Version 4 (modified by Jamie McClelland, 13 years ago) (diff)


OpenSSL Vulnerability Discovered

Date: 2008-05-14

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Dear May First/People Link members,

We are sending this message to all members due to an unusual security problem.

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This week, a security problem was discovered in the Debian operating system that affects May First/People Link servers.

We are in the process of updating all of servers to ensure that are not vulnerable. As a result of our updates, some users may experience error messages that you did not see before.

Who is affected?

The only members who will be affected are members that:

  • Use Secure FTP or secure shell (ssh) to connect to either or ( and are not affected).
  • Use our offsite backup system

Secure Shell/Secure FTP users

If you use Secure FTP or secure shell, you will get a message indicating that the host key has changed along the lines of:


Please see our host key changed help file to avoid getting that message in the future.

If you are using our offsite backup system - you will also get the host key changed error - but it will happen during your automated backup process, causing your automated backup to fail until you follow the directions and import the proper new host key.

More Information

Host keys are random bits of text that are unique to every server. The randomness of the keys allows us to have a secure, encrypted connection between you and the server. Due to a bug in the software used to generate our host keys, they were not generated in a way that was random enough. In other words, the range of bits used to create the keys was limited to a guessable number. To fix the problem, we had to re-generated all the affected keys.

Please see the Debian wiki page for a full explanation of the security problem.