Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in two WordPress plugins

The plugins, JetPack and Twenty Fifteen, have a cross-site scripting flaw

A vulnerability within two widely used WordPress plugins is already being exploited by hackers, putting millions of WordPress sites at risk, according to a computer security firm.

The plugins are JetPack, a customization and performance tool, and Twenty Fifteen, used for infinite scrolling, wrote David Dede, a malware researcher with Sucuri. WordPress installs Twenty Fifteen by default, which increases the number of vulnerable sites.

Both plugins use a package called genericons, which contains vector icons embedded in a font. In the package, there is an insecure file called "example.html" which makes the package vulnerable, Dede wrote.

The vulnerability in genericons is hard to detect, Dede wrote. It's an XSS (cross-site scripting) flaw in which the malicious payload runs as a result of modifying a browser's DOM (Document Object Model), which is a programming API that defines how HTML and XML documents are accessed and displayed, according to the W3C.

The payload that is delivered is executed directly in the browser and doesn't go to the server, Dede wrote. That means Web application firewalls can't see it and stop it.

Dede wrote that Sucuri found a way to virtually patch the exploit, but that DOM-based XSS flaws "are very tricky to block."

For a successful attack, a victim would have to be tricked into clicking on a malicious link.

Some hosting companies and services, such as GoDaddy, DreamHost and ClickHost, have either done a virtual patch or taken other steps to protect users, Dede wrote.

WordPress is used widely across the Web for publishing, so vulnerabilities in it are particularly troublesome. By the company's own estimation, it runs 23 percent of the sites on the Internet, including major publishers such as Time and CNN.

Last month, WordPress patched two critical and similar cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. The flaws allow malicious JavaScript entered into a comments field to run.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityWordpressExploits / vulnerabilities

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?