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More attacks against open source software

As developers continue to make open source software harder to exploit, hackers have increasingly spread malicious code at the source.

Open source attacks can have a high impact due to their effect on powerful servers that deliver email and serve webpages.

The latest attacks against Webmin online admin tool and RubyGems, a hosting service, saw backdoor applications slipped into a dozen libraries downloaded by hundreds of thousands of server administrators.

For Webmin, the attacker made a subtle change to a Webmin script called password_change.cgi. The change gave others the ability to send a command through a special URL that an infected Webmin server would then execute with root privileges.

The attack against RubyGems occured in 11 libraries within its repository. This backdoor allowed attackers to use pre-chosen credentials to remotely execute commands of their choice on infected servers.

Without a clean reinstall of the operating system and application, along with key and credential rotation, the risk of systems remaining compromised is significant.

Read the full article at Ars Technica.


By Jo Lo
Jo Lo

About the author

Jo Lo

Jo is a digital producer at Pattern. Jo has a background in communication, and has worked as a producer and editor for organisations such as Les Mills International, Tailor, Auckland Libraries and XtraMSN/Telecom. From 2007-2009, Jo was the web editor for Taste and Metro magazines.