08/21/2008

Joomla hacking for everybody because who is patching ?

When an exploit is out it is a ratrace between the vulnerable and the attackers. It is the enormous responsability of the distributors of the software to get out the patch and to manage the operation untill the situation is under control again. This is not the case with Joomla and this seems to be growing out of control. The problem for the security community is that now a whole infrastructure of hacked websites is being set up that can be used to install viruses, illegal downloads, spamming pages, attack scripts and whatever you would like to place on another page and not your own.

The Belgian FCCU says that they have many complaints and questions but that it is not their responsability to patch the systems and it seems to be that they can do very little to stop the tide of scanning, attacking and hacking. Imagine with between 20 and 50 sites hacked each day on Belgian servers you have make for each a forensic, a police and a judicial report. Just not doable. It is time for the CERT or someone else to step in and get all the ISP together and inform them of the situation and what should be done. It is clear that the open source community does not have the means to organize this.

If you are a hoster or have a website and you are using Joomla you should really have a second look at what you are doing because now every attacker knows that when he finds a bug in Joomla or in one of the popular templates or plugins, he will have a field day and even after it is discovered it will take weeks before most (if any) of the sites is patched. 

So if you really care about the content of your website and would not like to have it hacked or compromised you should really think about letting it be hosted on a central professional securitydefended hoster. The other hostingplatforms should also start developing tools to convert joomla content to their platforms.

You have in fact three options as a hoster/website owner.

1. I don't need a website really, I go to myspace, facebook, central blogsystem like this or just documents with Google docs and so on

2. I go to a central Joomla hoster that is professional enough to patch and defend its systems on a permanent basis (many did proof not to be up to this but maybe they have learned their lesson)

3. I change to another professional system hosted or implemented by professionals. THis amateurism is becoming too dangerous for me and the image of my business or myself

and to Joomla, get your act together and send mails to any joomla site with the highest priority because if everybody is Joomla hacking now there must be a big problem with the level of patching and this will - aside the general insecurity problems it will install on the internet - affect the whole of your community. ANd do it now and not later. This seems to be your Blaster worm and it could blast you away.

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