WordFence

One of the facts which I have written about before, is that my blog is set up in a slightly customized way, with core PHP files that come from the Debian package manager, and which do not have permission bits set, so that the Web-server can write to them, but also with add-ons – aka plugin-ins – with permission bits set so that the server can. This latter detail is a great convenience for me, because it allows me to install plug-ins from WordPress.org, as well as to install updates to those, via means that are simple for me to operate.

What I have also written, is that this makes my overall security good, but not perfect. Theoretically, there could be a corrupted plug-in available directly from WordPress.org – even though in general, they do their best to vet those – and which I could install to my blog, without knowing it. Further, even if the plug-in contains no dirty code visible to WordPress.org, the way some of them work might depend on a Web-service from their author, and then that URL could be running some sort of suspicious scripts, let us say on yet another server.

And so a reasonable question to ask might be, of what use WordFence can be in my case. One of the types of scans which this security add-on performs, is a check of all my core files, against what the versions are with WordPress.org, not with Debian. And then this scan reports 58 deviations to me, without analyzing them, just because Debian has slightly different core-file-versions. It also checks my entire plug-in directory, scans all the plug-ins, etc.. But in reality, WordFence never reported any kind of anomaly in my plug-ins, because those are the WordPress.org versions.

Continue reading WordFence

I am confident that my site is secure again.

What happens from now on, is that ‘WordFence‘ performs routine security scans of my blog. It then emails me with reports.

According to the latest report, emailed to me overnight as I slept, my blog had one issue, out of hundreds of potential issues: One of my plug-ins needed an upgrade.

Of course, I would have seen that this plug-in required an upgrade anyway, as soon as I checked my Dashboard this morning, which showed me the same result.

Yay!

Dirk

 

Malware Alert to all my Readers!

Even though my Blog is hosted on a supposedly-secure Linux machine, on which the core WordPress Files have permissions set such, that the Web-server cannot write to them, there is always some slight danger, that an infection can make its way onto my blog, through plug-ins which I have installed, which come from the WordPress site, but which are not under the scrutiny of the Debian software team, who created my WordPress core files. My Web-server can also self-install updates to those plug-ins, from their respective owners, because the write-permissions of the plug-ins directory are such that it can. ( :1 )

The reader may have noticed that there used to be an icon in the bottom of my postings, which allowed him either to Print the posting, to Save it as a PDF, or to Email it elsewhere. This icon was due to the ‘PrintFriendly Plug-In‘.

This plug-in did not even install any suspicious code on my server, but is cloud-based, in that any use made of it will redirect to the Web-site and servers, belonging to PrintFriendly. Not only that, but the icon itself can contain links to their site.

Well today I did notice, that my Web-browser, when pointed at my own site, tried running scripts from a site called ‘kxcdn.com’, and which my own browser had the installed extensions to block. This raised an alarm-bell in my head, and I went into action, looking for any contagion.

The PrintFriendly plug-in, or more correctly, their site it pointed to, was the source of that contagion. Deactivating that plug-in has now taken away the capability of the readers, to Print, to PDF or to Email my postings. But it has also removed any of the malicious attempts to redirect to ‘kxcdn.com’. The threat has effectively been neutralized on my server.

But, If You Did open that site, it would possibly have led you to This Situation. If it did, I hope you did not fall for their ploy. I apologize profusely if this happened to you, and do my best to control such problems from the first moment I notice them.

I have now installed the WordPress-security-extension ‘WordFence‘, and hope that this will reduce any vulnerabilities in the future.

Dirk

1: ) Actually, before my WordPress instance can update its plug-ins, I need to authorize the event. However, this safeguard only determines at what time updates can take place in practice, and just might make me aware of some suspicious activities that have yet to happen. It does not actually control, what code is inserted in the update.

However, as of now WordFence does control this, and has given me a clean bill of health!

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