Beware Drupal, Joomla! plug-in vulnerabilities

  • 1-Mar-2010

IBM has released its IBM Security Solutions X-Force 2009 Trend and Risk Report, and the news for users of popular WCM platforms Drupal, Joomla!, TYPO3, and WordPress is decidedly mixed.

According to IBM's research, while Apache and PHP account for only 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent (respectively) of total reported vulnerabilities, Drupal accounted for 2.7 percent and Joomla! accounted for 2.6 percent. TYPO3 and WordPress fared somewhat better, at 1.5 and 0.4 percent, respectively.

But the more ominous news has to do with patches for security problems involving plug-ins. A whopping 80 percent of the vulnerabilities reported for Joomla! plug-ins (against 13 percent for Drupal plug-ins) had no available security patches by year's end. That compares to 8 percent of Joomla! core system vulnerabilities that had no known patch, and 18 percent of Drupal core vulnerabilities with no patch. If you're a TYPO3 user, you'll find that 51 percent of plug-in vulnerabilities have no patch (versus just 5% of core system gotchas), while with WordPresss the unpatched plug-in flaws come to 57 percent, versus 13 percent for core.

Bottom line: Systems that are heavily reliant on plug-ins are more apt to have security vulnerabilities for which there is no known patch. Why is this?  Even frequently-used plug-ins are not always actively maintained and enhanced by their original developers.  Our Web CMS evaluation research cites some specific examples across several platforms. 

Our customers say...

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Peter Morville, Consultant, Guru Author, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

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