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Over 4,500 WordPress Sites Hacked to Redirect Visitors to Sketchy Ad Pages

Over 4,500 WordPress Sites Hacked to Redirect Visitors to Sketchy Ad Pages

Jan 25, 2023 Website Security / WordPress
A massive campaign has infected over 4,500 WordPress websites as part of a long-running operation that's been believed to be active since at least 2017. According to GoDaddy-owned Sucuri, the infections involve the injection of obfuscated JavaScript hosted on a malicious domain named "track[.]violetlovelines[.]com" that's designed to redirect visitors to undesirable sites. The latest  operation  is said to have been under way since December 26, 2022, according to  data  from urlscan.io. A prior wave seen in  early December 2022  impacted more than 3,600 sites, while another set of attacks recorded in  September 2022  ensnared more than 7,000 sites. The rogue code is inserted in the WordPress index.php file, with Sucuri noting that it has removed such changes from more than 33,000 files on the compromised sites in the past 60 days. "In recent months, this malware campaign has gradually switched from the notorious fake CAPTCHA push notification scam pages to
WordPress Security Alert: New Linux Malware Exploiting Over Two Dozen CMS Flaws

WordPress Security Alert: New Linux Malware Exploiting Over Two Dozen CMS Flaws

Jan 02, 2023 Web Security / Linux
WordPress sites are being targeted by a previously unknown strain of Linux malware that exploits flaws in over two dozen plugins and themes to compromise vulnerable systems. "If sites use outdated versions of such add-ons, lacking crucial fixes, the targeted web pages are injected with malicious JavaScripts," Russian security vendor Doctor Web  said  in a report published last week. "As a result, when users click on any area of an attacked page, they are redirected to other sites." The attacks involve weaponizing a list of known security vulnerabilities in 19 different plugins and themes that are likely installed on a WordPress site, using it to deploy an implant that can target a specific website to further expand the network. It's also capable of injecting JavaScript code retrieved from a remote server in order to redirect the site visitors to an arbitrary website of the attacker's choice. Doctor Web said it identified a second version of the backdoor
New GoTrim Botnet Attempting to Break into WordPress Sites' Admin Accounts

New GoTrim Botnet Attempting to Break into WordPress Sites' Admin Accounts

Dec 14, 2022 Website Security / Linux
A new Go-based botnet has been spotted scanning and brute-forcing self-hosted websites using the WordPress content management system (CMS) to seize control of targeted systems. "This new brute forcer is part of a new campaign we have named GoTrim because it was written in Go and uses ':::trim:::' to split data communicated to and from the C2 server," Fortinet FortiGuard Labs researchers Eduardo Altares, Joie Salvio, and Roy Tay  said . The active campaign, observed since September 2022, utilizes a bot network to perform distributed brute-force attacks in an attempt to login to the targeted web server. A successful break-in is followed by the operator installing a downloader PHP script in the newly compromised host that, in turn, is designed to deploy the "bot client" from a hard-coded URL, effectively adding the machine to the growing network. In its present form, GoTrim does not have self-propagation capabilities of its own, nor can it distribute oth
Over 15,000 WordPress Sites Compromised in Malicious SEO Campaign

Over 15,000 WordPress Sites Compromised in Malicious SEO Campaign

Nov 14, 2022
A new malicious campaign has compromised  over 15,000 WordPress websites  in an attempt to redirect visitors to bogus Q&A portals. "These malicious redirects appear to be designed to increase the authority of the attacker's sites for search engines," Sucuri researcher Ben Martin  said  in a report published last week, calling it a "clever black hat SEO trick." The search engine poisoning technique is designed to promote a "handful of fake low quality Q&A sites" that share similar website-building templates and are operated by the same threat actor. A notable aspect of the campaign is the ability of the hackers to modify over 100 files per website on average, an approach that contrasts dramatically from other attacks of this kind wherein only a limited number of files are tampered with to reduce footprint and escape detection. Some of the most commonly infected pages consist of wp-signup.php, wp-cron.php, wp-links-opml.php, wp-settings.php
Hackers Started Exploiting Critical "Text4Shell" Apache Commons Text Vulnerability

Hackers Started Exploiting Critical "Text4Shell" Apache Commons Text Vulnerability

Oct 21, 2022
WordPress security company Wordfence on Thursday said it started detecting exploitation attempts targeting the newly disclosed flaw in Apache Commons Text on October 18, 2022. The vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2022-42889  aka Text4Shell , has been assigned a severity ranking of 9.8 out of a possible 10.0 on the CVSS scale and affects versions 1.5 through 1.9 of the library. It's also similar to the now infamous  Log4Shell  vulnerability in that the  issue  is rooted in the manner  string substitutions  carried out during  DNS, script, and URL lookups  could lead to the execution of arbitrary code on susceptible systems when passing untrusted input. "The attacker can send a crafted payload remotely using 'script,' 'dns,' and 'url' lookups to achieve arbitrary remote code execution," the Zscaler ThreatLabZ team explained . A  successful exploitation of the flaw  can enable a threat actor to open a reverse shell connection with the vulnerable
Over 280,000 WordPress Sites Attacked Using WPGateway Plugin Zero-Day Vulnerability

Over 280,000 WordPress Sites Attacked Using WPGateway Plugin Zero-Day Vulnerability

Sep 14, 2022
A zero-day flaw in the latest version of a WordPress premium plugin known as  WPGateway  is being actively exploited in the wild, potentially allowing malicious actors to completely take over affected sites. Tracked as  CVE-2022-3180  (CVSS score: 9.8), the issue is being weaponized to add a malicious administrator user to sites running the WPGateway plugin, WordPress security company Wordfence noted. "Part of the plugin functionality exposes a vulnerability that allows unauthenticated attackers to insert a malicious administrator," Wordfence researcher Ram Gall  said  in an advisory. WPGateway is billed as a means for site administrators to install, backup, and clone WordPress plugins and themes from a unified dashboard. The most common indicator that a website running the plugin has been compromised is the presence of an administrator with the username "rangex." Additionally, the appearance of requests to "//wp-content/plugins/wpgateway/wpgateway-webse
Hackers Exploit Zero-Day in WordPress BackupBuddy Plugin in ~5 Million Attempts

Hackers Exploit Zero-Day in WordPress BackupBuddy Plugin in ~5 Million Attempts

Sep 09, 2022
A zero-day flaw in a WordPress plugin called  BackupBuddy  is being actively exploited, WordPress security company Wordfence has disclosed. "This vulnerability makes it possible for unauthenticated users to download arbitrary files from the affected site which can include sensitive information," it  said . BackupBuddy allows users to back up their entire WordPress installation from within the dashboard, including theme files, pages, posts, widgets, users, and media files, among others. The plugin is estimated to have around 140,000 active installations, with the flaw (CVE-2022-31474, CVSS score: 7.5) affecting versions 8.5.8.0 to 8.7.4.1. It's been addressed in version 8.7.5 released on September 2, 2022. The issue is rooted in the function called "Local Directory Copy" that's designed to store a local copy of the backups. According to Wordfence, the vulnerability is the result of an insecure implementation, which enables an unauthenticated threat acto
Hackers Use ModernLoader to Infect Systems with Stealers and Cryptominers

Hackers Use ModernLoader to Infect Systems with Stealers and Cryptominers

Aug 30, 2022
As many as three disparate but related campaigns between March and Jun 2022 have been found to deliver a variety of malware, including ModernLoader, RedLine Stealer, and cryptocurrency miners onto compromised systems. "The actors use PowerShell, .NET assemblies, and HTA and VBS files to spread across a targeted network, eventually dropping other pieces of malware, such as the  SystemBC  trojan and  DCRat , to enable various stages of their operations," Cisco Talos researcher Vanja Svajcer said in a report shared with The Hacker News. The malicious implant in question, ModernLoader , is designed to provide attackers with remote control over the victim's machine, which enables the adversaries to deploy additional malware, steal sensitive information, or even ensnare the computer in a botnet. Cisco Talos attributed the infections to a previously undocumented but Russian-speaking threat actor, citing the use of off-the-shelf tools. Potential targets included Eastern Eur
Hackers Using Fake DDoS Protection Pages to Distribute Malware

Hackers Using Fake DDoS Protection Pages to Distribute Malware

Aug 24, 2022
WordPress sites are being hacked to display fraudulent Cloudflare DDoS protection pages that lead to the delivery of malware such as NetSupport RAT and Raccoon Stealer. "A recent surge in JavaScript injections targeting WordPress sites has resulted in fake DDoS prevent prompts which lead victims to download remote access trojan malware," Sucuri's Ben Martin  said  in a write-up published last week. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection pages are essential browser verification checks designed to deter bot-driven unwanted and malicious traffic from eating up bandwidth and taking down websites. The new attack vector involves hijacking WordPress sites to display fake DDoS protection pop-ups that, when clicked, ultimately lead to the download of a malicious ISO file ("security_install.iso") to the victim's systems. This is achieved by injecting three lines of code into a JavaScript file ("jquery.min.js"), or alternatively into the active
Experts Notice Sudden Surge in Exploitation of WordPress Page Builder Plugin Vulnerability

Experts Notice Sudden Surge in Exploitation of WordPress Page Builder Plugin Vulnerability

Jul 18, 2022
Researchers from Wordfence have  sounded  the alarm about a "sudden" spike in cyber attacks attempting to exploit an unpatched flaw in a WordPress plugin called  Kaswara Modern WPBakery Page Builder Addons . Tracked as  CVE-2021-24284 , the issue is rated 10.0 on the CVSS vulnerability scoring system and relates to an unauthenticated arbitrary file upload that could be abused to gain code execution, permitting attackers to seize control of affected WordPress sites. Although the bug was originally  disclosed  in April 2021 by the WordPress security company, it continues to remain unresolved to date. To make matters worse, the plugin has been closed and is no longer actively maintained. Wordfence, which is protecting over 1,000 websites that have the plugin installed, said it has blocked an average of 443,868 attack attempts per day since the start of the month. The attacks have emanated from 10,215 IP addresses, with a majority of the exploitation attempts narrowed down
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

Jun 17, 2022
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

Jun 01, 2022
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 21, 2022
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, 2022
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

Apr 18, 2022
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

Feb 19, 2022
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

Feb 10, 2022
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

Jan 22, 2022
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

Jan 17, 2022
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

Dec 10, 2021
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
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