vBulletin users warned of potential exploit

The forum software's developers advise users to delete the 'install' folder

The developers of the popular vBulletin commercial Internet forum software are investigating a potential exploit and advised users to delete the "install" directory from their deployments as a precaution.

"A potential exploit vector has been found in the vBulletin 4.1+ and 5+ installation directories," Wayne Luke, technical support lead at vBulletin Solutions, the company that develops the software, announced this week on the vBulletin community forum. "Our developers are investigating this issue at this time. If deemed necessary we will release the necessary patches."

Luke advised users to delete the 'install' directory from their vBulletin installations in order to mitigate the issue that hasn't yet been disclosed. The directory that should be deleted is "/install" for vBulletin 4.1.x versions and "/core/install" for the 5.x versions.

This directory normally contains the scripts and files used during the original installation process and subsequent upgrades.

In the "Cleaning up after Install" section of the vBulletin manual users are advised to delete all files and subdirectories from the "install" directory as a security precaution. However, they are not advised to delete the directory itself.

It's not clear what the exploit currently being investigated would allow potential attackers to do, but the fact that it prompted an advance warning from the developers suggests that it might have serious implications.

Luke declined to disclose information about the nature of the exploit.

"I am sorry but in the interest of security for our customers, we can not discuss this issue at this time," he said Thursday via email.

"Going back to our logs, we dont see any specific scans for /core/install, but we see constant discovery requests for /install," said Daniel Cid, chief security officer at Sucuri, a company that provides website security monitoring and malware clean-up services, in a blog post. "We dont yet know if that is related to vBulletin or other CMSs [content management systems]."

Attackers are constantly trying to exploit vulnerabilities in popular content management systems in order to break into websites, and while vBulletin does not power as many websites as WordPress, Joomla or some other general-purpose CMS software, it is one of the most popular applications for setting up Internet discussion forums.

According to vBulletin Solutions, over 100,000 community websites are running on vBulletin, including some operated by Zynga, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures, NASA, Valve Corporation and other well known companies.

In July, hackers broke into UbuntuForums.org, a community website for the Ubuntu Linux distribution with over 1.8 million registered accounts, and managed to access information about users, including email addresses and password hashes. The site was using vBulletin.

"In summary, the root cause was a combination of a compromised individual account and the configuration settings in vBulletin, the Forums application software," Canonical, the company that operates the site, said in a blog post following the incident.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intrusionapplicationssecuritycanonicalcontent managementSucurisoftwarevBulletin SolutionsExploits / vulnerabilities

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?