The Install Tool allows you to configure the TYPO3 CMS system on a very low level, which means, not only the basic settings but also the most essential settings can be changed. You do not necessarily need a TYPO3 CMS backend account to access the Install Tool, so it is clear that the Install Tool requires some special attention (and protection).
TYPO3 CMS already comes with a two step mechanism out-of-the-box to protect the Install Tool against unauthorized access: the first measure is a file called "ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL" which must exist if the Install Tool should be accessible. The second mechanism is a password protection, which is independent of all backend user passwords.
The "ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL" file can be created by putting an empty file into the directory "typo3conf". You usually need write access to this directory on a server level (for example via SSH, SFTP, etc.) or you can create this file as a backend user with administrator privileges. Since TYPO3 CMS version 6.2.0 administrators can unlock the Install Tool when accessing the module in the backend.
Conversely, this also means, you should delete this file as soon as you do not need to access the Install Tool any more. It should also be mentioned that TYPO3 deletes the "ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL" file automatically if you logout of the Install Tool or if the file is older than 60 minutes (expiry time). Both features can be deactivated if the content of this file is "KEEP_FILE", which is understandably not recommended.
The password for accessing the Install Tool is stored as a salted MD5 hash in the global configuration file "typo3conf/LocalConfiguration.php":
'BE' => 'installToolPassword' = '$P$CnawBtpk.D22VwoB2RsN0jCocLuQFp.'
Since TYPO3 version 6.2, the Install Tool password is set during the installation process. This means, in the case that a system administrator hands over the TYPO3 instance to you, he/she should also provide you with the appropriate password.
The first thing you should do, after taking over a new TYPO3 system from a system administrator, is to change the password to a new and secure one. Log-in to the Install Tool and change it there.
For additional security, the folder "typo3/install" can be renamed, deleted, or password protected on a server level (e.g. by a web server's user authentication mechanism). Please keep in mind that these measures have an impact on the usability of the system. If you are not the only person who uses the Install Tool, you should definitely discuss your intention with the team.
TYPO3 core updates¶
Since TYPO3 CMS 6.2, the Install Tool allows integrators to update the core of TYPO3 with a click of a button. This feature can be found under "Important actions" and it checks/installs revision updates only (e.g. bug fixes and security updates).
It should be noted that this feature can be disabled by the environment variable: