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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: WordPress

Over a Million WordPress Sites Forcibly Updated to Patch a Critical Plugin Vulnerability

Over a Million WordPress Sites Forcibly Updated to Patch a Critical Plugin Vulnerability

June 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
WordPress websites using a widely used plugin named Ninja Forms have been updated automatically to remediate a critical security vulnerability that's suspected of having been actively exploited in the wild. The issue, which relates to a case of code injection, is rated 9.8 out of 10 for severity and affects multiple versions starting from 3.0. It has been fixed in 3.0.34.2, 3.1.10, 3.2.28, 3.3.21.4, 3.4.34.2, 3.5.8.4, and 3.6.11. Ninja Forms is a  customizable contact form builder  that has over 1 million installations. According to Wordfence, the bug "made it possible for unauthenticated attackers to call a limited number of methods in various Ninja Forms classes, including a method that unserialized user-supplied content, resulting in Object Injection." "This could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code or delete arbitrary files on sites where a separate [property oriented programming] chain was present," Chloe Chamberland of Wordfence  noted . Suc
YODA Tool Found ~47,000 Malicious WordPress Plugins Installed in Over 24,000 Sites

YODA Tool Found ~47,000 Malicious WordPress Plugins Installed in Over 24,000 Sites

June 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as 47,337 malicious plugins have been uncovered on 24,931 unique websites, out of which 3,685 plugins were sold on legitimate marketplaces, netting the attackers $41,500 in illegal revenues. The findings come from a new tool called  YODA  that aims to detect rogue WordPress plugins and track down their origin, according to an 8-year-long study conducted by a group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Attackers impersonated benign plugin authors and spread malware by distributing pirated plugins," the researchers  said  in a new paper titled " Mistrust Plugins You Must ." "The number of malicious plugins on websites has steadily increased over the years, and malicious activity peaked in March 2020. Shockingly, 94% of the malicious plugins installed over those 8 years are still active today." The large-scale research entailed analyzing WordPress plugins installed in 410,122 unique web servers dating all the way back to 2012
Researchers Find Backdoor in School Management Plugin for WordPress

Researchers Find Backdoor in School Management Plugin for WordPress

May 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple versions of a WordPress plugin by the name of "School Management Pro" harbored a backdoor that could grant an adversary complete control over vulnerable websites. The issue, spotted in premium versions before 9.9.7, has been assigned the CVE identifier  CVE-2022-1609  and is rated 10 out of 10 for severity. The backdoor, which is believed to have existed since version 8.9, enables "an unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary PHP code on sites with the plugin installed," Jetpack's Harald Eilertsen  said  in a Friday write-up. School Management, developed by an India-based company called  Weblizar , is billed as a Wordpress add-on to "manage complete school operation." It also claims more than 340,000 customers of its premium and free WordPress themes and plugins. The WordPress security company noted that it uncovered the implant on May 4 after it was alerted to the presence of heavily obfuscated code in the license-checking code of t
Thousands of WordPress Sites Hacked to Redirect Visitors to Scam Sites

Thousands of WordPress Sites Hacked to Redirect Visitors to Scam Sites

May 12, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a massive campaign that's responsible for injecting malicious JavaScript code into compromised WordPress websites that redirects visitors to scam pages and other malicious websites to generate illegitimate traffic. "The websites all shared a common issue — malicious JavaScript had been injected within their website's files and the database, including legitimate core WordPress files," Krasimir Konov, a malware analyst at Sucuri,  said  in a report published Wednesday. This involved infecting files such as jquery.min.js and jquery-migrate.min.js with obfuscated JavaScript that's activated on every page load, allowing the attacker to redirect the website visitors to a destination of their choice. The GoDaddy-owned website security company said that the domains at the end of the redirect chain could be used to load advertisements, phishing pages, malware, or even trigger another set of redirects. In some instances, unsus
Critical RCE Flaw Reported in WordPress Elementor Website Builder Plugin

Critical RCE Flaw Reported in WordPress Elementor Website Builder Plugin

April 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Elementor, a WordPress website builder plugin with over five million active installations, has been found to be vulnerable to an authenticated remote code execution flaw that could be abused to take over affected websites. Plugin Vulnerabilities, which  disclosed  the flaw last week, said the bug was introduced in version 3.6.0 that was released on March 22, 2022. Roughly  37% of users  of the plugin are on version 3.6.x. "That means that malicious code provided by the attacker can be run by the website," the researchers said. "In this instance, it is possible that the vulnerability might be exploitable by someone not logged in to WordPress, but it can easily be exploited by anyone logged in to WordPress who has access to the WordPress admin dashboard." In a nutshell, the issue relates to a case of arbitrary file upload to affected websites, potentially leading to code execution. The bug has been addressed in the latest version of Elementor, with Patchstack 
Critical Flaw Uncovered in WordPress Backup Plugin Used by Over 3 Million Sites

Critical Flaw Uncovered in WordPress Backup Plugin Used by Over 3 Million Sites

February 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Patches have been issued to contain a "severe" security vulnerability in UpdraftPlus, a WordPress plugin with over three million installations, that can be weaponized to download the site's private data using an account on the vulnerable sites. "All versions of UpdraftPlus from March 2019 onwards have contained a vulnerability caused by a missing permissions-level check, allowing untrusted users access to backups," the maintainers of the plugin said in an advisory published this week. Security researcher Marc-Alexandre Montpas of Automattic has been credited with discovering and reporting the vulnerability on February 14 that's been assigned the identifier  CVE-2022-0633  (CVSS score: 8.5). The issue impacts UpdraftPlus versions from 1.16.7 to 1.22.2. UpdraftPlus is a  backup and restoration solution  that's capable of performing full, manual, or scheduled backups of WordPress files, databases, plugins and themes, which can then be reinstated via th
Critical RCE Flaws in 'PHP Everywhere' Plugin Affect Thousands of WordPress Sites

Critical RCE Flaws in 'PHP Everywhere' Plugin Affect Thousands of WordPress Sites

February 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Critical security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in a WordPress plugin known as PHP Everywhere that's used by more than 30,000 websites worldwide and could be abused by an attacker to execute arbitrary code on affected systems. PHP Everywhere is  used  to flip the switch on PHP code across WordPress installations, enabling users to insert and execute PHP-based code in the content management system's Pages, Posts, and Sidebar. The three issues, all rated 9.9 out of a maximum of 10 on the CVSS rating system, impact versions 2.0.3 and below, and are as follows - CVE-2022-24663  - Remote Code Execution by Subscriber+ users via shortcode CVE-2022-24664  - Remote Code Execution by Contributor+ users via metabox, and CVE-2022-24665  - Remote Code Execution by Contributor+ users via gutenberg block Successful exploitation of the three vulnerabilities could result in the execution of malicious PHP code that could be leveraged to achieve a complete site takeover. WordPres
Hackers Planted Secret Backdoor in Dozens of WordPress Plugins and Themes

Hackers Planted Secret Backdoor in Dozens of WordPress Plugins and Themes

January 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
In yet another instance of software supply chain attack, dozens of WordPress themes and plugins hosted on a developer's website were backdoored with malicious code in the first half of September 2021 with the goal of infecting further sites. The backdoor gave the attackers full administrative control over websites that used 40 themes and 53 plugins belonging to AccessPress Themes, a Nepal-based company that boasts of no fewer than 360,000 active website installations. "The infected extensions contained a dropper for a web shell that gives the attackers full access to the infected sites," security researchers from JetPack, a WordPress plugin suite developer, said in a  report  published this week. "The same extensions were fine if downloaded or installed directly from the WordPress[.]org directory." The vulnerability has been assigned the identifier  CVE-2021-24867 . Website security platform Sucuri, in a separate analysis,  said  some of the infected websit
High-Severity Vulnerability in 3 WordPress Plugins Affected 84,000 Websites

High-Severity Vulnerability in 3 WordPress Plugins Affected 84,000 Websites

January 16, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have disclosed a security shortcoming affecting three different WordPress plugins that impact over 84,000 websites and could be abused by a malicious actor to take over vulnerable sites. "This flaw made it possible for an attacker to update arbitrary site options on a vulnerable site, provided they could trick a site's administrator into performing an action, such as clicking on a link," WordPress security company Wordfence  said  in a report published last week. Tracked as CVE-2022-0215, the cross-site request forgery ( CSRF ) flaw is rated 8.8 on the CVSS scale and impacts three plugins maintained by  Xootix  — Login/Signup Popup  (Inline Form + Woocommerce), Side Cart Woocommerce  (Ajax), and Waitlist Woocommerce  (Back in stock notifier) Cross-site request forgery, also known as one-click attack or session riding, occurs when an authenticated end-user is tricked by an attacker into submitting a specially crafted web request. "If the victim i
1.6 Million WordPress Sites Under Cyberattack From Over 16,000 IP Addresses

1.6 Million WordPress Sites Under Cyberattack From Over 16,000 IP Addresses

December 10, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as 1.6 million WordPress sites have been targeted by an active large-scale attack campaign originating from 16,000 IP addresses by exploiting weaknesses in four plugins and 15 Epsilon Framework themes. WordPress security company Wordfence, which  disclosed  details of the attacks, said Thursday it had detected and blocked more than 13.7 million attacks aimed at the plugins and themes in a period of 36 hours with the goal of taking over the websites and carrying out malicious actions. The plugins in question are Kiwi Social Share (<= 2.0.10), WordPress Automatic (<= 3.53.2), Pinterest Automatic (<= 4.14.3), and PublishPress Capabilities (<= 2.3), some of which have been patched dating all the way back to November 2018. The impacted Epsilon Framework themes and their corresponding versions are as follows — Activello (<=1.4.1) Affluent (<1.1.0) Allegiant (<=1.2.5) Antreas (<=1.0.6) Bonkers (<=1.0.5) Brilliance (<=1.2.9) Illdy (<=2.1.6) M
New Capoae Malware Infiltrates WordPress Sites and Installs Backdoored Plugin

New Capoae Malware Infiltrates WordPress Sites and Installs Backdoored Plugin

September 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A recently discovered wave of malware attacks has been spotted using a variety of tactics to enslave susceptible machines with easy-to-guess administrative credentials to co-opt them into a network with the goal of illegally mining cryptocurrency. "The malware's primary tactic is to spread by taking advantage of vulnerable systems and weak administrative credentials. Once they've been infected, these systems are then used to mine cryptocurrency," Akamai security researcher Larry Cashdollar  said  in a write-up published last week. The PHP malware — codenamed "Capoae" (short for "Сканирование," the Russian word for "Scanning") — is said to be delivered to the hosts via a backdoored addition to a WordPress plugin called "download-monitor," which gets installed after successfully brute-forcing WordPress admin credentials. The attacks also involve the deployment of a  Golang binary  with decryption functionality, with the obfusc
Hackers‌ ‌Actively‌ ‌Exploiting‌ ‌0-Day‌ ‌in WordPress Plugin Installed on Over ‌17,000‌ ‌Sites

Hackers‌ ‌Actively‌ ‌Exploiting‌ ‌0-Day‌ ‌in WordPress Plugin Installed on Over ‌17,000‌ ‌Sites

June 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Fancy Product Designer, a WordPress plugin installed on over 17,000 sites, has been discovered to contain a critical file upload vulnerability that's being actively exploited in the wild to upload malware onto sites that have the plugin installed. Wordfence's threat intelligence team, which discovered the flaw, said it reported the issue to the plugin's developer on May 31. While the flaw has been acknowledged, it's yet to be addressed. Fancy Product Designer is a tool that enables businesses to offer customizable products, allowing customers to design any kind of item ranging from T-shirts to phone cases by offering the ability to upload images and PDF files that can be added to the products. "Unfortunately, while the plugin had some checks in place to prevent malicious files from being uploaded, these checks were insufficient and could easily be bypassed, allowing attackers to upload executable PHP files to any site with the plugin installed," Wordfence
70 European and South American Banks Under Attack By Bizarro Banking Malware

70 European and South American Banks Under Attack By Bizarro Banking Malware

May 18, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A financially motivated cybercrime gang has unleashed a previously undocumented banking trojan, which can steal credentials from customers of 70 banks located in various European and South American countries. Dubbed " Bizarro " by Kaspersky researchers, the Windows malware is "using affiliates or recruiting money mules to operationalize their attacks, cashing out or simply to helping [sic] with transfers." The campaign consists of multiple moving parts, chief among them being the ability to trick users into entering two-factor authentication codes in fake pop-up windows that are then sent to the attackers, as well as its reliance on social engineering lures to convince visitors of banking websites into downloading a malicious smartphone app. Bizarro, which uses compromised WordPress, Amazon, and Azure servers to host the malware, is distributed via MSI packages downloaded by victims from sketchy links in spam emails. Launching the package downloads a ZIP archiv
Flaws in Two Popular WordPress Plugins Affect Over 7 Million Websites

Flaws in Two Popular WordPress Plugins Affect Over 7 Million Websites

March 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have disclosed vulnerabilities in multiple WordPress plugins that, if successfully exploited, could allow an attacker to run arbitrary code and take over a website in certain scenarios. The flaws were uncovered in  Elementor , a website builder plugin used on more than seven million sites, and  WP Super Cache , a tool used to serve cached pages of a WordPress site. According to Wordfence, which discovered the security weaknesses in Elementor, the bug concerns a set of  stored cross-site scripting  (XSS) vulnerabilities (CVSS score: 6.4), which occurs when a malicious script is injected directly into a vulnerable web application. In this case, due to a lack of validation of the HTML tags on the server-side, a bad actor can exploit the issues to add executable JavaScript to a post or page via a crafted request. "Since posts created by contributors are typically reviewed by editors or administrators before publishing, any JavaScript added to one of these posts would
KashmirBlack Botnet Hijacks Thousands of Sites Running On Popular CMS Platforms

KashmirBlack Botnet Hijacks Thousands of Sites Running On Popular CMS Platforms

October 29, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An active botnet comprising hundreds of thousands of hijacked systems spread across 30 countries is exploiting "dozens of known vulnerabilities" to target widely-used content management systems (CMS). The "KashmirBlack" campaign, which is believed to have started around November 2019, aims for popular CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla!, PrestaShop, Magneto, Drupal, Vbulletin, OsCommerence, OpenCart, and Yeager. "Its well-designed infrastructure makes it easy to expand and add new exploits or payloads without much effort, and it uses sophisticated methods to camouflage itself, stay undetected, and protect its operation," Imperva researchers said in a  two-part   analysis . The cybersecurity firm's six-month-long investigation into the botnet reveals a complex operation managed by one command-and-control (C2) server and more than 60 surrogate servers that communicate with the bots to send new targets, allowing it to expand the size of the botn
Critical Bugs Found in 3 Popular e-Learning Plugins for WordPress Sites

Critical Bugs Found in 3 Popular e-Learning Plugins for WordPress Sites

April 30, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Security researchers are sounding the alarm over newly discovered vulnerabilities in some popular online learning management system ( LMS ) plugins that various organizations and universities use to offer online training courses through their WordPress-based websites. According to the Check Point Research Team, the three WordPress plugins in question — LearnPress , LearnDash , and LifterLMS — have security flaws that could permit students, as well as unauthenticated users, to pilfer personal information of registered users and even attain teacher privileges. "Because of coronavirus, we're doing everything from our homes, including our formal learning," Check Point Research's Omri Herscovici said. "The vulnerabilities found allow students, and sometimes even unauthenticated users, to gain sensitive information or take control of the LMS platforms." The three LMS systems are installed on approximately 100,000 different educational platforms, includi
Critical Bug in WordPress Theme Plugin Opens 200,000 Sites to Hackers

Critical Bug in WordPress Theme Plugin Opens 200,000 Sites to Hackers

February 17, 2020Swati Khandelwal
A popular WordPress theme plugin with over 200,000 active installations contains a severe but easy-to-exploit software vulnerability that, if left unpatched, could let unauthenticated remote attackers compromise a wide range of websites and blogs. The vulnerable plugin in question is ' ThemeGrill Demo Importer ' that comes with free as well as premium themes sold by the software development company ThemeGrill. ThemeGrill Demo Importer plugin has been designed to allow WordPress site admins to import demo content, widgets, and settings from ThemeGrill, making it easier for them to quickly customize the theme. According to a report WebARX security company shared with The Hacker News, when a ThemeGrill theme is installed and activated, the affected plugin executes some functions with administrative privileges without checking whether the user running the code is authenticated and is an admin. The flaw could eventually allow unauthenticated remote attackers to wipe the e
Flaw in Elementor and Beaver Addons Let Anyone Hack WordPress Sites

Flaw in Elementor and Beaver Addons Let Anyone Hack WordPress Sites

December 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Attention WordPress users! Your website could easily get hacked if you are using " Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder ," or " Ultimate Addons for Elementor " and haven't recently updated them to the latest available versions. Security researchers have discovered a critical yet easy-to-exploit authentication bypass vulnerability in both widely-used premium WordPress plugins that could allow remote attackers to gain administrative access to sites without requiring any password. What's more worrisome is that opportunistic attackers have already started exploiting this vulnerability in the wild within 2 days of its discovery in order to compromise vulnerable WordPress websites and install a malicious backdoor for later access. Both vulnerable plugins, made by software development company Brainstorm Force, are currently powering over hundreds of thousands of WordPress websites using Elementor and Beaver Builder frameworks, helping website admins and de
How Activity Logs Help WordPress Admins Better Manage Website Security

How Activity Logs Help WordPress Admins Better Manage Website Security

August 20, 2019The Hacker News
Managing a WordPress website can sap a lot of your time and energy, which otherwise you'd spend on managing your business. If you're looking to cut down on the hours, you spend troubleshooting WordPress technical and security problems, better managing and monitoring your website and users, or your customers, you need a WordPress activity log plugin . This post explains how to use the WP Security Audit Log plugin to keep a WordPress security audit log (aka activity log). It also highlights five ways an activity log helps you better manage your website and users and improve its security. WordPress Security Audit Logs - Introduction and Benefits An activity log is a record of everything that happens on your WordPress website. This includes a record of plugins, themes, and WordPress core changes, users activity (such as content changes), site settings changes, break-in attempts, WooCommerce store, and product changes, and everything else that happens on your website. WordP
New Flaw in WordPress Live Chat Plugin Lets Hackers Steal and Hijack Sessions

New Flaw in WordPress Live Chat Plugin Lets Hackers Steal and Hijack Sessions

June 11, 2019Mohit Kumar
Security researchers have been warning about a critical vulnerability they discovered in one of a popular WordPress Live Chat plugin, which, if exploited, could allow unauthorized remote attackers to steal chat logs or manipulate chat sessions. The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-12498, resides in the "WP Live Chat Support" that is currently being used by over 50,000 businesses to provide customer support and chat with visitors through their websites. Discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Alert Logic , the flaw originates because of an improper validation check for authentication that apparently could allow unauthenticated users to access restricted REST API endpoints. As described by researchers, a potential remote attacker can exploit exposed endpoints for malicious purposes, including: stealing the entire chat history for all chat sessions, modifying or deleting the chat history, injecting messages into an active chat session, posing as a custome
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