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Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:09

Another highly critical flaw in Drupal, but no details again


The Drupal open source content management system team has announced another highly critical flaw in the CMS that runs some high-profile websites, among them the White House and some 450 Australian Government sites.

The announcement said the vulnerability, within multiple subsystems, could be exploited to execute code remotely on systems running Drupal 7.x and 8.x, adding a few hours after initial publication that it was being exploited in the wild.

The Australian Government sites run a customised version of Drupal known as govCMS which has been built by the Boston-based open source firm Acquia.

"This potentially allows attackers to exploit multiple attack vectors on a Drupal site, which could result in the site being compromised," the advisory said, without spelling out any of the technical details.

It said the vulnerability was related to a highly critical flaw, announced on 28 March, and now being exploited in the wild. No details were released by the Drupal project about that bug either, but the Israeli security firm Check Point provided a detailed analysis on 12 April.

There was an indication of panic among the Drupal team, with the announcement saying: "If you are unable to update immediately, or if you are running a Drupal distribution that does not yet include this security release, you can attempt to apply the patch below to fix the vulnerability until you are able to update completely.

And further it said: "These patches will only work if your site already has the fix from SA-CORE-2018-002 (the flaw announced on 29 March) applied. (If your site does not have that fix, it may already be compromised.)"

A link to an earlier advisory issued on 13 April said: "Sites not patched by Wednesday, 2018-04-11 may be compromised. This is the date when evidence emerged of automated attack attempts. It is possible targeted attacks occurred before that.

"Simply updating Drupal will not remove backdoors or fix compromised sites. You should assume that the host is also compromised and that any other sites on a compromised host are compromised as well."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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