Popular Mac news and information site MacRumors.Com said that its forums site was hacked on Monday, according to a notice alerting readers that usernames, email addresses and (hashed) passwords were likely obtained by the attacker(s).
The site is powered by popular forum software vBulletin, and according to page source code, version 3.8.7.
As of late Tuesday night, statistics displayed that MacRumors Forums had 860,182 members.
“In situations like this, it’s best to assume that your MacRumors Forum username, email address and (hashed) password is now known,” Arnold Kim, Founder and Editor of MacRumors.com, wrote in a security notice Tuesday evening.
According to Kim, an attacker was able to login with a moderator account who was then able to escalate their privileges in order to steal user login credentials.
Kim said the attack appeared to be similar to a July 2013 hack of UbuntuForums.com, a large community site operated by Canonical Ltd., the company behind the open source Linux OS Ubuntu. As part of the hack, attackers defaced the site and went a step further and accessed the user database. At the time, the site claimed to have over 1.8 million registered members.
Kim, as would be sound advice in the event of any breach, advised that users change their MacRumors Forms password, and if the same password is used on any other site, change it there as well.
The second piece of advice is important, as some users are already reporting suspicious and malicious activity in accounts they have with other services.
“I use a Yahoo email for my profile on this site. I received a notification from Yahoo saying my account was locked due to suspicious activity,” one MacRumors Forms wrote in a forum posting. “I was surprised, as I hadn’t been doing anything with it in the last few days.”
“Ha, that’s the exactly same thing that happened to me yesterday,” another forum member responded. “So the hacker uses our emails registered with MacRumors and tried to get to Yahoo email accounts, using the same passwords. I didn’t use the same password, so I guess they failed. But they could get into someone else account.”
These attacks are more examples of attackers leveraging privileged accounts to successfully compromise an organization. Theft, misuse, and exploitation of privileged accounts is a key tactic in each phase of APTs and other targeted attack campaigns, according to a report from CyberSheath released earlier this year.
According to Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report, 76 percent of network intrusions exploited weak or stolen credentials.
Kim said the MacRumors Forums breach is being investigating with the help of a 3rd party security researcher.