[pmwiki-users] PmWiki at sourceforge, can it be secured?

Bo Peng ben.bob at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 21:46:04 CST 2009

>> At sourceforge, we have to store the wiki pages under a 'persistent'
>> directory. Now, while setting up a test site, I checked and noticed the
>> following unfortunate behaviour.
>> * It's possible for one project, 'A', to run a PHP-script that can
>>    write to the persistent directory of project 'B'.

The problem is basically that a .php script executed by sf.net can
write to any writable location of sf.net, which are usually
apache-writable directories under the persistent directory of some
projects. sf.net fully understands this, as some casual search turn

1. If someone has a configuration file that stores passwords, another
user can easily write a php script to read it through apache.

2. http://apps.sourceforge.net/trac/sitedocs/wiki/Project%20web%20and%20developer%20web%20platform

In UNIX-based systems, CGI scripts must be run as a particular user.
On our server, they are run as the user nobody, a member of the group
nobody (the user nfsnobody may also appear, which, is effectively the
same as the user nobody). Files that must be manipulated by scripts
must be set to be world-writable. Writable files must be placed in the
/home/groups/P/PR/PROJECT/persistent directory structure. *The shared
environment of our web service has significant security implications
for file-writing applications; please program your scripts
accordingly. You are encouraged to make frequent backups of all
project data.*

3. php specific (from the same page):

Many third-party applications require sessions support. Sessions are
commonly implemented in PHP to track basic preference and
authentication information about a user, as they browse pages on your
project web site. We encourage you to store session data in your
project database. If file-based session data storage is required,
session data may be placed under the
/home/groups/P/PR/PROJECT/persistent directory.

In summary, using apache-writable directories in a shared-environment
is risky and there is no good solution to it. I do not think there are good
solutions and I personally do not think this is a big deal. After all, we are
more likely to suffer from sf.net slowness or disruption than such
malicious attacks.


More information about the pmwiki-users mailing list