US NIST's vulnerability database hacked

The agency says it pulled down two Web servers when malware was discovered

A U.S. government computer vulnerability database and several other websites at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have been down for nearly a week after workers there found malware on two Web servers.

NIST's National Vulnerability Database (NVD) website, which includes databases of security checklists, security-related software flaws and misconfigurations, is one of the sites affected, a NIST spokeswoman said in an email.

Last Friday, a NIST firewall "detected suspicious activity and took steps to block unusual traffic from reaching the Internet," said spokeswoman Gail Porter. "NIST began investigating the cause of the unusual activity and the servers were taken offline."

The National Vulnerability Database is a comprehensive repository of information that allows computers to conduct automated searches for the latest known vulnerabilities in hardware or software computing products, Porter said. The goal of the NVD is to help organizations and individuals better protect their computers against security threats.

Many government agencies and private businesses use the database, she said.

NIST traced the malware on two servers to a software vulnerability, she said.

The agency does not see any evidence that the NIST websites "were used to deliver malware to users of these NIST Web sites," Porter added.

NIST will restore the servers as soon as possible, she added.

Security professional Kim Halavakoski found the database was down when he went to the website to get some vulnerability information, he said in a Google+ post late Wednesday.

"Hacking the NVD and planting malware on the very place where we get our vulnerability information, that is just pure evil!" he wrote.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intrusionGovernment use of ITGail PorterKim HalavakoskisecuritygovernmentExploits / vulnerabilitiesU.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on PC World

Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?