Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Incident Response

User Data Stolen in Ubuntu Forums Breach

Canonical informed users on Friday that the Ubuntu Forums website was breached after a hacker exploited a known vulnerability in one of the add-ons installed on the vBulletin-powered site.

Canonical informed users on Friday that the Ubuntu Forums website was breached after a hacker exploited a known vulnerability in one of the add-ons installed on the vBulletin-powered site.

Jane Silber, chief executive officer at Canonical, said in a security notice that the company learned about the breach on July 14, after someone claimed to have a copy of the Ubuntu Forums database.

An investigation revealed that the attacker exploited a known SQL injection vulnerability in Forum Runner, an add-on that allows users to access various types of forums from a native app installed on their mobile phone.

The hacker leveraged the flaw to access the forum’s “user” table, which stores usernames, email addresses and IPs for the site’s more than 2 million registered users. Silber pointed out that the attacker had not gained access to valid passwords.

“No active passwords were accessed; the passwords stored in [the user] table were random strings as the Ubuntu Forums rely on Ubuntu Single Sign On for logins,” Silber said. “The attacker did download these random strings (which were hashed and salted).”

The company is confident that the hacker did not access other Canonical or Ubuntu services, code repositories, or front-end servers. Canonical also believes the attacker was not able to do anything else than read information from the database.

Canonical says it has patched the vulnerability exploited by the attacker and updated its vBulletin installation to ensure that it’s at the latest patch level. The servers hosting the forum have been wiped clean and rebuilt, and all system and database passwords have been reset.

In order to prevent such breaches in the future, Canonical has installed the ModSecurity web application firewall (WAF) and it has taken steps to ensure that vBulletin component vulnerabilities are patched faster.

This was not the first time the Ubuntu Forums got hacked. In 2013, an attacker accessed email addresses and MD5-hashed passwords after hijacking a moderator’s account. Roughly 1.8 million users were affected at the time.

Earlier this year, a hacker breached the servers of the popular Linux Mint distribution and replaced legitimate download links with ones pointing to a backdoored version of the operating system.

Related Reading: Data Leaked From Hacker Forum

Related Reading: Red Hat Warns of Ceph Website 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

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join this webinar to learn best practices that organizations can use to improve both their resilience to new threats and their response times to incidents.


Join this live webinar as we explore the potential security threats that can arise when third parties are granted access to a sensitive data or systems.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Data Breaches

LastPass DevOp engineer's home computer hacked and implanted with keylogging malware as part of a sustained cyberattack that exfiltrated corporate data from the cloud...

Application Security

GitHub this week announced the revocation of three certificates used for the GitHub Desktop and Atom applications.


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...

Data Breaches

GoTo said an unidentified threat actor stole encrypted backups and an encryption key for a portion of that data during a 2022 breach.

Incident Response

Cygnvs emerges from stealth mode with an incident response platform and $55 million in Series A funding.

Application Security

Password management firm LastPass says the hackers behind an August data breach stole a massive stash of customer data, including password vault data that...

Incident Response

Implementation of security automation can be overwhelming, and has remained a barrier to adoption

Incident Response

Meta has developed a ten-phase cyber kill chain model that it believes will be more inclusive and more effective than the existing range of...