How to Botch a Security Vulnerability Discovery – WooThemes Case Study

Mon, Apr 30, 2012

Jason Gill disclosed a bug in the WooThemes WooFramework that allows any website visitor to run and see the output of any shortcode.

This gives unauthenticated visitors the same power to execute code on the server as regular publishers have. WordPress installations with unsecured shortcodes (such as [php] which allows raw PHP code to be run) are vulnerable to serious attacks if WooThemes are installed, even if they are not the selected theme for the site. It would be trivial to identify common insecure shortcodes and then attempt them against common WooThemes to attempt to run malicious code on the remote server.

The response from the WooThemes folks to this security vulnerability was less than stellar. This is a case study into the mistakes made by WooThemes during this incident that should hopefully serve as a model for what not to do.

What Bootstrapped Startups Can Learn From Rick Santorum

Mon, Jan 16, 2012

Oftentimes we look to other startups’ successes and failures as a roadmap for our own ventures. While that’s a smart strategy, I think much can also be learned from outside the startup scene – something we rarely consider. This is an unconventional case study that looks outside of startups to gather useful lessons learned.

Politics aside, Rick Santorum’s recent rise in popularity has been a great feat, and one that deserves a closer analysis. There are three important lessons for bootstrapped startups in Santorum’s story.

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