ICANN urges passwords reset due an external service provider breach

The ICANN has issued a warning to inform who registered with ICANN.org that their profile accounts were accessed by an “unauthorized person.”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has issued another security warning after login credentials of the ICANN.org website have been compromised.

A new incident occurred to the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the organization that is responsible for the coordination of maintenance and methodology of several databases of unique identifiers related to the namespaces of the Internet. According to a security warning issued by the ICANN intruders obtained usernames, email addresses, and password hashes for the registered accounts on the website ICANN.org.

“ICANN has reason to believe that within the last week, usernames/email addresses and encrypted passwords for profile accounts created on the ICANN.org public website were obtained by an unauthorized person. These profile accounts contain user preferences for the website, public bios, interests, newsletter subscriptions, etc. There is no evidence that any profile accounts were accessed or that any internalICANN systems were accessed without authorization. While investigations are ongoing, the encrypted passwords appear to have been obtained as a result of unauthorized access to an external service provider.” states the security warning.

The profiles compromised by the hackers include other information like public bios, newsletter subscriptions and user preferences. According to the ICANN, the passwords are hashed and are not easy to crack, the organization also added that there is no evidence that the stolen data has been used to access user profiles.

As part of the incident response procedure, the ICANN is urging the users of the ICANN.org website to change their passwords. Users are invited to modify the password by accessing the “forgot password” page once they log in to ICANN.org.


“These encrypted passwords (hashes) are not easy to reverse, but as a precaution we are requiring that all users reset their passwords. When you next visit our site, please go to the login page and click the forgot password link: https://www.icann.org/users/password/new – to create your new password.

Most importantly, if you have used the same password on other websites or services, you should change it immediately on those other websites or services. As a general matter, you should avoid reusing passwords across multiple sites.” continues the warning.

The investigation is ongoing, ICANN revealed that the data breach occurred last week after the systems of an external service provider were compromised. The ICANN confirmed that there is no indication that its own systems have been breached.

“No operational information, financial data or IANA systems were involved,” ICANN reported.

In December, the ICANN organization suffered another attack, the agency confirmed that several its systems were compromised via a Spear Phishing attack that allowed unknowns to access its network. The attackers spoofed the ICANN domain, and deceived internal staff into revealing their email credentials.

In February, the ICANN  shut down the new gTLD (generic top-level domain) Applicant and GDD (Global Domains Division) portals to fix a vulnerability that could have been exploited to access user data, unfortunately such flaw had been exploited by hackers.

Pierluigi Paganini

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