Emergency vBulletin patch fixes dangerous SQL injection vulnerability

Attackers could exploit the flaw to steal information from the databases of websites running vBulletin 5

Developers of the popular vBulletin Internet forum software have issued emergency patches Wednesday in order to fix a SQL injection vulnerability that could allow attackers to read and manipulate information stored in the databases of vBulletin-based sites.

Code patches that need to be applied manually were released for versions 5.0.4, 5.0.5, 5.1.0, 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of vBulletin and can be downloaded by registered customers. The vulnerability only affects vBulletin 5 -- officially known as vBulletin 5 Connect -- and not vBulletin 4.

"The issue may allow attackers to perform SQL injection attacks on your database," said Wayne Luke, the vBulletin technical support lead, in an announcement on the official support forum. "It is recommended that all users update as soon as possible."

Customers who have their sites hosted on the vBulletin Cloud service will get the patches automatically as part of regular maintenance, Luke said. VBulletin version 5.1.3, which is currently in alpha stage of development and not ready for production environments, will include the fix in its next release, he said.

SQL injection is a relatively common but dangerous Web application vulnerability that allows attackers to execute malicious SQL commands against a site's database. It can be used to read potentially sensitive information from the database like user details, to write bogus information into the database and in certain cases to even execute arbitrary code on the server.

According to vBulletin Solutions, the company that develops the commercial forum software, over 100,000 community websites run on vBulletin, including some operated by Zynga, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures, NASA, Valve Corporation and other well known companies.

Attackers have targeted vBulletin-based websites before. Last year hackers stole user email addresses and password hashes from UbuntuForums.org, a community forum for the Ubuntu Linux distribution with over 1.8 million registered accounts. The support forum for the openSUSE Linux distribution, which also runs on vBulletin, was hacked twice in the past; last time in January by a hacker who claimed to have used a previously unknown vBulletin exploit.

The official vBulletin forum itself was compromised in November 2013 after a staging server was accidentally left vulnerable to a vBulletin security issue patched several weeks earlier.

According to a video posted Monday on YouTube, the new SQL injection vulnerability was discovered and reported to the vBulletin developers by a user named Nytro, who's the administrator of a hacker community forum called the Romanian Security Team (RST). Nytro confirmed the availability of patches for the flaw he found Thursday on the RST forum and said that he plans to release details about the exploit in a few days, after people have a chance to update.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchessecuritypatch managementExploits / vulnerabilitiesvBulletin Solutions

More about Electronic Arts AustraliaLinuxNASASonyUbuntuZynga

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place