Kernel.org Server Rooted and 448 users credentials compromised

The main kernel.org page is currently carrying a notice that the site has suffered a security breach. "Earlier this month, a number of servers in the kernel.org infrastructure were compromised. We discovered this August 28th. While we currently believe that the source code repositories were unaffected, we are in the process of verifying this and taking steps to enhance security across the kernel.org infrastructure." As the update mentions, there's little to be gained by tampering with the git repositories there anyway. The infection occurred no later than August 12 and wasn't detected for another 17 days. The systems were infected by an off-the-shelf, a self-injecting rootkit known as Phalanx that has attacked sensitive Linux systems before.
What happened?
  • Intruders gained root access on the server Hera. We believe they may have gained this access via a compromised user credential; how they managed to exploit that to root access is currently unknown and is being investigated.
  • Files belonging to ssh (openssh, openssh-server and openssh-clients) were modified and running live.
  • A trojan startup file was added to the system start up scripts
  • User interactions were logged, as well as some exploit code. We have retained this for now.
  • Trojan initially discovered due to the Xnest /dev/mem error message w/o Xnest installed; have been seen on other systems. It is unclear if systems that exhibit this message are susceptible, compromised or not. If developers see this, and you don't have Xnest installed, please investigate.
  • It *appears* that 3.1-rc2 might have blocked the exploit injector, we don't know if this is intentional or a side affect of another bugfix or change.
What Has Been Done so far:
  • We have currently taken boxes off line to do a backup and are in the process of doing complete reinstalls.
  • We have notified authorities in the United States and in Europe to assist with the investigation
  • We will be doing a full reinstall on all boxes on kernel.org
  • We are in the process of doing an analysis on the code within git, and the tarballs to confirm that nothing has been modified.
Read More at https://www.kernel.org

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