CyberCrimeSecuritySecurity Management

Linode Resets Passwords After Possible Breach

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Hosting firm resets all passwords after user credentials found on an “external server”, following DDoS attack

Hosting firm Linode has carried out a system-wide password reset after “the discovery of two user credentials on an external machine.”

Linode, which hosts virtual private servers for its customers, was taken offline in late December after a crippling denial-of-service attack. There is concern that this DDoS attack may have acted as a disguise for hackers accessing its customer database.

Password Reset

Linode revealed the password reset in an advisory, in which the New Jersey-based firm warned its customers that they will be prompted to set a new password upon their next login.

“A security investigation into the unauthoriSed login of three accounts has led us to the discovery of two user credentials on an external machine,” it warned. “This implies user credentials could have been read from our database, either offline or on, at some point. The user table contains usernames, email addresses, securely hashed passwords and encrypted two-factor seeds. The resetting of your password will invalidate the old credentials.”

HSBCIt said this may have contributed to the unauthorised access of the three Linode customer accounts, which were logged into via The affected customers were notified immediately, and the firm said it had found no other evidence of access to Linode infrastructure, including host machines and virtual machine data.

“The entire Linode team has been working around the clock to address both this issue and the ongoing DDoS attacks,” it said. “We’ve retained a well-known third-party security firm to aid in our investigation. Multiple Federal law enforcement authorities are also investigating and have cases open for both issues.”

There is concern that the user credentials may be linked to the recent DDoS attack the firm suffered in late December.

“You may be wondering if the same person or group is behind these malicious acts,” said Linode. “We are wondering the same thing. At this point we have no information about who is behind either issue. We have not been contacted by anyone taking accountability or making demands. The acts may be related and they may not be.”

“We sincerely apologise for the recent disruptions in your Linode service,” it said. “Thank you for your patience, understanding and ongoing trust in Linode.”

Previous Attacks

This is not the first time that Linode has suffered at the hands of online criminals.

In April 2013, the firm was attacked by a hacker group (Hack The Planet), which accessed the company’s database that held credit card data and passwords.

Those hackers exploited a vulnerability in Adobe’s ColdFusion application server.

In March 2012 some servers it was hosting was hit and the hackers made off with bitcoins worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Take our cloud computing quiz here!