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 newsletter!

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

Tags securityWordpressExploits / 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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?