Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/17/2009
05:40 AM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

A Trick For Defending WordPress, Other Apps

There's a little trick -- or basic security measure -- you can use to help protect your WordPress blog and other Web applications against the never-ending bombardment of new vulnerabilities and exploits.

There's a little trick -- or basic security measure -- you can use to help protect your WordPress blog and other Web applications against the never-ending bombardment of new vulnerabilities and exploits.When a friend of mine decided to run a blog, I immediately suggested WordPress because it's easy to use, highly customizable, and has an endless pool of plug-ins. It happens to be my favorite because it is the first I ever used -- I am sure other blogging platforms are just as good. But because WordPress is popular, vulnerabilities in it are disclosed constantly.

In running WordPress, I recommended that my friend constantly update the software, and when he couldn't, make sure to hard-code the fixes. I further recommended disabling as many services and plug-ins as he could.

I strongly suggested that he disable the option to upload files because if someone gets access to that, then he could easily upload a reverse PHP shell or similar tool.

My last recommendation makes the least practical sense: Use the Web server to password protect the WordPress admin directory -- .htaccess file under Apache -- because many vulnerabilities target that very functionality in the application. And, indeed, entering two passwords to gain access is far from functional under normal circumstances.

My friend never had the time to keep completely up-to-date with all the vulnerabilities. But because most of the more serious WordPress vulnerabilities attack the admin interface, the password protection from the Web server saved the day. He describes his experience, other similar solutions and the thoughts behind the risk analysis he performed in his blog here.

While it is always advisable to keep your WordPress blog software up-to-date, using a system that is much more difficult to attack, such as Apache or IIS, raises the bar securitywise. That made my friend's blog less vulnerable to the massive exploitation attacks that try to compromise as many servers as possible.

Then again, if someone targeted my friend specifically, then he may have overcome this hurdle or bypass it completely.

Security by obscurity can indeed be useful as long as it is backed by actual security measures, and as long as you know exactly what it is you want it to protect you from. It does nothing more. That is exactly the difference between the low-hanging fruit the mass exploitations seek and the targeted attacker with a single purpose and resources to reach his goal.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
5 Common Errors That Allow Attackers to Go Undetected
Matt Middleton-Leal, General Manager and Chief Security Strategist, Netwrix,  2/12/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9268
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
SoPlanning 1.45 is vulnerable to SQL Injection in the OrderBy clause, as demonstrated by the projets.php?order=nom_createur&by= substring.
CVE-2020-9269
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
SOPlanning 1.45 is vulnerable to authenticated SQL Injection that leads to command execution via the users parameter, as demonstrated by export_ical.php.
CVE-2020-9270
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
ICE Hrm 26.2.0 is vulnerable to CSRF that leads to password reset via service.php.
CVE-2020-9271
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
ICE Hrm 26.2.0 is vulnerable to CSRF that leads to user creation via service.php.
CVE-2020-9265
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-18
phpMyChat-Plus 1.98 is vulnerable to multiple SQL injections against the deluser.php Delete User functionality, as demonstrated by pmc_username.