Online Android forum hacked, user data accessed

Users have been advised to change their passwords since Tuesday

Android Forums, an online forum for Android users, was the target of a hacker attack which could have led to user information including passwords getting compromised, its operator Phandroid.com said on Thursday.

Members of Android Forums have been asked to change their passwords ever since Tuesday, after it was found that the server hosting the forum was compromised and the website's database was accessed. The forum has over 1 million users.

"The user table of AndroidForum's database was (at a minimum) accessed," an Android Forums Community Manager, called Phases, said in a post on the website on Tuesday. He said it was completely possible that data was downloaded, and the forum has taken action assuming that it was.

Information in the user database included information such as unique IDs, usernames, emails, hashed and 'salted" passwords, and registration IP addresses, according to the post. A hash is a cryptographic representation of a password, and salted hashes involve inserting random characters into the hash.

Following the incident, passwords were changed to random strings, starting with those of about 100 staff. All code in the database and the file system was also reviewed for malicious edits and uploads, and it was checked that other sites on the network were not accessed.

The hack was most likely an email harvesting attempt, the community manager said. "A spammer could theoretically attempt to bulk e-mail all AF users with the user database," he added.

Users have been advised to change their password on Android Forums and other sites where they may use the same username and password. "This can be done while logged in through your UserCP, or using the "forgot your password?" page if logged out," according to the post.

"It seems like online security breaches are, unfortunately, just a sign of our times," Phandroid said referring to the hacks reported during the week at Yahoo and Formspring. It also said it was looking for a penetration tester that can help it with an audit.

A group of hackers published on the Internet on Thursday a list of over 453,000 log-in credentials that were allegedly stolen from a database associated with an unnamed Yahoo service.

Formspring, a social networking site, said Tuesday that it had a security breach which may have led to some user passwords being accessed. 420,000 password hashes from Formspring were posted to a security forum. The company disabled all user passwords, and prompted its about 28 million users to change them the next time they logged in.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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