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[NEWS] Why The Password Change?

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Posted on behalf of Richard Jenkins, VP Membership, VATSIM BOGHello All,I imagine some of you are wondering why VATSIM needed to change all 55,000 passwords last week. Without getting into all the details and flooding you with technical information, I will try and give you the basic events.First, I would like to thank all the membership staff for putting in some very long hours and handling a very large amount of email. These people have all come through for the members and we owe them a big thank you.Membership Staff:Ed HemsleyJohn BinnerRobin WalkerBill PappertEddy ChenBlayne MurphyPiotr NowickiLluis Del CerroWhat Happened?On June 2nd we discovered that break-ins had occurred on several of VATSIM's servers. The intruder installed a "backdoor" on four of these servers so that he could continue to use them without detection. After some investigation, the Network Staff determined that our FSD software was not compromised and could remain online. FSD is the simulation support software that runs on the servers and permits pilots and controllers to see and interact with each other. All web services were turned off, however, in order to protect the master database and other VATSIM resources. This temporarily stopped new registrations, promotions, and prevented divisions from downloading updated rosters.While the intruder did not appear to show a great interest in the FSD software on the servers, there is no way to guarantee that he did not steal members' passwords. As result, senior VATSIM staff members decided that the only way to ensure the security of our members' records was to regenerate all passwords. This is why your password was changed and you were required to retrieve a new one. This also demonstrates why it is so important thatmembers keep their email addresses on file with VATSIM up-to-date.All four servers were repaired and put back online within a matter of hours without major disruption to the members. In addition, we have made several changes to our security procedures in order to reduce the risk of such an incident in the future.We hope this helps you understand what happened a little better.Richard JenkinsCommunications BoGVATSIM

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Thank you Richard for taking the time and explain this, and thanks to membership staff as well. You are all doing an excellent job.Carlos.

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