Saturday, August 29, 2009 Hacked Via Compromised SSH Key

Via Blog -

This is a short overview of what happened on Friday August 28 2009 to the services. A more detailed post will come at a later time after we complete the audit of all machines involved.

On August 27th, starting at about 18:00 UTC an account used for automated backups for the ApacheCon website hosted on a 3rd party hosting provider was used to upload files to The account was accessed using SSH key authentication from this host.

To the best of our knowledge at this time, no end users were affected by this incident, and the attackers were not able to escalate their privileges on any machines.

While we have no evidence that downloads were affected, users are always advised to check digital signatures where provided. runs FreeBSD 7-STABLE and is more widely known as Minotaur serves as the seed host for most websites, in addition to providing shell accounts for all Apache committers.

The attackers created several files in the directory containing files for, including several CGI scripts. These files were then rsynced to our production webservers by automated processes. At about 07:00 on August 28 2009 the attackers accessed these CGI scripts over HTTP, which spawned processes on our production web services.

At about 07:45 UTC we noticed these rogue processes on, the Solaris 10 machine that normally serves our websites.

Within the next 10 minutes we decided to shutdown all machines involved as a precaution.

After an initial investigation we changed DNS for most services to, a machine not affected and provided a basic downtime message.

After investigation, we determined that our European fallover and backup machine,, was not affected. While the some files had been copied to the machine by automated rsync processes, none of them were executed on the host, and we restored from a ZFS snapshot to a version of all our websites before any accounts were compromised.

At this time several machines remain offline, but most user facing websites and services are now available.

We will provide more information as we can.


F-Secure has a screenshot of the basic downtime message that was shown for a short time.

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