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From James Sutherland <>
Subject Re: hacked by white hats; FTP down for good, bugzilla down until audited.
Date Thu, 04 May 2000 07:15:07 GMT
On Wed, 3 May 2000, Brian Behlendorf wrote:

> Hi.  We have been made aware (thanks to a very humorous banner ad for
> Microsoft Back Office on the front of!) that our particular
> configuration on of ftpd and bugzilla opened a security
> hole that allowed someone from the outside to get a shell account, and
> then get root.  We have been in contact with those who found the hole, and
> have closed up the misconfigurations that allowed this.

Well, it beats "I R 31337!! I 0w/\/ j00!!" I suppose :-)

Now, what rate do we charge MS for that advertising? <g>

A more serious question, though: Having got to a shell account via ftpd
and/or bugzilla, how did they get root??

> It is important to note that this is *not* a hole in the Apache web server
> or related software products.  I would encourage double-checking the
> PGP signatures of Apache releases for the immediate future.  
> However, I do not believe we are out of the woods yet.  Bugzilla has not
> been thoroughly audited, and while I am not worried about ftpd, simply
> having another deamon that can write files to the web server whose purpose
> has been completely superceded by others suggests that taking it down for
> good is the right idea.
> So I am taking down FTP - something that should have been done long ago.
> If there are FTP links on any of our pages (or on places like freshmeat)
> they should be change to HTTP.  There are enough high-quality text-mode
> HTTP clients that there is no point to having it up, save for mirroring,
> and we allow rsync and cvsup for that.  I will be contacting the mirror
> site admins list to communicate this.

That may be overkill; simply replacing it with a read-only "integrated"
ftpd should do the trick? (i.e. no way to exec() anything, no way to
change content, minimal opportunity for buffer overflow exploits)

> Also, I have taken down all installations of bugzilla on until
> it can be audited.  I will be performing a first pass tonight over it, but
> anyone else familiar with perl and willing to deal with rather ugly code
> is welcome to do so as well.  I will set it back up once I'm comfortable
> there's been at least one reasonable pass over the whole codebase and any
> obvious holes have been plugged.  This is only life-support though; I
> really don't think we should be using bugzilla once a suitable replacement
> is found.

I might take a look if I can find time - the more eyes the better!

> Finally, I think it can be said that this compromise was mostly due to a
> lack of discipline on the part of those who had root and set up services
> without considering the ramifications of the way they were installed.  I
> don't want to point fingers, since I'm probably at least as to blame as
> others, but I do feel that the policy of giving root access to a larger
> number of people than usual was probably a mistake.  Along those lines,
> I've changed the root password and removed everyone from group wheel but
> myself - sorry to be fascist about this but I kinda feel like at the end
> of the day it's my responsibility.  We'll come up with a strategy soon
> about granting sudo access to particular people for particular binaries so
> that I don't become a bottleneck again.
> The details will soon be posted to bugtraq.  Thanks.

Obviously the machine shouldn't be running anything unnecessary, but is
killing the ftpd necessary, rather than just replacing it with a more
secure one?


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