NBC website defaced; did a flaw in IP.Board allow it to happen? (Updated)

NBC website defaced; did a flaw in IP.Board allow it to happen? (Updated)

NBC’s website has been defaced, with the hacker claiming that user information has been exposed and passwords have been dumped. The attack was reported to have started in the morning, and NBC quickly remove most of the defacement.

However, the website has been having problems loading – including the homepage being left distorted. In addition, not all pages have had the defacement removed – it still exists under the /extras/ page. (We’re not sure it will still be up at the time of publishing) The defacement features a starry background and, looking at the source code, plays a YouTube video.

The page also mentions “Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot” – a reference to Guy Fawkes day (November 5). That name, if you remember, also gives his name to the well-known mask used in V for Vendetta and the hacktivist group Anonymous. According to ZDNet, however, the group has not made any claims that it was responsible for the attack.

Other NBC sites, including NBC Sports’ Rotoworld; and a Lady Gaga fansite GagaDaily, were also hacked, according to Betabeat. Doing a Google search on the hackers, however, reveal a number of sites also defaced by the group.

And I’ve noted a common trend between NBC, NBC Sports Rotoword, GagaDaily and a site that was listed to be hacked by the Google search, Findlaw (owned by Thompson Reuters) – they all run IP.Board and the hack seems to have occurred on the forums component of the site. Maybe the hacker exploited a vulnerability in the forum software?

This is, of course, my own speculation. I could definitely be wrong. We have asked Findlaw and Evernote (the two sites above) to confirm if they have been hacked – they have not responded as of yet, at the time of writing.

UPDATE: it appears that Ars Technica has also concluded that it was a flaw from IP.Board. It also notes that it posted a critical service update to the software on October 25 – we’re not sure if NBC or any of the sites mentioned had updated the software.

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