrime in 2017 was a tumultuous year "full of twists and turns", with new (but old) infection methods, a major return to social engineering,...

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Malware & Threats

A GitHub Codespaces feature meant to help with code development and collaboration can be abused for malware delivery.