Joomla’s Backend Displaying phpMyAdmin

We had an interesting case today – a client of ours told us that whenever he tries to login to the administrator section of his website, he was seeing phpMyAdmin‘s login page instead of Joomla’s regular administrator login page. At first, we thought we misunderstood what the client said, but it didn’t take us long to discover that we didn’t (yes, there are 2 “didn’t’s” in this sentence, but it’s not a double negative).

We saw weird things on Joomla websites, but it was the first time we saw something that weird. What was even weirder was that the administrator folder of the Joomla website contained an extracted copy of phpMyAdmin (hence the phpMyAdmin login). It still contained everything the administrator folder had (with the exception of the index.php file, which was overwritten by that of the phpMyAdmin instance). Fixing the problem consisted of simply copying the administrator/index.php file from a fresh Joomla install (matching the client’s version) to the administrator folder of the actual website. Of course, we needed also to remove the folders associated with phpMyAdmin, but that wasn’t necessary to fix the problem.

But what caused this to happen?

We have 2 theories on what caused this:

  1. A staff member (working for the client) or the hosting company mistakenly uploaded phpMyAdmin to the administrator folder or our client’s website.
  2. The website was hacked, and the phpMyAdmin instance was uploaded to the administrator folder as part of the hack.

Obviously, we can’t do anything to avoid the first potential cause in the future as it is a human mistake. But for the second one, we implemented some security measures on the website (such as preventing access to files other than the index.php file) in order to better protect the website.

If your Joomla’s backend is suddenly displaying phpMyAdmin (or a different application), then make sure that phpMyAdmin (or that other application) is not installed in your administrator folder. If it is, then all you need to do is to remove it (e.g. remove the application) and restore the original administrator/index.php file. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then please contact us. We will solve the problem for you in as little time and for as little money as possible.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment