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HomeHomeUsing DNN Platf...Using DNN Platf...Administration ...Administration ...Malicious Activity?Malicious Activity?
New Post
1/26/2015 2:11 PM
Hi.  I very recently started supporting an existing DNN-based ecommerce site that's hosted at PowerDNN.  This morning, nobody could login.  It turned out that the web.config had been modified at about 3 PM yesterday, and it had a new MachineKey.  Odd!  I switched it back to the original MachineKey, and everything is fine.

What caused the MachineKey to change?  The customer swears that they weren't doing any work on the site this weekend, and I know that I wasn't either.  I did a file comparison between the current web.config and a backup that I had to see what else might have changed.  Besides the machinekey, the only other change was that the newer file had a new entry:
   key="InstallationDate" value="1/25/2015".
The previous web.config had no such entry.  So it appears that DNN was just installed yesterday?  Nobody did an upgrade.  The site had been running DNN 7.3.4, and I verified that it is still reporting itself as being 7.3.4.

I initiated a support ticket with PowerDNN just in case they performed some sort of maintenance procedure, and I'm waiting to hear back. 

In the meantime, does this ring any bells with anyone?  Is there any sort of DNN hack that involves changing the MachineKey and the installation date?

See Ya!

See Ya! Van
New Post
1/26/2015 2:36 PM
Accepted Answer 
most likely, the connection to the database has been interrupted and the install wizard showed up.
If someone clicked continue, it replaces machine key with a random value.
To prevent, set "useInstallWziard" to false in web.config

Cheers from Germany,
Sebastian Leupold (Microsoft MVP)

dnnWerk - The DotNetNuke Experts   German Spoken DotNetNuke User Group   European Network of DotNetNuke Professionals

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New Post
1/26/2015 3:12 PM


Thank you very much for responding!  You da man!  That sounds plausible to me.  I couldn't think of how changing the MachineKey would be of any value to an imposter since it renders all of the accounts useless unless you were able to also push data into the aspnet_Membership table at the same time.

Nonetheless, to put myself and the customer at ease, I want to simulate the behavior on the development version of the site, if possible.  So I renamed the database, but I just get an 500 - Internal Server Error.  Then I stopped the SQL Server Service, but that also generates a 500 - Internal Server Error.

Can you think of how to cause a database interruption that would bring up the Installation Wizard instead of just throwing an error?

See Ya!

See Ya! Van
New Post
1/26/2015 6:50 PM
it is challenging to do so - you need to have valid, cached sql connections that can no longer connect to the database (simply changing the database name doesn't work as sql will respond that there is no longer a database of that name). Usually disconnecting the network cable/disabling remote connections or taking the database offline, can trigger it as well as far as I remember

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New Post
1/27/2015 9:56 AM
That makes sense.  Thanks, guys!

See Ya! Van
HomeHomeUsing DNN Platf...Using DNN Platf...Administration ...Administration ...Malicious Activity?Malicious Activity?

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