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Admin Tools for WordPress

version 1.0.0.rc1 Release Candidate

Released on: Friday, 16 November 2018 08:49

Release Notes

What's new

Administrator IP whitelist, Never Block these IPs: you can now add dynamic IP domain names instead of IPs by prefixing them with @. Let's say that you are using DynDNS and you've set up your Internet router to assign your IP address to the the DynDNS domain example.dyndns.info. You can now add @example.dyndns.info in the administrator IP whitelist or never block these IPs features to prevent your IP (as synchronized to example.dyndns.info) from being blocked from your site. This feature works with any kind of dynamic DNS provider; we are simply getting the IP address of the domain name you put after the at-sign. Also note that you shouldn't overdo it; each at-entry you add has a small but measurable performance impact whenever a security exception occurs on your site.

In multi-site installs, allow the usage as network plugin only. It's not like you could use the plugin as a regular Administrator (as opposed to Network Administrator) before. You would just get an error message. Now we just hide the plugin from the blogs of your network and only display it in the network administration dashboard when you're logged in as a Network Administrator.

Bug fixes. We have addressed some known issues with our software. Please consult the CHANGELOG.

Latest WordPress only

While our software should run on any WordPress version newer than 3.8 (with several features only working fully or at all on WordPress 4.4 and later) we VERY STRONGLY recommend using the latest version of WordPress only. Newer versions of WordPress address security issues which can not be guarded against through a web application firewall / security plugin. Moreover, newer WordPress versions address bugs and features which by themselves are not security issues but can be used to facilitate the compromise of a site. For example, support for the UTF8MB4 character code may have been billed as “Emoji support” but, in fact, addresses a whole class of very sinister database attacks, hinging on the way MySQL quashes extended characters in plain UTF8 mode, which are impossible to address in a generic firewall.

In short: trying to have a secure site with old code that contains known vulnerabilities is an exercise in futility. Do the smart thing, update WordPress first, then use a security plugin to tighten your security.

PHP 5.4.0 or any later 5.x/7.x version is required

We do not provide support for PHP versions 4.3, 4.4, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 or 5.3 anymore. These versions of PHP have been end of life for years. In fact, the last one of them (PHP 5.3) has been end of life since August 2014 and widely considered a security risk, unfit for production sites. Our software requires PHP 5.4 or later and is compatible with PHP 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3. We strongly recommend using PHP 5.6 or 7.2.

HEADS UP! We will be dropping official support for PHP 5.4, 5.5 and 7.0 starting January 2019.

Admin Tools and GDPR compliance

Disclaimer: this is not a legal advisory. Please consult your lawyer if you are unsure.

On May 25th, 2018 the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. We have been asked about how Admin Tools complies with it a few times. The following is our understanding of it but it does not constitute legal advice of any kind.

While storing IP information may be considered personally identifiable information, the GDPR makes an exception for IP information stored in the context of security. As such the Admin Tools' security exceptions log and related IP whitelist, IP blacklist, automatic IP blocks and automatic IP blocks history is outside the scope of personal data protection.

Text log files may, however, contain privileged information as they capture the entirety of the request sent by the user to your site. We therefore recommend that you DISABLE the "Keep a debug log file" option in the Configure WAF page. Please note that if your logs directory is under your web root and you have not used Admin Tools' features, such as the .htaccess Maker, to secure these directories all your logs may be publicly accessible. We recommend that you always make your logs and temporary directories inaccessible to the web for security reasons.

Furthermore, the GDPR calls for data minimization. To comply with this requirement we urge you to set the "Maximum security exceptions log entries" option to a non-zero value in the Plugin Options page. Typically, a value of 1000 to 10000 provides a good balance between data minimization and security.

The Project Honeypot and "Warn about use of well-known passwords" features do transmit information to third parties. However, this information is anonymous and should, therefore, fall outside the scope of the GDPR.

Changelog

Bug fixes

  • [HIGH] Fixed fatal error while building the language strings in auto-prepend mode (however, the attack was already blocked)
  • [HIGH] On some servers, site could crash while trying to run Admin Tools cron
  • [HIGH] Site crash when you try activating the plugin on a host with PHP older than 5.4.0. A warning should be issued instead and the plugin should refuse to activate.
  • [HIGH] The URL redirection is broken when using a relative existing URL
  • [LOW] Default state of protect from plugin deactivation should be "disabled"
  • [LOW] No icon displayed on multisite installations
  • [LOW] Optional fonts were included in the package, bloating its size
  • [LOW] Remove temporary data from the database after uninstall
  • [MEDIUM] RFIShield throws a warning on array arguments
  • [MEDIUM] WordPress 4.9 uses a .php file to deliver the editor's JavaScript file. Now it's added to the default exceptions.

New features

  • Administrator IP whitelist, Never Block these IPs: you can now add dynamic IP domain names instead of IPs by prefixing them with @.
  • In multi-site installs, allow the usage as network plugin only

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