Support » Plugin: Uber Login Logo » Major Security Risk due to abandoned plugin

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    My wordpress security plugin reports it as a “Major Security Risk due to abandoned plugin

    Which “security” plugin made that outlandish claim?

    Insecure plugins have nothing to do with when or how long they’re maintained. Security issues are about the code and not the age of that code.

    If there’s a legitimate concern about a plugin then that could be useful. But just saying “Plugin abandoned, security risk” isn’t even remotely true.

    Hi Jan.
    Thanks for your reply. Yes I agree with you but this is how it is unfortunately.
    —————————–
    The plugin is Wordfence and I have started getting multiple emails from them warning me of using your plugin (and other plugins too I may add)
    ————————–
    Please note that WordPress.org also has the following warning:
    “This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.”

    ———————–
    May I ask why you can’t run an update, even if it is only for minor admin things. It would be the easiest way to avoid these issues. It would give people more confidence to use it, if it was updated recently.

    Thanks.

    @jan, it looks like Wordfence has added a new “Warning” alert criteria for any plugin that hasn’t been updated in 2+ years (pulling data from WP depository info). I have 4 such plugin alerts that just showed up on one website.

    Totally understand what you’re saying, I think though that WP and security scans are being cautious and alerting users to “potential” plugin issues.

    Probably good for you to know… not sure if you need to do anything, but you might want to do something to update the plugin status on WP depository.

    hope this helps.

    Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    it looks like Wordfence has added a new “Warning” alert criteria for any plugin that hasn’t been updated in 2+ years (pulling data from WP depository info). I have 4 such plugin alerts that just showed up on one website.

    Yep, I just saw a conversation in Slack about it.

    *Drinks coffee*

    Wordfence is an awesome plugin but I don’t agree that old code is insecure by virtue of it’s age. That’s just not how it works. I hope they modify the wording to something like “That plugin is over 2 years old and may not be fully compatible with the current version of WordPress. Or may not be supported any longer.” 😉

    Its nothing to do with old code. No one mentioned that – only you.
    Its just to show that someone is looking after the plugin still, that’s all.
    In your case – its clear that the plugin is still good, and you are still keeping an eye on it.
    *Drinks Tea*
    However, in many cases. Some plugins are abandoned and are not being looked after any more.
    Why would you want to put yourself in the same group as those guys?
    *Eats a biscuit*
    To differentiate your good plugin, from the many bad un-maintained plugins. This is the only data that WordPress has to use.
    *Pops to the loo*
    Its no big deal. You do what you like. I was just on here giving you a heads up. And trying to offer some friendly advice. That’s all.
    Because I like your plugin…

    @brightsidew3, Jan Dembowski is not the author of the plugin. He is the Volunteer moderator. From your message, it seems you think this is “his” plugin, it’s not.

    Old code is not necessarily unsecured. Wordfence should not show it as “Major Security risk” only due to the update period.

    My posts have all been directed into the “support” area for this plugin.
    If this is not Jan’s plugin. Then how is he qualified to say that the code is still fine. He shouldn’t reply.

    Is the author able to comment?

    Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    Its nothing to do with old code. No one mentioned that – only you.

    This message that you’ve quoted

    “Major Security Risk due to abandoned plugin”

    That text is derived from the idea that abandoned plugins are ones that have not been updated in 2 years. That’s where the comment about old code comes from. Also the nice folk from Wordfence chimed in a few days ago on the #forums Slack channel about this.

    The idea that an abandoned plugin is insecure remains incorrect.

    Is the author able to comment?

    The author almost certainly will not comment. This really is an abandoned plugin and the author has not posted here for 2 years.

    You are posting in the right place and if the author does not reply back then you may want to evaluate if you wish to continue using this plugin based on it’s lack of support from the author.

    I understand what you are saying about the fact that the code being old doesn’t mean it is necessarily a major (or minor) security risk.

    However, this still leaves unresolved questions around this question of abandoned plugins in general (and not just a particular one):-

    1. Is it possible that an abandoned plugin has some vulnerability in the code which might only become obvious in future releases of WordPress? Or when someone discovers/notices a particular vulnerability?
    2. Who is going to alert us (the users of such plugins) of potential security issues with an abandoned plugin?
    3. And for users with limited technical skills, how can we tell if the code really is a risk or not?
    4. Finally, I’d be interested to read what the WordFence people had to say. @jdembowski, you mentioned a #forums Slack channel. Can you provide a link for this?

    I’m beginning to wish that WordPress had a policy around this. Perhaps to require that publishers of plugins on wordpress.org are required to submit each release of their code to a repository and sign an agreement to release the license to open source after 2 years of abandonment so that other developers can pick up the ongoing maintenance and support. Does this idea make any sense?

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by janaa.
    Moderator Jan Dembowski

    (@jdembowski)

    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    @janaa Here’s the issue: abandoned plugins do not have any different risk than one that was written and published yesterday.

    *Drinks coffee and hopes you don’t mind*

    Take every instance of “an abandoned plugin” above and replace it with just “a plugin”. What you’ve written applies to any plugin or code. That’s good because we should all question the veracity of any code we use. When we can, I’ve never questioned Micro$oft Office despite a history of exploitable code. 😉 I do maintain that code with updates for this reason.

    Finally, I’d be interested to read what the WordFence people had to say. @jdembowski, you mentioned a #forums Slack channel. Can you provide a link for this?

    The #forums channel is on Slack and you can join it via these instructions.

    https://make.wordpress.org/chat/

    I can’t locate the link to the conversation with Wordfence but you’ll notice that the wording of the warning users get went from “Major Security Risk due to abandoned plugin” to “The Plugin appears to be abandoned.”

    Language is important and frightening users needlessly isn’t good. You can post to their plugin support forum if you like to ask them.

    https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/wordfence/#new-post

    I’m beginning to wish that WordPress had a policy around this. Perhaps to require that publishers of plugins on wordpress.org are required to submit each release of their code to a repository and sign an agreement to release the license to open source after 2 years of abandonment so that other developers can pick up the ongoing maintenance and support. Does this idea make any sense?

    No, it doesn’t. This is all predicated on the idea that abandoned code is somehow a more of a risk because it’s abandoned. It’s not, it never has been and that code has the same level of risk as any code here.

    *Drinks more coffee*

    WordPress as a free community volunteer open source* organization does have a responsibility to users. The software is used by… 27% of websites out there? That does mean there is a reputation impetus to not Do Wrong by The Users™. That covers security as well and is the reason why since WordPress 3.7 minor version updates happen automatically by default. Security is taken very seriously here.

    When any plugin is deemed to have exploitable code then the plugin is suspended and users cannot download it until it is fixed. That’s often a quick turnaround and yes, the risk is weighed in how that’s handled.

    When a plugin is abandoned and deemed to be exploitable there are a few options. If it’s a quick fix and the author isn’t replying or has just fallen off the face of the Internet then an update can be performed by the plugins team and pushed to users as a regular update.

    There is even a break glass functionality in WordPress that will upgrade a plugin without user intervention if the exploit is serious enough. I think that was used only once and it was a very big deal.

    This isn’t theoretical. The plugins team have been dealing with this for many years. If abandoned plugins suddenly became a risk (again, it hasn’t) then it would be dealt with by them.

    But it’s not an issue and if users think it is (and that’s fine) the plugins such as Wordfence will inform you of those old plugins for free.

    *Remember this part? “free community volunteer open source” People have a tendency to act like WordPress.ORG is some monolithic corporation with resources (meaning money, staff, more money, more staff, etc.) and it’s not.

    These forums, plugins, code repository and replies are all crafted and maintained by unpaid volunteers just like you. Adding some sort of policy like that is punitive. We all want people to contribute code here. Asking anyone to sign an agreement isn’t conducive to that and managing those agreements isn’t within the scope of a community project.

    Great plugin. Unfortunately I am also repeatedly bothered by the WordFence warning:

    The Plugin “Uber Login Logo” appears to be abandoned (updated September 28, 2014, tested to WP 4.0.18) … It was last updated 2 years 11 months ago and tested up to WordPress 4.0.18. It may have compatibility problems with the current version of WordPress or unknown security issues.

    Too bad, per previous comment this is an abandoned plugin. Was hoping for an eventual update. In time I will look for a substitute.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by wilderbee.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by wilderbee.
Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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