000webhost is a company that offers free web sites for anyone who wants one. The company has millions of users worldwide. It claims to be the most popular free hosting service in the world. Yesterday, 000webhost told its users in a Facebook message that the company had suffered a data breach on its main server.
They announced it on Facebook? Really? What kind of company is this that uses Facebook to announce its internal problems to millions of its users?
A hacker apparently used an exploit in 000webhost’s old, unpatched version of PHP to upload malicious files and gain access to the service’s systems. Not only was the full database containing the usernames, passwords and email addresses compromised, but this information has been dumped online for everyone to see. The passwords were never encrypted; they had been stored in plain text on 000webhost’s servers.
OK, so maybe you do get what you pay for. 000webhost has questionable security practices, uses old, insecure software, stores customers’ passwords in unencrypted plain text, and then announces its problems only on Facebook. But, hey, it’s a free service, right?
Details may be found in an article by Thomas Fox-Brewster in Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/10/28/000webhost-database-leak/.