Some WordPress themes (and other software) vulnerable to “TimThumb” bug

A popular piece of software called “TimThumb” (aka “timthumb.php”) was recently found to have a security bug that allows “hackers” to take over Web sites that use it (more info here).

Some popular custom WordPress themes include TimThumb as part of their features, making those themes vulnerable to this problem. (Just so it’s clear, TimThumb isn’t specific to WordPress, but that’s probably where it’s most commonly used.)

If you use WordPress and your Dashboard tells you to update your theme, you should do so right away (in fact, you should always update an outdated theme or plugin right away).

However, we’ve also added security rules to our servers to protect our Web hosting customers who haven’t yet upgraded. Other people may find the rules useful if they use mod_security on Apache Web servers. The rest of this post contains more technical details.

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WordPress 3.0.2 update (and mod_security rule)

If you use WordPress blog software on your site, be sure to upgrade to WordPress 3.0.2 as soon as possible. The upgrade contains an important security fix for a vulnerability that allows any WordPress “author” to become an “administrator”.

Although all WordPress users should upgrade right away, we’ve added security rules to our servers to protect our Web hosting customers who haven’t yet upgraded. Other people may find the rules useful if they use mod_security on Apache Web servers. The rest of this post contains more technical details.

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WordPress security thoughts

In the last few days, there’s been a lot of talk on the Internet about the security of WordPress blog software.

Several shared hosting companies apparently allow customers to view the text of other customer’s files by default, and that allows malicious customers to discover the database password of another site (from the “wp-config.php” file) and alter the site.

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WordPress 2.8.6 security update

If you use WordPress blog software on your site, be sure to upgrade to WordPress 2.8.6. The upgrade contains important security fixes. Upgrading is usually easy with the built-in WordPress “update now” feature.

Although all WordPress users should upgrade, we’ve added security rules to our servers to protect our Web hosting customers who haven’t yet upgraded. Other people may find the rules useful if they use mod_security on Apache Web servers. The rest of this post contains more technical details.

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WordPress 2.8.4 security update

If you use WordPress blog software on your site, be sure to upgrade to WordPress 2.8.4 as soon as possible. The upgrade contains important security fixes.

Although all WordPress users should upgrade right away, we’ve added security rules to our servers to protect our Web hosting customers who haven’t yet upgraded. Other people may find the rules useful if they use mod_security on Apache Web servers. The rest of this post contains more technical details.

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Flexo server temporarily unavailable (resolved)

Customers on the “flexo” server experienced a four-minute interruption in Web site service between 9:48 and 9:52 AM Pacific time this morning (August 12).

E-mail was not affected, and customers on other servers were not affected.

The problem happened when the Apache Web server did not respond to a “graceful reload” command when we installed a “mod_security” update to block certain attacks against the WordPress blog software.

We are looking into the root cause of this incident and will take steps to prevent it from recurring. We don’t consider any kind of service interruption acceptable, and we sincerely apologize for the problem.

WordPress 2.5.1 security update (and mod_security rule)

If you use the WordPress 2.5 blog software on your site, be sure to upgrade to WordPress 2.5.1 as soon as possible. The upgrade contains an important security fix. (We’ve updated our own blog, and it was painless.)

Although all WordPress users should upgrade right away, we’ve also added a security rule to our servers to try and protect our customers who haven’t yet upgraded. Other people may also find the security rule useful if they use mod_security on Apache Web servers. The rest of this post contains more technical details.

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