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Ultimate Guide to securing your Forums
veenuisthebest
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,416

100% BCA, 33.33% CA

India
by veenuisthebest veenuisthebest is offline 18 Oct 2008
Rating: (6 votes - 5.00 average)

Securing your forums from Hackers:-

1. Always Keep your vbulletin updated to the latest version taking special care of security fixes.

2. Use the Rename admincp directory feature in config.php

3. Keep your following directories .htaccess protected. Most users can do this via Password Protect Directories option in cPanel.

admincp/
modcp/
includes/
install/

Even vbulletin.com has protected the above directories.

4. Edit your config.php to make yourself an undeletable user.

5. Keep your vbulletin superadmin, FTP/SFTP and .htaccess username/password distinct and unique. You can use the Random Password Generation feature in cPanel or let sites like http://www.goodpassword.com/ generate them for you.

6. Make sure you have your vbulletin PHP files chmod 0644 and NEVER 0777.

7. Keep your forum as much clean as you can. Stay away from mods that you think won't benefit your community much. The lesser the mods, the more secure you are.

8. After uninstalling mods/hacks from vborg, do not forget to Remove the files that you uploaded with the hack.

9.Never allow HTML in posts, PM's and sigs.

10. You should NEVER upload the contents of do_not_upload folder like tools.php from the downloaded vb zip on your server. If ever you need to upload them, delete them immediately after use.

11. Never save a backup of your database under public_html as that would make your database downloadable to the world.

12. Keep your PC periodically tested against viruses, malwares and trojans.

13. For official vb staff's always updated tips and tricks to make your forums more and more secure, visit this thread.
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=194701


Securing your forums from Spammers:-

I think this thread by the official vb staff will be enough for taking care of our spam problems.
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=275800

Some points to highlight:-


1. Use Recaptcha and Add an Extra question to the Registration to prevent bot registrations.

2. There's no harm in getting an Akismet Personal Key and enabling the option in admincp->vbulletin options->Spam Management. You may set the Spam Scanning Post Threshold to 2 or 3.

3. List of email domains to Ban

4. You can ban usernames containing words like sale, offer etc. in User Registration Options->Illegal Usernames

5. I would largely recommend this mod from Andy Huang (vb staff) that Detects Spam based on Keywords Weight. It works perfect on my latest 3.7.3.PL1 board and believe it or not, I could see the human spammer (from who's online ofcourse) getting an error message while creating a thread and leaving the board frustrated.

Hope you find it useful, will keep it updated.

Source: http://tech6.com/f51/ultimate-guide-...r-forums-t319/

P.S.: Please do not copy this guide.

Last edited by veenuisthebest; 03 Apr 2009 at 04:00..
Views: 55491
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  #2  
Old 19 Oct 2008, 23:31
Alex LD Alex LD is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Real name: Alex
Great tutorial.

Also keep in mind to help make staff change their passwords to prevent a hacker from cracking the hash if he does get his hands on it. It is also a good Idea to password protect the ModCP and AdminCP Directory once You've renamed them just for safety. This can be done in your hosting control panel. Like cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin etc...

~ Alex
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  #3  
Old 26 Oct 2008, 17:59
raznaran raznaran is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
I've locked myself out - please help

Handled

Last edited by raznaran; 26 Oct 2008 at 18:44.
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  #4  
Old 12 Apr 2009, 00:42
creative-friend creative-friend is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
3. Keep your following directories .htaccess protected. Most users can do this via Password Protect Directories option in cPanel.

admincp/
modcp/
includes/
install/

Can You Explain This Please....
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  #5  
Old 12 Apr 2009, 04:39
veenuisthebest's Avatar
veenuisthebest veenuisthebest is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Real name: Vinayak
Originally Posted by creative-friend View Post
3. Keep your following directories .htaccess protected. Most users can do this via Password Protect Directories option in cPanel.

admincp/
modcp/
includes/
install/

Can You Explain This Please....
umm.. its pretty much self explanatory i guess.

As said, go to cpanel -> Password Protect Directories -> and simply protect those 4 directories.

Provide a secure username/pass, NOT the same as your admincp/ftp etc.
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  #6  
Old 17 Apr 2009, 13:17
creative-friend creative-friend is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
ohh okay
thanks.

--------------- Added 17 Apr 2009 at 13:19 ---------------

sorry for asking you again but how shall i put password on that??
im not really sure...

Last edited by creative-friend; 17 Apr 2009 at 13:19. Reason: Auto-Merged DoublePost
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  #7  
Old 13 Jul 2009, 12:20
joyboy2001 joyboy2001 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
great guide ... thanks ...
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  #8  
Old 16 Aug 2009, 08:54
bluej's Avatar
bluej bluej is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Originally Posted by veenuisthebest View Post
umm.. its pretty much self explanatory i guess.

As said, go to cpanel -> Password Protect Directories -> and simply protect those 4 directories.

Provide a secure username/pass, NOT the same as your admincp/ftp etc.
could someone explain this a little better for us that are newer at this but would like to do what we can to secure our sites...

what cpanel is he talking about? in vbulletin? at the database?

thanks so much
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  #9  
Old 18 Aug 2009, 09:00
veenuisthebest's Avatar
veenuisthebest veenuisthebest is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Real name: Vinayak
There is just one cpanel. Its the site administration control panel at the server level. If you don't know about it, you probably haven't used it. You'll need to contact your host about this.
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  #10  
Old 07 Sep 2009, 03:46
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bluej bluej is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Originally Posted by veenuisthebest View Post
There is just one cpanel. Its the site administration control panel at the server level. If you don't know about it, you probably haven't used it. You'll need to contact your host about this.
contacted my host about this and they said that since i am on shared hosting that it was a file that i would have to create myself ...

how do i create the .htaccess file and where do i put it? in each of the folders you listed?

also on #11 (11. Never save a backup of your database under public_html as that would make your database downloadable to the world.) how do i know whether or not my backup is under public_html?


sorry for being so new at this, still learning...thanks for your help
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  #11  
Old 11 Sep 2009, 17:26
veenuisthebest's Avatar
veenuisthebest veenuisthebest is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Real name: Vinayak
bluej,

For .htaccess password protecting directories, if you are unable to do it via cpanel you'll have to manually do it. Just make a simple google search, you'll get it.

About db backup files - when you connect to FTP, the top folder you'll see would probably be public_html or htdocs or httpdocs or html. Always save your backups above THIS top folder. Simple as that.
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  #12  
Old 17 Oct 2009, 13:04
MaXeL3G3ND MaXeL3G3ND is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Nice guide :-)
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  #13  
Old 20 Oct 2009, 20:54
Weetabix Weetabix is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Will this apply to vB4, maybe with a few more dirs?
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  #14  
Old 03 Nov 2009, 08:48
pitzerwm pitzerwm is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
I guess, I am a newbie too. I know what the cpanel is but I can't find the password directories "place" Some more detailed direction please.

--------------- Added 03 Nov 2009 at 08:54 ---------------

My experience. I just upgraded from 3.6.8 to 3.8.4. In the past I was using Recaptcha and do get the occasional spammer, used "One Touch" to ban him and his IP. Reading somewhere here, someone said that the question was better, so I did that, and promptly got about 20 spammers. I installed more mods recommended here, but I think going back to Recaptcha worked the best. I have a small forum, 1500 a day, I feel sorry for you guys with big ones with a lot of traffic.

Last edited by pitzerwm; 03 Nov 2009 at 08:55. Reason: Auto-Merged DoublePost
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  #15  
Old 31 Dec 2009, 00:36
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Skydiver10 Skydiver10 is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Arrow Thank you

Hi, nice article, my forums were hacked 2 months ago and I had done none of this.

After I deleted the malicious code that was injected by a hacker into my main forums page, I quickly added a .htaccess and .htpasswd files to my admincp directory on my host. Since then I have had no problems.

After finding your article today, I added a .htaccess and .htpasswd files to the modcp, includes, and install directories.

After checking the file permission through my ftp client I find that all of my php files are set at 705.

One question that has been burning in my mind is, all of my .php files are set to 705.....should I change them all to 644, and if I change them to 644 will this effect any of my members while they are posting and using the forum? I do have a handful of mods installed.

Also, if I change them all to 644, what are the exact files, every single php file in every directory of the VB forums upload?

If I have the four directories admincp, modcp, includes, and install, now with .htaccess and .htpasswd, why should I change the file permissions in those four directories if they are password protected? Is this for extra added security in case the password is hacked?

Thanks again for this article!
Looking forward to your response.....thank you!
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