cPanel, Inc. Announces Additional Internal Security Enhancements

This is a follow up on the status of the security compromise that cPanel, Inc. experienced on Thursday, February 21, 2013.

As mentioned in our email sent to cPanel Server Administrators who’ve opened a ticket with us in the past 6 months, on February 21 we discovered that one of the proxy servers we utilize in the technical support department had been compromised. The cPanel Security Team’s investigation into this matter is ongoing.

We’d like to relay additional details about the intrusion that we have gathered with you, and we want to explain what preventative measures we’re putting into place that will introduce additional layers of security to our new and existing systems. How the server was accessed and compromised is not clear, but we know a few key facts that we’re sharing.

Here’s what we know:

The proxy machine compromised in this incident was, at the time, utilized to access customer servers by some of our Technical Analysts. It’s intent was to provide a layer of security between local & remote workstations, as well as customer servers.
This proxy machine was compromised by a malicious third-party by compromising a single workstation used by one of our Technical Analysts.
Only a small group of our Technical Analysts used this particular machine for logins, which means that fortunately only some customers who opened a ticket in the past 6-months would be affected by this compromise.
There is no evidence that any sensitive customer data was exposed, and there is no evidence that the actual database was compromised.

Here’s what we’re doing about it:

Documentation is now provided at:http://go.cpanel.net/checkyourserver which we encourage system administrators to use to determine the status of their machine.

We have restructured the process used to access customer servers to significantly reduce the risk of this type of sophisticated attack in the future. We have also been working on implementing multiple changes to our internal support systems and procedures as outlined for your information below.

Our system will now generate and provide you with a unique SSH key for each new support ticket submitted.
We are providing tools to authorize and de-authorize SSH keys, along with instructions on how to use them whenever you submit a ticket.

Our system will generate a single-use username and password credentials for accessing WebHost Manager that are only valid while our staff is logged into your server.
Additional enhancements are also planned behind the scene that should be transparent to our customers.
With these new layers of security in place, it is now possible for our Technical Analysts to service your support requests without you providing your server’s password for nearly all requests involving machines running our cPanel & WHM product going forward. However, we will still offer the ability to provide your password for server migrations, or in the event you cannot use SSH keys.

cPanel’s Internal Development Team has been working on an automated solution with the end goal of eliminating the need for our Technical Analysts to view any passwords you provide during the ticket submission process. We are testing this solution right now, and hope to have it fully implemented in the next few days.

cPanel, Inc. understands your concerns expressed over the last few days, and we very much appreciate the cooperation and patience you have provided us during this time as we work through all of this.

Thank you.

Posted in: Security