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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationsecurityWordpressExploits / vulnerabilities

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?