One of the most popular IRC networks in the world, Freenode on Saturday, suffered a security breach. Freenode, which was formerly known as Open Projects Network, is an IRC network used to discuss peer-directed projects. Their servers are all accessible from the domain name chat.freenode.net and irc.freenode.net. At present it is the largest free and open source software-focused IRC network having more than 80,000 to 90,000 users and 40,000 channels, gaining almost 5,000 new users per year.
Freenode’s IRC server was compromised and passwords were possibly breached by unidentified hackers, Freenode said in a online notice to its users. It has also warned all its users that they should reset their passwords as a precaution.
The security breach was identified on Saturday, as a notice by Freenode explains.
“Earlier today the freenode infra team noticed an anomaly on a single IRC server. We have since identified that this was indicative of the server being compromised by an unknown third party,” “We immediately started an investigation to map the extent of the problem and located similar issues with several other machines and have taken those offline. For now, since network traffic may have been sniffed, we recommend that everyone change their NickServ password as a precaution.”
“Since traffic may have been sniffed, you may also wish to consider any channel keys or similar secret information exchanged over the network,” they added, and promised to keep users updated on the situation.
If you are using Freenode it is recommended to change your passwords immediately.