When the Linux Mint team announced that someone managed to hack their website and redirected the people who were downloading the Linux Mint ISO to a modified version of the OS, they were fully aware that their reputation would suffer.
Even if the breach had nothing to do with the operating system itself, it’s still something that remains in the collective mind of the public. As if this wasn’t enough, a day after they had the hacking incident, they informed users that the forum database was completely compromised and that people really needed to change their passwords, especially if they used the same combination of user and password on other websites.
Linux Mint forum was hacked long before announcement
From what the Linux Mint team has said until now, we understood that this was a recent event, but it turns out that it’s not the case. It’s impossible to say how long ago the forum database was stolen, but a month ago it was being offered for sale.
It turns out that they were warned about this breach on January 16 when Pieter Vlasblom left a tweet for them with an image to prove it. They didn’t respond, and on February 21 the Linux Mint team was revealing the existence of hacked ISOs.
There is a good possibility that they simply don’t check their Twitter account all that often and they just didn’t see the warning. In any case, it looks like the forum breach, at least, happened a while back, leaving the users exposed for more than a month.
The good news is that the Linux Mint domain is back up and functioning, with the vulnerabilities fixes. We can only hope that they will quickly recover from this misfortune.