Download URLs for two packages of the phpBB forum software were compromised

Pierluigi Paganini January 28, 2018

Hacker compromised the download URLs of the popular phpBB forum software, for around three hours they were delivering infected versions of legitimate files.

The popular phpBB free and open source forum software has been compromised by an unknown hacker. According to a security advisory released by the phpBB maintainers, the attacker has compromised download URLs for two phpBB packages.

The downloads URLs compromised were related to the phpBB 3.2.2 full package and the phpBB 3.2.1 -> 3.2.2 automatic updater.

“Earlier today, we identified that the download URLs for two phpBB packages available on were redirecting to a server that did not belong to us. We immediately took down the links and launched an investigation.” reads the announcement published by the development team.

“The point of entry was a third-party site. Neither nor the phpBB software were exploited in this attack.
If you downloaded either the 3.2.2 full package or the 3.2.1 -> 3.2.2 automatic updater package between the hours of 12:02 PM UTC and 15:03 PM UTC on January 26th, you received an archive modified with a malicious payload. “

The compromised download links were online for around three hours, between 12:02 PM UTC and 15:03 PM UTC on January 26, those who used them received a malware.

Users who downloaded phpBB 3.2.2 packages on January 26 must verify the SHA256 file hash of the file they downloaded with the one reported on the phpBB official downloads page.

phpBB forum software

The phpBB development team is investigating the incident, it only revealed that the entry point is likely a third-party site and clarified that neither nor the phpBB software were exploited in this attack.

At the time of writing it is still unclear how hackers compromised the download URLs.

The phpBB maintainers quickly removed the links to the malicious payload.

Developers that have already used the package to install or update a phpBB forum, are advised to file an incident report on the forum tracker to receive assistance with removal of the malicious code.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – phpBB forum software, hacking)

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