November Project – WordPress Security Plugin

Last month I mentioned that to help me develop further as a programmer and to be motivated that I would be working on a new project every month.

In October I decided to create a Crossword creation script that has now been completed (with some bugs still so still stuff to do). I have posted the outcome on a public BitBucket Repository. Feel free to download and play with the script. I have created some bugs and feature enhancement requests myself so there is stuff to work on.

Now for the plans for November. Continue reading “November Project – WordPress Security Plugin”

Usability Over Security And Reliability

As developers we can face some difficult choices. Do we make life easier for the user or do we err on the side of security which can detract from the usability of our applications?

Make Use Of recently ran an article that highlights issues caused when usability is given too high a priority over reliability and security.

The article explains that the twitter account of Roger Ebert recently started to post after a long period of quiet. The problem? Roger Ebert died 2 years ago.

Clearly Roger Ebert had not been posting himself. It was thought that his wife had started to post as she retweets using the account at times (why???) but this soon became clear that this was not the case. Make Use Of appears to have come to a good conclusion  as to the cause. Roger Elbert appears to have posted Twitter updates using SMS. As Roger no longer has an active phone the number had been recycled and given to another customer in the meantime. As the phone number had been registered for Twitter this remains in place. The new owner can now post as Roger.

Now is this an issue for Twitter or the cellular network. In an ideal world there would be no need to recycle numbers but of course there are a limited number available and inevitably these do have to get reused. Therefore such issues fall upon us as developers (in this case Twitter) to make sure that we consider the failure points of our features and how we can overcome issues.

In Twitters case it would seem that once validated a mobile number can be used with impunity to post with no consideration of this being passed onto someone else. This could easily be overcome. For example for the end-user to have to verify the number on a periodic basis, if an app on the mobile device is also used maybe the app could do this on behalf of the user if they are logged in. This may not stop all occurrences of such issues but will help reduce this greatly. Not only this, but it would give the new owner of the number an easy way to opt out and stop receiving nuisance communications etc.

This issue is not restricted to mobile numbers. 2 years ago Yahoo announced that they would be freeing up dormant email accounts. An account was considered dormant if the user had not logged in to Yahoo for over a set time period. I do not disagree with Yahoo’s decision in doing so however this poses a problem for service providers. Consider the things we do over email. For example if you reset a password on most services you simply require access to the email account in question. This might be easy to use but how secure is it? Also consider some of the private information that we may send over email. Would we or the user be happy if such information was given to other people?

Any thoughts? Let me know.

Grub not showing O/S

Recently I setup an old PC to act as a test server to mimic a server I have for production. I decided I would like it to dual boot into Kali as well.

The installation went well however after the install finished on CentOS 7 would show in Grub. The Kali installation did not show any problems at all.

For anyone having similar issues after some research I was able to resolve the issue by completing the following command within CentOS:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub2.cfg

After running the command it should be clear immediately if this has worked as it will list the operating systems that it finds.

Hopefully this should save someone some time if they come across the same issue.

Interested In Security And Running WordPress?

WordPress is currently (and has been for a long time) 1 of the most popular tools for creating blogs and web sites on the internet. Due to the level of popularity that WordPress has gained it has been a target for hackers looking to deface the website, send spam or make the site a part of a bot net (and of course many other things).

The attackers use vulnerabilities that are found in the core code, plugins and yes even themes.

There are many plugins that try to help mitigate the risks but they are fighting a lost cause and really cannot combat all vulnerabilities. Continue reading “Interested In Security And Running WordPress?”

Java Revocated SSL Certificate?

Recently there have been many SSL certificates revocated due to the heartbleed issue. Yesterday, for the first time, I came across a warning advising the information for a certificate was not available. Once reading and accepting the revocation I continued on my merry way.

Today however I received another revocation notice when using the java updater.

Revocated Java Certificate

Has Java forgotten to remove a revocated certificate from their servers?

Interestingly I had carried out a search simply for sjremetrics.java.com (the certificate was created for this URL) and lo and behold the very first response was for a post on the Oracle Forum which detailed Java having exactly the same issue back in 2010.

Side note. On looking at the details of the SSL certificate I see that it was issues on 17th September 2013 and was due to expire on the 17th November 2014. A 14 month certificate? I did not know that was possible. Or was it revoked in 2013 as well?

P.S.

I have tried to submit a bug for this issue however Oracle’s bug reporting process is atrocious.

I have received an email stating that the report “will be evaluated”.  Don’t think I will bother next time.

iThemes Banning You For 404 Error

Recently I updated the Better WP Security plugin. The developers have decided to rename it to iThemes Security. After a while I kept getting banned from the blog (I just kept getting a page stating “error”.

After doing some digging I found that the problem had been caused by the “default-user-image.png” image that was set in the All In One SEO Pack. I had changed the name of my wp-content folder (as per 1 of the recommendations in iThemes) however the links to this file were still leading to wp-content.

After installing iThemes make sure that you modify the location of the default user image in “All In One SEO” >> “Social Meta”. The setting you are looking for is “Default OG:Image”. Simply change wp-content to the new name that you have given the folder.

On a side note when looking for the issue I came across a red herring. In the main plugin script (all_in_one_seo_pack.php) a couple of constants are defined to state the name of the wp-content folder. When questioning this in the support forum I was advised they are not used any more. Begs the question why are they still there?

Help Audit Truecrypt

Over the last couple of months Edward Snowden has shown us how intrusive governments has been. This has also raised questions such as how safe are you when using encryption software.

As Truecrypt is 1 of the more popular encryption solutions there is a vested interest for the NSA, GCHQ and other spy organisation in breaking the protection that these provide. There have also been suggestions that the NSA have attempted to coerce software developers in actively introducing backdoor’s into their software.

To date there has not been any large-scale security audits on the Truecrypt source code. Well this is about to change.

A team of people have started an Indiegogo Campaign.The campaign has already met the starting target however please do not let this influence your decision in backing the campaign. The more money pledged the better the results for the audit. The money will ensure that those carrying out the audit are properly compensated and funds are available to entice people in reporting bugs that they fund.

Be sure to back the Truecrypt Audit on Indiegogo.