How to: Protect WordPress from brute-force XML-RPC attacks

The WordPress XML-RPC API has been under attack for many years now. Back in August 2014, WordPress released version 3.9.2, fixing a possible denial of service issue in PHP’s XML processing. There are brute-force amplification attacks, reported by Sucuri, and so on. So, how do you protect WordPress from these xmlrpc.php attacks, but still being able to use (some of) its functionality like Jetpack? This post gives you some insight.

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3 Important security measurements for Windows Server & IIS

Windows Server security: When you have just installed your new Windows Server, with or without IIS as web server, it is important to take a few extra security measurements. Securing your (web) server is important to keep hackers out and your data safe. Here are some steps you can take to secure and harden your Windows Server (IIS) web or file server.

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Check WordPress Core files integrity

Check the md5 checksum of WordPress Core files against WordPress’ checksums API, using this standalone PHP file. I chose to use a standalone PHP script to check the md5sum of WordPress Core files against the API so you’re not dependent on a possibly hacked WordPress installation. This kind of guarantees the result can be trusted, as opposed to using a WordPress plugin. I think this is a better integrity check of WordPress Core files.

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Joomla! (< 3.6.4) Account Creation/Elevated Privileges write-up and exploit

Yesterday, Melvin Lammerts wrote an article on the account creation with elevated privileges vulnerability in Joomla! < 3.6.4. And included a PoC exploit. This Joomla! vulnerability makes it easy for an attacker to create an user account, even when user registration is turned off. Yikes!

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Intrusion Detection with Windows Event ID’s

Found via cyber-ir.com: This paper is the best I have ever read on how to build IOC’s with Windows Event ID’s. I highly recommend you to read it, it contains very useful information and some very interesting behavioural examples of attacker activity. If you are looking to enhance your detection in your core network this is the document!

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WordPress advisory: Akal premium theme XSS vulnerability & abandonded

Over the course of one week I had the opportunity to audit two hacked WordPress websites. I could quickly discover two vulnerabilities: a Cross Site Scripting, or XSS, in a premium WordPress theme Akal, and a SQL injection Denial-of-Service in a later to be disclosed plugin. This post describes the Akal theme XSS vulnerability.

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“How we broke PHP, hacked Pornhub and earned $20,000”

This is a very interesting read on how Dario Weißer (@haxonaut), cutz and Ruslan Habalov (@evonide) were able to find a PHP unserialize bug to exploit and gain remote code execution on Pornhub. Pornhub’s bug bounty program is at Hackerone In stead of actively attacking Pornhub, they took another road and attacked what Pornhub is built upon: PHP.

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Breaking into a WordPress site without knowing WordPress/PHP or InfoSec at all

Someone posted to notehub.org an article on how he broke into his college’s WordPress website, without having any prior knowledge of WordPress, PHP, and without any experience with hacking web servers. The attempts were spread out over a month, but effectively totaled a day maybe. The author said to have learned a lot of things while doing the research part which accounted for most of his time, though. On NoteHub, he shares some of the relevant details and how he went along doing this.

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