WordPress

WordPress (WP, WordPress.org) is a PHP-based content management system (CMS) that works for either a MySQL or MariaDB database.

Add a help tab to a WordPress Plugin

This is a help tab that can be found on the WordPress admin dashboard, a custom plugin can have also contextual help that can be found on the rightmost part of the admin screen.

Ever since WordPress Version 3.0, every built-in Administration Panel has contained a contextual help section providing additional information to the user on how to navigate the various settings displayed in that admin panel. This helps WordPress keep the main part of the admin panel clear and concise by eliminating unnecessary text that regular users don’t need to see on a regular basis.

https://codex.wordpress.org/Adding_Contextual_Help_to_Administration_Menus

We should use the Screen class to achieve adding the help tab.

This is a concrete class that is instantiated in the WordPress $screen global. It is primarily used to create and customize WordPress admin screens (as of WordPress 3.3).

https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/classes/wp_screen/

An example function to add a help tab using the WP_Screen class.

function my_add_help_tab() {
	$screen = get_current_screen();
	$screen->add_help_tab(
		array(
			'id' => 'hello_dolly',
			'title' => __( 'Hello Dolly' ),
			'content' => '<p>' . Well, hello, Dolly
It's so nice to have you back where you belong
You're lookin' swell, Dolly . '</p>',
		)
	);
	$screen->set_help_sidebar( __( 'Hello Dolly' ) );
}

There are two methods that are used add_help_tab and the set_help_sidebar. The add_help_tab would add the tab button on the screen and also the left-side title and the content.

The set_help_side_bar would add an additional third column.

Upon activation of an Options page or Menu page, use an action hook and use the callback function.

function my_options_page() {
	$my_menu_page = add_menu_page(
		'Hello_Dolly',
		'Hello Dolly',
		'manage_options',
		'wpl',
		'wpl_options_page_html'  // callback function to display the page
	);
	// Add help bar.
	add_action( 'load-' . $my_menu_page, 'my_add_help_tab' );
}

add_action( 'admin_menu', 'my_options_page' );

That’s all to it.

WordPress 6.0.3

WordPress.org has a new security update. This is a very important release because it fixes most of the XSS (Cross Site Scripting) vulnerabilities.

  • Widget block
  • Feature Image block
  • RSS Block
  • Search Block
  • Stored XSS via wp-mail.php
  • customizer

Another is the sanitation of the class WP_Date_Query. Be sure to update to the latest release. Download the latest version or update via WordPress dashboard.

Add a Section on WordPress Settings Page

The primary location to set up settings for various WordPress website parts is the Settings tab in the WordPress Admin sidebar.

Settings Sub-menu

Listed is the sub-menu for Settings Tab, these are:

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Permalinks
  • Privacy

Fields can be added to these pages by creating a simple plugin.


The WordPress functions which would be used are:

register_setting() – this would register our additional options.

add_settings_section() – this would be the section belonging to our custom settings field

add_settings_field() – this would be the custom field

First, we need to use a function that would initialize our plugin.

function wpl_settings_init() {
	// register a new setting for "reading" page.
	register_setting(
		'reading',              // $option_group
		'wpl_setting_example',  // $option_name
		array(
			'array',
			/** 'callback',         // $sanitize_callback. */
		),
	);

	// register a new section in the "reading" page.
	add_settings_section(
		'wpl_settings_section',           // $id
		'WPL Settings Section',           // $title
		'wpl_settings_section_callback',  // $callback
		'reading'                         // $page
	);

	// register a new field in the "wpl_settings_section" section, ins.
	add_settings_field(
		'wpl_settings_option1',           // $id
		'Option 1',                      // $title
		'wpl_settings_option1_callback',  // $callback
		'reading',                       // $page
		'wpl_settings_section',          // $section
	);

	// register a new field in the "wpl_settings_section" section, ins.
	add_settings_field(
		'wpl_settings_option2',           // $id
		'Option 2',                     // $title
		'wpl_settings_option2_callback',  // $callback
		'reading',                      // $page
		'wpl_settings_section',         // $section
	);

}
add_action( 'admin_init', 'wpl_settings_init' );

In my example code, I have added two fields, and here are the callbacks.

function wpl_settings_section_callback() {
	echo '<p>WPL Section Introduction</p>';
}

function wpl_settings_option1_callback() {
	$setting = get_option( 'wpl_setting_example' );
	?>
	<input type="text" name="wpl_setting_example[option1]" value="<?php echo isset( $setting['option1'] ) ? esc_attr( $setting['option1'] ) : ''; ?>">	
	<?php
}

function wpl_settings_option2_callback() {
	$setting = get_option( 'wpl_setting_example' );
	?>
	<input type="text" name="wpl_setting_example[option2]" value="<?php echo isset( $setting['option2'] ) ? esc_attr( $setting['option2'] ) : ''; ?>">	
	<?php
}

Here’s the visual output.

That’s all to it. Happy coding.

Block IPs in WordPress on Pantheon

This article is about blocking IPs in Pantheon for sites using the WordPress CMS. Prevent unwanted traffic incidents that might result in site outages and billing overages.

Review the nginx-access.log.

Download the nginx-access.log on the LIVE environment. The logs can be accessed using SFTP or by using the provided script from Pantheon’s documentation. Be sure to combine all the logs for a day if the site plan has multiple application containers. Identify the IP that has the highest number of visits and verify it with https://www.abuseipdb.com/

$ cat ~/site-logs/nginx-access.log | awk -F\" '{print $8}' | awk '{print $1}' | sort -n | uniq -c | sort -nr | head -20

Use a WordPress Plugin to Block IPs

Be sure to install the plugin WP Traffic Jammer that can be downloaded at WordPress.org https://wordpress.org/plugins/traffic-jammer. The plugin has a wp-cli command that can be used on a remote wp-cli call using Terminus. It also has a settings page to add a single IP or an IP range.

Block the IP using Terminus.

Use remote wp-cli via terminus to block the IP.

$ terminus wp <sitename>.<env> -- jam block <ip>

To unblock the IP.

$ terminus wp <sitename>.<env> -- jam unblock <ip>

Block the IP on the WordPress Admin Dashboard.

On the Admin Dashboard, you would see the left side menu, click “Traffic Jammer” and add a single IP or IPs, CIDR format can be also used for IP ranges.

Block the IP using a PHP Snippet

Use a PHP snippet that can be added to wp-config.php file. This offers an advantage since it would be triggered before loading all the plugins and themes.

if ( $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] == '154.84.133.8' ) {
  header( 'HTTP/1.0 403 Forbidden' );
  exit;
}

Log4j vulnerability new variants

The security team from Cloudflare did continue to investigate and found additional flaws in the 2.15.0 version of Apache Log4j, which allows adversaries to initiate denial-of-service (DoS) attacks (CVE-2021-45046). The issue has been addressed on the newly available version which is 2.16.0. All companies which include Log4j on their infrastructure stack are suggested to patch to the updated version.

Cloudflare is known for its DDOS protection and is used by more than seven million websites, they have advised their customers to modify the WAF configuration to mitigate the exploit.

Rule IDDescriptionDefault Action
100514 (legacy WAF)
6b1cc72dff9746469d4695a474430f12 (new WAF)
Log4J HeadersBLOCK
100515 (legacy WAF)
0c054d4e4dd5455c9ff8f01efe5abb10 (new WAF)
Log4J BodyBLOCK
100516 (legacy WAF)
5f6744fa026a4638bda5b3d7d5e015dd (new WAF)
Log4J URLBLOCK
Source: https://blog.cloudflare.com/protection-against-cve-2021-45046-the-additional-log4j-rce-vulnerability/

The mitigation is divided into three rules that look at HTTP headers, body, and URL, in that order.

They have also introduced a fourth rule that will guard against a far broader variety of assaults at the cost of a greater false-positive rate. As a result, they have made it available, but it’s not set to BLOCK by default:

Rule IDDescriptionDefault Action
100517 (legacy WAF)
2c5413e155db4365befe0df160ba67d7 (new WAF)
Log4J Advanced URI, HeadersDISABLED
Source: https://blog.cloudflare.com/protection-against-cve-2021-45046-the-additional-log4j-rce-vulnerability/

Cloudflare was the preferred choice of Kinsta, to make client websites faster and more secure. The reason they are not affected by log4j vulnerability. Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting company that offers feature-rich, cost-effective services. They received the highest rating this year from the G2 review.

Source: https://kinsta.com

The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) which is behind the famous Windows Defender, is also acting proactively on new threats in relation to the Apache log4j vulnerability. They posted new updates regularly in regards to log4j, here in this URL https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2021/12/11/guidance-for-preventing-detecting-and-hunting-for-cve-2021-44228-log4j-2-exploitation/

The cyber security experts from Praetorian posted on their youtube channel showing the 2.15.0 version of log4j still allows fetching of sensitive data.

Website owners are also worried that the vulnerability might be affecting their business. As the holidays are coming near, hopefully, vacation plans for this year’s end would not be canceled.