Security Experts:

WordPress.Com Hacked, Attackers Gain Root Access to Servers

Developing Story

Automattic, the parent company that operates WordPress, made an announcement this morning that it has been hacked, resulting what the company said was a low-level (root) break-in to several of their servers. The company warned that potentially anything on those servers could have been revealed to the attackers, including client source code.

While WordPress is ALREADY open source, many would be quick to think this is not big deal. However, many installations have hard coded passwords embedded and custom code, along with API keys and other data which could be useful in a direct attack or to setup a platform for malware distribution.

WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg made the following announcement in a blog post this moring.

Tough note to communicate today: Automattic had a low-level (root) break-in to several of our servers, and potentially anything on those servers could have been revealed.

We have been diligently reviewing logs and records about the break-in to determine the extent of the information exposed, and re-securing avenues used to gain access. We presume our source code was exposed and copied. While much of our code is Open Source, there are sensitive bits of our and our partners’ code. Beyond that, however, it appears information disclosed was limited.

Based on what we’ve found, we don’t have any specific suggestions for our users beyond reiterating these security fundamentals:

• Use a strong password, meaning something random with numbers and punctuation. • Use different passwords for different sites.

• If you have used the same password on different sites, switch it to something more secure.

(Tools like 1Password, LastPass, and KeePass make it easy to keep track of different unique logins.)

Our investigation into this matter is ongoing and will take time to complete. As I said above, we’ve taken comprehensive steps to prevent an incident like this from occurring again. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact our support.

WordPress.Com targets larger blogs and publishers with a hosted version of the open source blogging solution that powers millions of blogs (Wordpress.org).

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.