Strange error.log entry and digital ocean ubuntu pwnage script

June 29, 2014 1k views

I found a strange entry in my nginx error log file:

2014/06/29 18:05:17 [crit] 878#0: *31 connect() to unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock failed (13: Permission denied) while connecting to upstream, client:, server: localhost, request: "GET /wp-admin/install.php HTTP/1.1", upstream: "fastcgi://unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock:", host: ""

I have a couple of WP installs in this New York based cloudlet. I cannot fully understand this log entry, so I went to check this IP address ( Apparently it is hosted at the same datacenter, but it shows the default Apache page (It works!).

It also has some WP files or something that look like a WP install. I went looking in the wp-content/uploads folder, which I know lists the files in a default install. It has some weird .so files and a script called pwn.ssh that my curiosity made me download to take a look.

This file has a comments saying it is a 'Digital Ocean [Ubuntu x86_64] pwnage script'. (It is located at

So, my questions are:

  1. Is this a compromised system or a droplet set up to gain access to other droplets?
  2. Should I be worried?
  3. Should I warn Digital Ocean staff? How to?
1 Answer

It does certainly seem to be a malicious system attempting to find vulnerable Wordpress instances. Thanks for letting us know! I've notified our abuse team, and they will examine the situation more thoroughly. In the future, if you notice malicious activity you can email abuse@digitalocean.com or just open a support ticket to put it on our radar.

Usually, these attacks work by exploiting a vulnerability in Wordpress itself. So one of the best methods of keeping safe is to make sure you keep Wordpress up to date. The script you point to seems to be something that is run after the attacker gains access to the system. It downloads SSH binaries and replaces the system ones. It then deletes itself. In the future, you might want to consider running something like RKHunter.

by Justin Ellingwood
Rootkits are a serious problem for any internet-facing computers. A rootkit allows an intruder to continue to access the compromised machine even after the initial point of entry has been secured. In this article, we will cover how to check your server against known rootkits using a utility called rkhunter.
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