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Thursday, 13 February 2020 21:14

Dangerous Southern Rail Trains

Recently I went to board a train at Arundel station on a Sunday, where there is a service every hour if you fancy a trip out. As usual it turned into a disaster and down right danger. I have put in italics the amusing "sorry, not sorry " parts.

Dear southern rail
On the 1559 Arundel to Chichester. I Walked with my dog along the platform towards front 4 carriages and guard saw  me along with about 5 other people .
The Guard then got back on train, but the dog then decided to pooh on platform, I scooped it up in a bag and I was about a foot from door.
I turned round and train doors were locked, I was pressing the button and it pulled away while I was pressing button and very close to train (inside the yellow line)
There was No call from guard and driver didn't check clear safe platform. Not even shout and i was in the train danger zone and it left.
The Woman in ticket office said i can complain but wont do any good. She said the Driver is in charge not guard and to wait for next one as I missed it.

Monday, 27 June 2016 12:45

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Saturday, 19 March 2016 21:12


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Internal Notes on the VEL API

This is intended as a short summary of what I have done with the API. Feel free to argue with any points, if you feel that I have got it wrong.

I have prepared some short documentation on the VEL API which we can make available to users (see vel-api-documentation.html), which explains how to access it. This purpose of document is to explain to us how to use it.

The fields actually included in the public feed are these ones:-

Format of the Feed Items

  • id: the id of the listing
  • title: the name of the listing, usually the extension name plus vulnerable versions
  • description: includes information that cannot be easily put in other fields, eg if version numbers do not correspond to standard version conventions this can be explained here
  • status: 1 = live, 2 = resolved
  • jed: url of jed listing if any
  • cve_id: CVE and/or other vulnerability tracking database IDs
  • cwe_id: CWE vulnerability classification IDs
  • risk level: eg low, medium, high
  • recommendation: this field is used to give recommendation to the end user how to handle the subject extension, eg to update
  • cvss30_base: cvss 3.0 base vector string see https://www.first.org/cvss/calculator/3.0
  • cvss30_base_score: cvss 3.0 numeric score
  • start_version: starting extension version where vulnerability is present, will be empty if all previous versions are likely to be vulnerable
  • vulnerable_version: most recent version known to be vulnerable
  • patch_version: version where vulnerability is patched, will be empty if no patch available
  • update_notice: url of developer's update notice, if any
  • install_data: json fomatted installation data from extension installation manifest, including name, type, creationDate, author, authorUrl, copyright, version and group (for plugins)
  • created: ISO8601 creation date of the listing
  • modified: ISO8601 modification date of the listing
  • statusText: "Live", or "Resolved"

Adding a New Item to the Feed

It is pretty straightforward, go to components->VEL, click 'new'.

I hope that the feeds are fairly self-explanatory. Note that we can add internal notes to the internal description field, these will not be made public. We can link the entry to a joomla article if we want, that might be useful in future, it will provide a way to link items to the current VEL articles.

You must change the status to live or resolved for it to show up in the feed.

The vulnerability type field is for our use only, and is not included in the feed, we don't have to use it but might find it useful to keep track of the vulnerability types in our database.

We can upload the extension manifest, then the data from the manifest will be automatically parsed, to give us the following:-

  • name,
  • type,
  • creationDate,
  • author,
  • authorUrl,
  • copyright,
  • version
  • and group (for plugins)

Accessing the Feed

It will be accessed at https://vel.joomla.org/index.php?option=com_vel&format=json. There will also be a verification hash at https://vel.joomla.org/index.php?option=com_vel&format=json&task=verify. The verification hash updates when the feed updates, so plugins can use this to check whether it is necessary to fetch an updated version of the feed. Note that com_vel does not output anything else.


Com_vel has its own cache, which should cache the feed for up to a year, if nothing changes. Whenever a new item is added, or one is deleted (if that ever happens), or one is edited, the cache will be automatically cleared, and a new cached page will then be generated. Similarly the verification hash will be updated. So it should be quite efficient.

Additional Fields

There is always the possibility of adding additional fields if we decide that they are wanted, and actually there are several more that exist as fields in the database but are not currently included in the feed, mainly in order to keep things simple.

However they are all still there in the database, making it easier to include them in the feed later if we want. The main ones that have been dropped for now are the CVSS 3.0 temporal and environmental scores, as we discussed previously they probably do not add anything significant, and it would be fine to use just the base score. However the CVSS temporal and environmental scores do exist as fields in the database so can quite easily be added if we ever want to do so.

I have come round to the idea that including the CVSS 3.0 base score and vector string is a good idea, and actually much better than saying what type of vulnerability (eg SQL injection) it is. I have kept a field for the vulnerability type available to us in the admin, it might come in useful, but the vulnerability type is not included in the public feed.

There is also the possibility of crediting the discoverer of the vulnerability, if they want to be publicly credited, again it is a field in the database but not currently in the feed.

At the moment which fields are public is hard-coded into the extension (in models/items.php), there are some advantages to keeping it that way, at least it means that a mis-configuration will not accidentally make public any internal data. Still I may look at improving that at some point.