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
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-29430
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference Matrix identity server. Sydent does not limit the size of requests it receives from HTTP clients. A malicious user could send an HTTP request with a very large body, leading to memory exhaustion and denial of service. Sydent also does not limit response size for requests it mak...
CVE-2021-29431
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference Matrix identity server. Sydent can be induced to send HTTP GET requests to internal systems, due to lack of parameter validation or IP address blacklisting. It is not possible to exfiltrate data or control request headers, but it might be possible to use the attack to perform a...
CVE-2021-29432
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Sydent is a reference matrix identity server. A malicious user could abuse Sydent to send out arbitrary emails from the Sydent email address. This could be used to construct plausible phishing emails, for example. This issue has been fixed in 4469d1d.
CVE-2021-29447
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Wordpress is an open source CMS. A user with the ability to upload files (like an Author) can exploit an XML parsing issue in the Media Library leading to XXE attacks. This requires WordPress installation to be using PHP 8. Access to internal files is possible in a successful XXE attack. This has be...
CVE-2021-30245
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
The project received a report that all versions of Apache OpenOffice through 4.1.8 can open non-http(s) hyperlinks. The problem has existed since about 2006 and the issue is also in 4.1.9. If the link is specifically crafted this could lead to untrusted code execution. It is always best practice to ...