The official website for the widely used OpenSSL code library was compromised four days ago in an incident that is stoking concerns among some security professionals.
Code repositories remained untouched in the December 29 hack, and the only outward sign of a breach was a defacement left on the OpenSSL.org home page. The compromise is nonetheless rattling some nerves. In a brief advisory last updated on New Year's Day, officials said "the attack was made via hypervisor through the hosting provider and not via any vulnerability in the OS configuration." The lack of additional details raised the question of whether the same weakness may have been exploited to target other sites that use the same service. After all, saying a compromise was achieved through a hypervisor vulnerability in the Web host of one of the Internet's most important sites isn't necessarily comforting news if the service or hypervisor platform is widely used by others.
Update: About 12 hours after this brief was published, OpenSSL updated the advisory to say: "The OpenSSL server is a virtual server which shares a hypervisor with other customers of the same ISP. Our investigation found that the attack was made through insecure passwords at the hosting provider, leading to control of the hypervisor management console, which then was used to manipulate our virtual server."