WebHosting Talk User Data Hacked

The popular web hosting discussion community Web Hosting Talk (www.webhostingtalk.com) was hacked over the weekend, and some user data was compromised and distributed by hackers, according to posts made by forum moderators over the last two days.

After several lengthy periods of downtime on Saturday and Sunday, the forum returned, but missing a collection of posts that appears to stretch back to October of 2008.

A post Sunday evening by a forum moderator with the username SoftWareRevue said the site's database tables had been corrupted in an attack, and its offsite backup servers had gone down. The site was restored using an old database temporarily while database information was being restored.

Another post from the same moderator followed Monday, providing more details on the impact of the attack and outage.

"We've since learned that this very deliberate, sophisticated and calculated hack against Web Hosting Talk was carried out by gaining access to our offsite backup servers," says the post From our backup servers, the hacker gained access to the WHT db server. The malicious attacker deleted all backups from the backup servers within the infrastructure before deleting tables from our db server. We were alerted of the db exploitation and quickly shut down the site to prevent further damage."

According to the post, the attacker is in possession of files containing user names, email addresses and hashed passwords, which, according to the poster would be extremely difficult to decrypt. No credit card or PayPal information was compromised.

Nevertheless, it might be prudent for users of Web Hosting Talk to update their password just to be on the safe side.

The attacker, however, has reportedly been posting the information to file sharing sites, and administrators are working to stop the proliferation of the information out of concern for the email list falling into the hands of spammers.

According to SoftWareRevue's post, the site's operators are working to recover the data deleted from the backup servers, though it is not yet clear whether a more recent backup will be recovered.

In the meantime, the site is still running off the older backup.

WHT is looking for information about anyone who might have been involved in the attack.

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