The official website for Linux Mint has been hacked, and the ISO download of the operating system was replaced with a malicious version on Saturday (20th February), the head of the project has announced. The fraudulent version of the Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition was inserted into the site via a backdoor exploit, redirecting users from the real URL to absentvodka.com, which hosted malware posing as Linux Mint.
Anyone that downloaded Linux Mint from the official website yesterday (torrents or direct HTTP link downloads are thought to be unaffected) should read on for instructions on how to deal with the problem.
The post on the Linux Mint Blog – which includes instructions to help remove the malware version – reads:
Hackers made a modified Linux Mint ISO, with a backdoor in it, and managed to hack our website to point to it.
Does this affect you?
As far as we know, the only compromised edition was Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition.
If you downloaded another release or another edition, this does not affect you. If you downloaded via torrents or via a direct HTTP link, this doesn’t affect you either.
Finally, the situation happened today, so it should only impact people who downloaded this edition on February 20th.
How to check if your ISO is compromised?
If you still have the ISO file, check its MD5 signature with the command “md5sum yourfile.iso” (where yourfile.iso is the name of the ISO).
The valid signatures are below:
If you still have the burnt DVD or USB stick, boot a computer or a virtual machine offline (turn off your router if in doubt) with it and let it load the live session.
Once in the live session, if there is a file in /var/lib/man.cy, then this is an infected ISO.
What to do if you are affected?
Delete the ISO. If you burnt it to DVD, trash the disc. If you burnt it to USB, format the stick.
If you installed this ISO on a computer:
- Put the computer offline.
- Backup your personal data, if any.
- Reinstall the OS or format the partition.
- Change your passwords for sensitive websites (for your email in particular).
Is everything back to normal now?
Not yet. We took the server down while we’re fixing the issue.