PHP PEAR official site hacked, tainted package manager distributed for 6 months

Pierluigi Paganini January 23, 2019

PHP PEAR official site hacked, attackers replaced legitimate version of the package manager with a tainted version in the past 6 months.

Bad news for users that have downloaded the PHP PEAR package manager from the official website in the past 6 months because hackers have replaced it with a tainted version.

The PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR) is a framework and distribution system that allows anyone to search and download free
packages written in PHP programming language.

Last week, the maintainers at PEAR took down the official website because hackers have replaced the legitimate PHP PEAR package manager (go-pear.phar) with a malicious version in the core PEAR file system.
Maintainers pointed out that the GitHub copy of go-pear.phar is not compromised.

“A security breach has been found on the webserver, with a tainted go-pear.phar discovered. The PEAR website itself has been disabled until a known clean site can be rebuilt. A more detailed announcement will be on the PEAR Blog once it’s back online.” reads a security alert published by the admins last week.

“If you have downloaded this go-pear.phar in the past six months, you should get a new copy of the same release version from GitHub (pear/pearweb_phars) and compare file hashes. If different, you may have the infected file.”

Hackers compromised the website at least six months ago, the investigation is still ongoing. PEAR maintainers are working to determine how hackers breached the server and how many users have been impacted.

The PEAR download manager (go-pear.phar) is pre-installed for Unix/Linux/BSD systems, meanwhile Windows and Mac OS X users need to manually install it.

The hack could have a significant impact on a large number of websites because many web hosting providers allow running PEAR.

php pear logo

PEAR maintainers have released a clean version 1.10.10 of pearweb_phars on Github.

“This is a fresh release to assist in clearing up the issue with tainted file go-pear.phar that was discovered on the server. There were no code changes between v1.10.9 and v1.10.10.” reads the release note.

“Beginning with v1.10.10, the GitHub repository will now contain GPG signature files for each phar file. This release’s files are signed by Chuck Burgess (C245F175).”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, PHP PEAR)

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