OpenWRT forum suffers data breach

A person on a laptop to depict hacking
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Hackers have infiltrated the popular open source OpenWRT forum and have made off with personal information and statistical details about the platform’s users.

An administrator account on OpenWRT was violated as part of the cyber attack, although forum moderators don’t yet know how the account was accessed, according to a notice published this weekend.

This forum serves as a platform for users enthusiastic about the open-source Linux-based router operating system OpenWRT to discuss software development as well as projects, among other subjects. The software itself is primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic.

According to site statistics, there are roughly 27,000 users registered with the forum and roughly 4,100 active users within the last 30 days.

The compromised administrative account had a “good password”, but two-factor authentication (2FA), designed to add an additional layer of security to protect against brute force attacks, wasn’t enabled.

“The intruder was able to download a copy of the user list that contains email addresses, handles, and other statistical information about the users of the forum,” OpenWRT moderators said in the notice.

“Although we do not believe the intruder could download the database, from an abundance of caution, we are following the advice of the Discourse community and have reset all passwords on the Forum, and flushed any API keys.”

Moderators have urged users to manually reset their passwords as a result of the hack and to brace themselves for phishing attacks, given their email addresses have been compromised. Users with GitHub logins or OAuth keys should also reset or refresh these.

The OpenWRT forum has also urged users to reset passwords by manually entering a link into a web browser, as opposed to clicking any links. This is because the hackers may yet attempt to further lure users by sending fake password reset emails.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.