web2project Security Vulnerability

Late last month, I received some bad news about web2project…

It turns out that web2project was vulnerable to a handful of select Cross Site Scripting (XSS: definition) vulnerabilities. While the attack vector was pretty specific to being an already authenticated user, it had the potential to be a major problem in a poorly configured system.

On the positive side, I say “was” because within 10 days of being notified of the problem – and the same day the vulnerability became public – we had a patched release out the door and available to users. We’ve spent the past month since encouraging them to upgrade. Of course, we further benefit from the fact that although the vulnerability does affect us, we’re not named in the report.

On the negative side, it did take us 10 days to close the vulnerability. The patch itself was available a few days earlier via Subversion but it might not have been enough. Further, we didn’t explicitly notify our users of a need to upgrade but since it was rolled with a handful of other major fixes, it appears that many people have upgraded already. Once again, we benefit from the very specific attack vector.

To make this process easier and faster in the future, as of v1.3, we can already detect if upgrades have been uploaded but not applied. For an upcoming release, we’re implementing a Drupal/WordPress-style means of notifying existing administrators thatan upgrade is available. In the meantime, watch this space or web2project’s page on Sourceforge.