FBI says supposed ISIS sympathizers exploiting WordPress plugins

The plugins are low-hanging fruit, but the attacks have been widespread and disruptive, the FBI said

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned on Tuesday that attackers claiming to be sympathetic to the extremist group ISIS are targeting websites that have vulnerable WordPress plugins.

The content management system has a thriving community of third-party developers who have created some 37,000 plugins, but occasionally security vulnerabilities in one can put a large number of websites at risk.

The vulnerabilities can allow the hackers to gain unauthorized access, inject scripts or install malware on the affected sites, according to an advisory published by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. The attackers have hit news organizations, religious institutions, commercial and government websites.

The defacements have occurred on websites that share some of the common WordPress plugins with vulnerabilities that are easily exploited, the FBI said.

"Although the defacements demonstrate low-level hacking sophistication, they are disruptive and often costly in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems," the advisory said.

The attackers voice support for ISIS, sometimes referred to as ISIL, "to gain more notoriety than the underlying attack would have otherwise garnered," the FBI said.

On Tuesday, the security company Sucuri issued an advisory for a flaw it found in the WP-Super-Cache plugin, which delivers static HTML files of WordPress pages stripped of PHP scripts for improved loading times.

A cross-site scripting vulnerability in the plugin could allow an attacker to add a new administrator to a site or inject a backdoor using WordPress's theme edition tools. As many as a million WordPress sites use the plugin.

In late February, Sucuri said the same number of WordPress sites were vulnerable to takeover due to a flaw in another analytics plugin called WP-Slimstat.

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

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags WordpressExploits / vulnerabilitiesU.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?