Breach, Data Security, Vulnerability Management

Nearly two million accounts compromised on Ubuntu Forums

Nearly two million user accounts on the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system forums were compromised on July 20.

How many victims? All forum users – roughly 1.82 million – were reported to be registered on the forums as of June.

What type of personal information? Every user's local username, password and email address from the Ubuntu Forums database. Passwords are stored as salted hashes.

What happened?  Website defacement was reported July 20 at roughly 3 p.m. and the site was taken down four minutes later.

What was the response? A splash page informing users of the breach was put up immediately after the site was taken down. Although passwords are not stored in plain text, users are strongly encouraged to change any similar passwords. Canonical, which manages the Ubuntu OS, has its security team working to restore normal operations.

Details: The Twitter handle ‘@Sputn1k_' appeared in an image on the defaced website. A “shoutout” to Twitter handle ‘@rootinabox' was pasted below. Ubuntu One, Launchpad and other Ubuntu/Canonical services were not affected by the breach. Some reports indicate Ubuntu Forums was vulnerable to hackers because they were running an older version of vBulletin.

Quote: “The Canonical [Information Security] team is working hard as we speak to restore normal operations,” it reads on the Ubuntu Forums splash page. “This page will be updated regularly with progress reports.”

Source:, “Ubuntu Forums is down for maintenance,” July 20, 2013.

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