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Web Software Updates
WordPress VersionWe are running WordPress 4.1.1 and despite what many supposed "security experts" claim letting you know what version we are running does not make us less secure.
Did We Make a Mistake?While it seems to be acceptable for blogs discussing web security to contain numerous factual mistakes, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. We only write about things that we actually understand and only after we have double checked the information. So if you see a mistake in one of our posts please leave a comment on the post or contact us so that we can add a correction.
Category Archives: MediaWiki
Last month we spotlighted at the fact that 31 percent of Joomla websites checked with our Joomla Version Check tool during January were still running Joomla 1.5, for which supported ended September 2012. This month we decided to take a look at if websites that were running a supported Joomla series, either 2.5.x or 3.x, were being kept up to date based on last month’s data from the tool. Unlike websites still running Joomla 1.5 that need a more complicated migration to be brought up to a supported version, the upgrade process for websites running 2.5.x or 3.x is relatively simple. Keeping software running on a website up to date is a basic security measure, so if websites are not being kept up to date when it is relatively easy it shows that website security is in bad shape.
Joomla 2.5.18 was released during the month so Joomla 2.5.x websites would have been up to date if they running 2.5.17 or 2.5.18. Unfortunately 58 percent of the Joomla 2.5 websites were detected as running older versions (for some installations the tool only could tell they were using Joomla 2.5 and those listed as 2.5.x in the chart).
54 percent of the Joomla 2.5 websites checked contain known security vulnerabilities, as they are running versions below 2.5.15, the most recent release with security fixes.
For Joomla 3.x the results are slightly better as only 48 percent were detected running versions prior 3.2.1 or 3.2.2 (3.2.2 was release during the month alongside 2.5.18).
41 percent of the Joomla 3.x websites checked contain known security vulnerabilities, as they are running versions below 3.1.6, the most recent release with security fixes.
Outdated WordPress and MediaWiki Versions Heavily Used Too
The results for the WordPress and MediaWiki websites checked during February using our tools for those pieces software were also not good.
For WordPress, 60 percent of the websites checked were running a version below the current series, 3.8.
For MediaWiki, 47 percent of the websites checked were running a series no longer supported. The currently supported versions are 1.19.x, 1.21.x, and 1.22.x.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) promotes itself as being “focused on improving the security of software”, but unfortunately they don’t even bother to keep the software running their website up to date. If you visit their website with our Meta Generator Version Check extension installed in your web browser (available for Chrome and Firefox) you will see that they are running an outdated version of MediaWiki:
OWASP has failed to update their MediaWiki installation for over a year, the next version, 1.18.1, was released in January of 2012. They failed to apply any of the five security updates that were released for version 1.18.x. Support for version 1.18.x of MediaWiki ended back in November, so they also should have moved to a supported version some time ago.
Keeping software up to date is one the basic steps and easier steps to keep software running a website secure. The fact that a project dedicated to security is failing to do that highlights how bad the state of security is and raises the questions if the security community is in fact actually interested in security.
When the makers of web software talk about security they always emphasize the importance of keeping software updated. One of the developers of WordPress said it this way “The only thing that I can promise will keep your blog secure today and in the future is upgrading.” Keeping software updated is good advice, but isn’t advice that the software makers, including WordPress, always follow themselves.
We recently mentioned a pretty egregious example of this from OpenX. Their blog, where they recently said it is critical to keep software up to date, is running a version of WordPress that is over three years out of date. Also, the main portion of their website appears to be running a version of Drupal that is over a year out of date.
MediaWiki, the software the powers the Wikipedia, is run on portions of many web software websites so we decided that it would be a good choice to see if software makers are keeping other people’s software running on their website up to date. There are several ways to check what version of MediaWiki is running and the easiest way to check for outdated MediaWiki installations is to use our Meta Generator Version Check web browser extension, available for Firefox and Chrome. The extension will show a warning icon when a web page has a meta generator tag from an outdated version of web software.
For those not familiar with MediaWiki they currently provide security updates for the two most recent releases 1.17.x and 1.18.x. The most recent version of those releases 1.17.2 and 1.18.1, both of which were released on January 11. We update our web browser extension a month after a new version is released, so until then it will check for MediaiWiki versions below 1.17.1.
Before mentioning the websites running outdated versions it is worth noting that one website we checked was actually up to date. TYPO3’s TYPO3Wiki is running 1.18.1.
The WordPress Codex is the most out of date as it is running 1.15.5, which is two supported releases out of date. Support for 1.15.x ended in December of 2010.
The Zen Cart Wiki is one supported release out of date and running a version, 1.16.2, that that is three minor updates out of date. Support for 1.16.x ended in late November of last year.
Joomla! Documentation is one supported release out of date and running a version, 1.16.4, that that is one minor update out of date.
The phpBB Development Wiki is at least running the most recent version of 1.16.x, 1.16.5, but that release is no longer supported.
MoodleDocs is at least running a supported release, 1.17.x, but the version, 1.17.0, is two minor updates out of date.