Hackers Targeting Mambo Security Holes

Hackers are actively seeking out unpatched versions of the Mambo content management system, which recently repaired a serious security hole. The latest exploit attempts target a different vulnerability than the Mare.D worm, which grabbed headlines last month but apparently did limited damage to Mambo sites. Sites running on Mambo should upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible.

On Feb. 24 James Bercegay of GulfTech Security Research announced vulnerabilities in Mambo that could allow a server compromise by a remote attacker, including several methods of an SQL injection attack. Bercegay also found a way for attackers to use Mambo's file inclusion features to breach system security. Last July Bercegay discovered a weakness in XML-RPC libraries used by numerous PHP-based blogging and content management apps.

In late February the Mare.D worm targeted an older security hole in Mambo (patched in February 2005) as well as the XML-RPC vulnerability. The worm doesn't appear to have affected many Mambo sites, however.

Internet criminals often target unpatched vulnerabilities in open source CMS apps including phpBB, PostNuke, Mambo, Drupal and others, hoping to build botnets for use in phishing scams and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Compromised web forums hosted more than 600 phishing spoof sites identified by the Netcraft Toolbar Community in 2005.