A WordPress plugin with over one million installs has been found to contain a critical vulnerability that could result in the execution of arbitrary code on compromised websites.

The plugin in question is Essential Addons for Elementor, which provides WordPress site owners with a library of over 80 elements and extensions to help design and customize pages and posts.

"This vulnerability allows any user, regardless of their authentication or authorization status, to perform a local file inclusion attack," Patchstack said in a report. "This attack can be used to include local files on the filesystem of the website, such as /etc/passwd. This can also be used to perform RCE by including a file with malicious PHP code that normally cannot be executed."


That said, the vulnerability only exists if widgets like dynamic gallery and product gallery are used, which utilize the vulnerable function, resulting in local file inclusion – an attack technique in which a web application is tricked into exposing or running arbitrary files on the webserver.

The flaw impacts all versions of the addon from 5.0.4 and below, and credited with discovering the vulnerability is researcher Wai Yan Myo Thet. Following responsible disclosure, the security hole was finally plugged in version 5.0.5 released on January 28 "after several insufficient patches."

The development comes weeks after it emerged that unidentified actors tampered with dozens of WordPress themes and plugins hosted on a developer's website to inject a backdoor with the goal of infecting further sites.

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