Bitweaver security settings

Created by: laetzer, Last modification: 13 Feb 2010 (19:57 UTC)

Security settings

After you installed Bitweaver, check the following settings:
  • In /kernel/config_inc.php the parameter IS_LIVE should be TRUE. This means, error messages are not exposed to visitors. To see the errors yourself, either monitor your error logs directly from the server, or set IS_LIVE to FALSE while testing and developing (and having other protection in place).
  • Rename your install/ directory. Rename it back only to install new packages or upgrade Bitweaver.
  • In Admin > Users > Permissions, make sure that Anonymous is not allowed to attach files to content (default: not allowed)
  • If you allow users to input HTML, enable HTMLPurifier, which strips malicious code.
  • If Anonymous can submit content, enable CAPTCHA (depends on your server's setup) in Admin > Liberty Settings

Security issues

Code injection into content

A malicious user might try to input code through on of Bitweaver's content forms (comment, wiki page etc). The best way to prevent susceptibility to HTML hacking is to disable HTML as an input format. As the Bitweaver framework allows a number of formats for content, using a wiki type format while not allowing HTML is the most secure option. It's also possible to allow HTML only for certain user groups (admins, editors etc).

If the flexibility of using HTML outweighs the security concerns, Bitweaver provides a number of additional tools to sanitise data entry. One advanatge of HTML is the availability of WYSIWYG editors like FCKeditor or TinyMCE. Both of these provide filtering of input, such as only allowing a sub set of HTML tags.

Since it is possible to bypass the editors to enter HTML, a more serious level of filtering is provided by Bitweaver's Simple HTML Purifier. Finally, the most secure and comprehensive option is to use HTMLPurifier.

SQL injection

A malicious user might try to inject code into the SQL database (Postgres, MySQL etc). Each database engine requires a different version of an attack to present viable SQL. Invalid SQL will result in an error report to the administrator. A 'White Screen', claiming that you are running Bitweaver in test mode, is only returned when the parameter IS_LIVE set to FALSE in kernel/config_inc.php. Sites being in production are expected to have set this to TRUE, while error reports are directed to appropriate error log files.

In the past, some of Bitweaver's search functions allowed the inclusion of additional SQL WHERE clauses. This was not database agnostic and has been replaced. Now, additional search options build the SQL internally, preventing any possible injection attack.


The "suck_url Information Disclosure" security issue has been fixed in version 2.1. Before, it was exploitable when the admin had enabled the feature wiki_url_import (default: disabled).

Hacking attempts

The script kiddie plague du jour is the idea to exploit code that does: include($varWithSomeUrlFromGetString); which would execute remotely written PHP. If such an attack is attemped, a Bitweaver install might mail an error message to you, the admin, alerting an "unknown column" or "unknown sort order" (note that normal users browsing your pages will never see any error message unless you set IS_LIVE to false in /kernel/config_inc.php). The error mail informs you that the attemptet hack failed (that it didn't do anything). See SQL injection above.

PHP security settings

  • For security reasons, your server might run PHP with features like open_basedir or safe_mode switched ON. See Install under safe mode.

Earlier Bitweaver versions

Bitweaver versions 1.3 and before were released in 2004/2005 (see bitweaverRoadMap). These versions are not supported anymore, i.e., the code hasn't been updated since the release. There are a couple of serious security issues. Some stem from 3rd party code, like left-over code from older versions, as well as the infamous XMLRPC bug (if enabled). Many of the improvements introduced with Bitweaver 2 addressed these issues specifically. In other words, don't install version 1.3. If you're running version 1.3 and are concerned about security, please upgrade Bitweaver.

Vulnerability Reports

A discussion of 3rd party Vulnerability Reports on the security of Bitweaver can be found on the page Vulnerability Report Status.


Porn Posts

by sourceview, 05 Feb 2008 (16:20 UTC)
A few days of neglect and I find 650 porn posts awaiting approval. Is there some way to get rid of these in bulk, without going in and erasing each one individually? And how do I arrange it so that only verified emails can post.

Re: Porn Posts

by Kozuch, 05 Feb 2008 (18:12 UTC)
So far I know you can only verify emails at registration... that means you could filter it there.

Re: Porn Posts

by Stephen, 17 Feb 2008 (10:14 UTC)
I disabled allowing anonymous users to post articles by changing the group permissions accordingly. Just an idea if you haven't do so already.--Just remember to enable posting articles to your registered users, or noone will be able to submit articles.
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