Drupal’s security team has released a “public service announcement” calling upon all users of the Drupal content management framework to consider their sites as compromised, and to start afresh, unless their sites were patched against the SQL injection attack revealed two weeks ago within seven hours of the announcement of the vulnerability.
“You should proceed under the assumption that every Drupal 7 website was compromised unless updated or patched before Oct 15th, 11pm UTC, that is 7 hours after the announcement,” the Drupal security announcement said.
The Drupal security team said that it saw automated attacks compromising unpatched sites within hours of the SQL injection’s announcement, and the simply updating to the latest Drupal release will not secure any vulnerable sites, as attackers may have already accessed data without leaving any trace of their presence.
“Updating to version 7.32 or applying the patch fixes the vulnerability but does not fix an already compromised website. If you find that your site is already patched but you didn’t do it, that can be a symptom that the site was compromised — some attacks have applied the patch as a way to guarantee they are the only attacker in control of the site.”
In order to remove any backdoors that attackers may have added to a system upon which a vulnerable Drupal install resided, the Drupal security team recommends that websites be restored from a backup made before October 15.
The following eight point plan to restore a vulnerable site is recommended:
- Take the website offline by replacing it with a static HTML page
- Notify the server’s administrator emphasizing that other sites or applications hosted on the same server might have been compromised via a backdoor installed by the initial attack
- Consider obtaining a new server, or otherwise remove all the website’s files and database from the server. (Keep a copy safe for later analysis.)
- Restore the website (Drupal files, uploaded files and database) from backups from before 15 October 2014
- Update or patch the restored Drupal core code
- Put the restored and patched/updated website back online
- Manually redo any desired changes made to the website since the date of the restored backup
- Audit anything merged from the compromised website, such as custom code, configuration, files or other artifacts, to confirm they are correct and have not been tampered with.
The popular open source Drupal framework powers many web sites, large and small, across the internet.
Last month, the Australian government signed a four-year deal with Acquia to implement its Drupal-based web Government Content Management System (GovCMS).
A spokesperson for Acquia, at the time, said that the government’s conservative forecasts for the number of websites to utilise the new system would be around 180, and possibly up to 400 sites.