ARRL Investigating Web Server Breach
Late last month, a security breach occurred, involving a web server at ARRL Headquarters. ARRL IT Manager Mike Keane, K1MK, said that League members have no reason to be concerned about sensitive personal information being leaked.
Keane said that servers were taken offline and isolated from the Internet when the hack was discovered. Certain ARRL web functions — online DXCC in particular — have been temporarily disabled. The ARRL expects to restore service by close of business, on Wednesday, October 8.
In the meantime, the “legacy” URLs (ones containing “p1k.arrl.org”) have been restored, as has access to the ARRL Periodicals Archive.
Keane stressed that it is highly unlikely that any sensitive information was compromised. Any information the hacker might have been able to glean from the ARRL server, he said, is already publicly available — data such as names, addresses, and call signs that appear in the FCC database.
The hacker may have been able to obtain site usernames and passwords that were established prior to April 2010, and that have not been changed since then. Members who have not changed their ARRL website passwords since early 2010 should do so at this time.
Keane confirmed that it’s always prudent to change passwords on a routine basis. “That’s the best practice,” he said.
Keane said that his department is still looking into what types of information may have been vulnerable to the hack.
“They were poking around, trying all the doors,” he explained. “We don’t keep anything of value [to a hacker] there. Hackers don’t care about DXCC totals or want to read the online issue of QST. There’s nothing of financial value there.”
Keane said that in addition to reporting the security breach to federal law enforcement authorities, his department is working to increase the League’s Internet security posture.