After a relatively quite holiday period attacks on popular services on the Internet seem to have picked up again. After the Zappos incident a few days ago, it is now the popular web hoster Dreamhost who noticed unauthorized activity within one of the company's databases. Dreamhost is not going into further detail but mentions that they do not have evidence that customer login information or passwords have been dumped by the attackers.
The company nevertheless decided to reset all FTP and shell user access passwords for all Dreamhost users. This should not be confused with the account password used to log into the Dreamhost site itself though. Dreamhost customers who are using the same passwords for multiple services should change passwords on all of them to eliminate the possibility of unauthorized access to those accounts.
Dreamhost furthermore notes that users should also be changing email passwords of all Dreamhost managed email addresses as soon as possible.
We have been sending out update emails to every account owner we have, letting them know what happened, and how to proceed from here on out. As a precaution, we advise every user to change all email passwords as well. We are not forcing this change, however, so make sure you take care of that ASAP.
Shell and ftp passwords can be changed in the Manage Users interface which is accessible here. Dreamhost customers need to click on the edit button next to the ftp or shell user to change the log in password for that account.
A company representative noted that neither credit card data nor web panel logins were accessed by the attackers. If you read through all of the 270 or so comments on the Dreamhost blog, you will notice that many customers were quite infuriated about the level of information they received. Web panel access was not available at all times due to users trying to change their passwords, and rumors spread that Dreamhost was storing passwords in plain text (which was later refuted by a Dreamhost employee who stated that they were hashed).
Lets take a look at what Dreamhost customers need to do right now:
Passwords with a reasonable length should be safe, but it is nevertheless better to make the changes to be certain that the attackers cannot use successfully decrypted passwords to gain account or service access. A password manager like KeePass can aid in the creation of secure passwords.
Are you a Dreamhost customer? If so, when did you receive notification about the security incident and what did you experience afterwards?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.