osCommerce 2.3 Includes Fixes for Security Vulnerabilities and Security Enhancements

More that two and half years after the last version of osCommerce was released and more than a year after a serious security vulnerability was discovered a new version of osCommerce has been released. The new version 2.3 was released last Friday and version 2.3.1, a minor maintenance release, was released two days later.

osCommerce has been a frequent target for hackers lately, mainly being used to spread malware, due to a number of security vulnerabilities. Version 2.3 of osCommerce removed a vulnerable file, file_manager.php, another vulnerable file has been changed to remove the vulnerability, and a vulnerability that allowed bypassing the login system has been fixed.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that osCommerce has decided that admin directory should be secure by default. They are still recommending that the admin directory be renamed and password protection be enabled on the directory. If the admin directory was secure, as it should be, neither of these should be necessary. The only other major web software that recommends renaming the admin directory as standard practice is Zen Cart and none recommend password protecting the directory as standard practice. Zen Cart display a prominent warning if the admin directory has not been renamed, osCommerce provides no warning if the admin has not been renamed or password protection of the admin directory has not been enabled. osCommerce does support renaming the admin directory during the installation process (on the Online Store Settings page) and makes it possible to enable password protection of the directory by just changing a configuration setting (located at configuration>administrators).

The new version also includes a number of security enhancements. The Portable PHP hashing framework has been added to more securely hash passwords, this software is also used in WordPress. A customer session token has been added  “to forms to protect against Cross-Site Request Forgeries (CSRF)”. A new section of the admin, Security Directory Permissions, displays the current write permission of the various osCommerce directories and what are the recommend permissions are. A built-in version checker allows for checking if a new version of osCommerce has been released.

If you are running an older version of osCommerce and are not upgrading immediately you should secure your website by renaming and password protecting the admin directory if you have not already done so.

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