Interesting story. Sounds like something someone should actually dig in and test, undercover of course. Sounds like some lawsuits might be in line. EIG takedown, anyone?
This will be a longer article explaining a common SCAM that was reported numerous times for multiple hosting providers. Even if you are not hosted with HostGator you still might want to read about it, for the future safety of your wallet. The short version of the story is at the bottom of the page. I have been a loyal customer of HostGator since at least 2005. Even after they were bought out by EIG back in 2014, even after their support and customer service started going downhill rapidly, I still decided to stick with them. At the time of writing this I have 3 separate accounts with them (2 shared + 1 VPS) and I pay around $875 / year for their services.
The HostGator + SiteLock SCAM
It all happened yesterday, 23/02/2016. At 17:37 I get an email from HostGator informing me that my account has been suspended because it was distributing malware. I should immediately take measures into resolving this issue.
Our Abuse department has received a report regarding malware being hosted on an account under your control. We have disabled site access for your account to prevent further complaints, and have provided a list of the reported content. Note that the below content is not a comprehensive
Free HTTPS for all custom domains on .com via Let’s Encrypt project.
Today we are excited to announce free HTTPS for all custom domains hosted on WordPress.com. This brings the security and performance of modern encryption to every blog and website we host. Best of all, the changes are automatic — you won’t need to do a thing.
As the EFF points out as part of their Encrypt the Web initiative, strong encryption protects our users in various ways, including defending against surveillance of content and communications, cookie theft, account hijacking, and other web security flaws.
WordPress.com has supported encryption for sites using WordPress.com subdomains (like https://barry.wordpress.com/) since 2014. Our latest efforts now expand encryption to the million-plus custom domains (like automattic.com) hosted on WordPress.com.
The Let’s Encrypt project gave us an efficient and automated way to provide SSL certificates for a large number of domains. We launched the first batch of certificates in January 2016 and immediately starting working with Let’s Encrypt to make the process smoother for our massive and growing list of domains.
For you, the users, that means you’ll see secure encryption automatically deployed on every new site within minutes. We are
WordPress 4.2.3 has been release, it's now available at WordPress.org, this is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.
WordPress 4.2.3 is now available. This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.2.2 and earlier are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could allow anonymous users to compromise a site. This was reported by Jon Cave of the WordPress Security Team, and fixed by Robert Chapin.
We also fixed an issue where it was possible for a user with Subscriber permissions to create a draft through Quick Draft. Reported by Netanel Rubin from Check Point Software Technologies.
Our thanks to those who have practiced responsible disclosure of security issues.
WordPress 4.2.3 also contains fixes for 20 bugs from 4.2. For more information, see the release notes or consult the list of changes.
Download WordPress 4.2.3 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and simply click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update to WordPress 4.2.3.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.2.3:
This rocks. Wasn't a fan of bluehost before, and probably still won't ever use them, but this ... this is very cool, and will make a very real difference. Good job, Bluehost.
After determining that a significant number of customers were running outdated versions of WordPress, Bluehost’s development team created a unique Perl script utilizing WP-CLI (WordPress-Command Line Interface) and custom code to update WordPress sites going back to version 1.0.2. Bluehost completed exhaustive tests and reviews to ensure the script resulted in minimal disruptions or site downtime. In this impressive undertaking, 99% of WordPress sites on Bluehost’s platform were upgraded successfully with fewer than 0.007% of customers reporting any issues. Since implementation, the company has seen a significant 18% reduction in technical support requests relating to WordPress. Bluehost has further implemented this new technology to continually update WordPress websites to ensure customers on its platform enjoy the security of an up-to-date WordPress site going forward.
BREAKING: Security breach in WP Engine. Their customers received an urgent notification in their inboxes Wednesday evening regarding a security breach. If you have accounts with them- update your passwords immediately, and take other measurements to keep yourself safe!
WP Engine customers received an urgent notification in their inboxes Wednesday evening regarding a security breach. At WP Engine we are committed to providing robust security. We are writing today to let you know that we learned of an exposure involving some of our customers’ credentials. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively taking security measures across our entire customer base.
WP Engine currently has no evidence that customer information was used inappropriately but has invalidated customer passwords as a precaution. The following five passwords associated with customer accounts will have to be reset:
WP Engine User Portal
Original WP-Admin Account
Password Protected Installs and Transferable Installs
The notice states that WP Engine is taking immediate action on their end but does not include any details. The company apologized for the inconvenience of having to invalidate all customer passwords.
Customers took to Twitter to express frustration and bemoaned the host’s lack of two-factor authentication.
@wpengine What's with the lack of 2FA?
— Jordan Felle (@jordanfelle) December 10, 2015
Representatives from WP Engine were not able to comment
"During 16 hour window we saw a total of 6,611,909 attacks targeting 72,532 individual websites. We saw attacks during this time from 8,941 unique IP addresses and the average number of attacks per victim website was 6.26."
Last week in the President’s cyber security op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he implored Americans to move beyond simple passwords and to enable two factor authentication or cellphone sign-in. One of the things we monitor at Wordfence is the number of brute force attacks on WordPress websites. Brute force attacks are password guessing attacks, where an attacker tries to sign in as you by guessing your password.
To give you an idea of the level of attacks in the wild, we gathered data on brute force attacks across the sites we protect within a 16 hour Window starting Sunday until Monday (yesterday) at 2pm Pacific time.
Here are the highlights. Remember, this is only over a 16 hour window which is relatively short.
During this time we saw a total of 6,611,909 attacks targeting 72,532 individual websites. We saw attacks during this time from 8,941 unique IP addresses and the average number of attacks per victim website was 6.26.
The total number of attacking IP’s was actually 55,391 but we only counted IP’s that generated more than 10 failed logins across all sites. That way we excluded accidental login failures.
So where are these attacks coming from. The results are not what you would
Plugin Developers Demand a Better Security Release Process After WordPress 4.2.3 Breaks Thousands of Websites
Whilst the latest update was important, it wasn't without it's problems. "User confidence in WordPress’ automatic background updates took a dent with the 4.2.3 release." The update makes changes to the shortcode API which cause a lot of problems.
Plugin Developers Demand a Better Security Release Process After WordPress 4.2.3 Breaks Thousands of Websites
WordPress 4.2.3, a critical security release, was automatically pushed out to users yesterday to fix an XSS vulnerability. Shortly afterwards, the WordPress.org support forums were flooded with reports of websites broken by the update. Roughly eight hours later Robert Chapin (@miqrogroove) published a post to the Make.WordPress.org/Core blog, detailing changes to the Shortcode API that were included in the release. According to Chapin, these changes were necessary as part of the security fix:
Due to the nature of the fix – as is often the case with security fixes – we were unable to alert plugin authors ahead of time, however we did make efforts to scan the plugin directory for plugins that may have been affected.
With this change, every effort has been made to preserve all of the core features of the Shortcode API. That said, there are some new limitations that affect some rare uses of shortcodes.
The security team had no reasonable way of accounting for every single edge case, but the negative impact of these changes were far more wide-reaching than they had anticipated. This particular use case likely wasn’t covered in their testing. Unfortunately, plugin developers found out about
ManageWP keeps getting better and pulling out new services to its Orion Platform. Raising the bar...
Excellent investigation on a plugin hijacking. Really scary story but so glad quick action was taken.
Last summer we shared a story about the SweetCaptcha WordPress plugin injecting ads and causing malvertising problems for websites that leveraged the plugin. When this plugin was removed from the official WordPress Plugin directory, the authors revived another WordPress account with a long abandoned plugin and uploaded SweetCaptcha as a “new version” of that plugin. In the end of the SweetCaptcha saga, we gave this warning:
It’s quite a common scenario when criminals try to hijack or buy developer accounts of legitimate applications, or pay their developers to add some malicious code into their software, so some benign plugin or application may turn bad after an update — the only thing that protects you is the author reputation and the security screening and approval process in the repository.
This time we’ll tell you of another plugin that turned bad after an update.
Backdoor in Custom Content Type Manager
Custom Content Type Manager (CCTM) is a relatively popular plugin with three years of development, 10,000+ active installs, and a satisfaction rating of 4.8. It helps create custom post types. Website owners find the classical “blog format” too restrictive, use the plugin to add
Release notes are out, and this release fixes 6 security issues.
WordPress 4.7.5 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.7.4 and earlier are affected by six security issues:
Insufficient redirect validation in the HTTP class. Reported by Ronni Skansing.
Improper handling of post meta data values in the XML-RPC API. Reported by Sam Thomas.
Lack of capability checks for post meta data in the XML-RPC API. Reported by Ben Bidner of the WordPress Security Team.
A Cross Site Request Forgery (CRSF) vulnerability was discovered in the filesystem credentials dialog. Reported by Yorick Koster.
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered when attempting to upload very large files. Reported by Ronni Skansing.
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered related to the Customizer. Reported by Weston Ruter of the WordPress Security Team.
Thank you to the reporters of these issues for practicing responsible disclosure.
In addition to the security issues above, WordPress 4.7.5 contains 3 maintenance fixes to the 4.7 release series. For more information, see the release notes or consult the list of changes.
Quite a few security issues fixed in this one, yikes.
WordPress 4.7.3 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.7.2 and earlier are affected by six security issues:
Cross-site scripting (XSS) via media file metadata. Reported by Chris Andrè Dale, Yorick Koster, and Simon P. Briggs.
Control characters can trick redirect URL validation. Reported by Daniel Chatfield.
Unintended files can be deleted by administrators using the plugin deletion functionality. Reported by xuliang.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) via video URL in YouTube embeds. Reported by Daniel Cid.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) via taxonomy term names. Reported by Delta.
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) in Press This leading to excessive use of server resources. Reported by Sipke Mellema.
Thank you to the reporters for practicing responsible disclosure.
In addition to the security issues above, WordPress 4.7.3 contains 39 maintenance fixes to the 4.7 release series. For more information, see the release notes or consult the list of changes.
Download WordPress 4.7.3 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and simply click “Update Now.” Sites that
10% of top 1000 plugins have an unpatched security vulnerability. Spanning over 4,000,000 installs. I hope Marcin can open-source his tool and that it can be become a part of the plugin screening process at wordpress.org
░▒▓█ Introduction I've been making php static code analysis tool for a while and few months ago I ran it against ~1000 (more or less) top wordpress plugins.
Scanning results were manually verified in my spare time and delivered to official email@example.com from 04.07.2015 to 31.08.2015. Most of reported plugins are already patched, some are not. Vulnerable and not patched plugins are already removed from official wordpress plugin repository.
103 plugins vulnerable with more than 4.000.000 active installations in total (~30.000.000 downloads)
List of reported plugins (original reports contain verification/reproduce sections and urls to plugin wordpress repository entries, where you can also verify changelog) :
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in Duplicator 0.5.24 [original report - Sat, 15 Aug 2015]
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in All In One WP Security 3.9.7 [original report - Thu, 13 Aug 2015]
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in AddThis 5.0.12 [original report - Tue, 11 Aug 2015]
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in Display Widgets 2.03 [original report - Tue, 11 Aug 2015]
Blind SQL injection in Pretty Link Lite 1.6.7 [original report - Wed, 8 Jul 2015]
Blind SQL injection in WP Statistics
Much like Clef, Keyy gives you 2-factor authentication with a difference. It replaces passwords with sophisticated RSA public-key cryptography, which results in stronger security and a better user experience.
This is version 1 of the software. Please don’t hit us with a bad review, but we’re very eager for your feedback in the support channel. In the coming weeks and months we will: Replace the QR code (current version) with a “Keyy wave” – an animated barcode which was a loved feature of Clef
Launch a single-sign on feature, so logging into one site with Keyy logs you into all sites on that device
Announce many more soon!
It replaces typing usernames, passwords and the usual two factor tokens with a simple cryptograph that users sync to an app on their mobile phone.
It makes logging in both incredibly safe and unbelievably easy. Keyy instantly boosts user account security and protects the site.
Everyone wins, except for the hackers!
The threat of hacking has never been stronger, and it’s constantly evolving in both scale and sophistication.
There’s a bewildering array of online security solutions and best-practices out there. The trouble is, most of them have flaws and loopholes that criminals are always looking to exploit.
What’s more, implementing them is a pain. Who wants to remember yet another password? And who wants to go fumbling about
Journey of a white hat WordPress hacker with practical examples how code cracks.
In this series of blog posts, Check Point vulnerability researcher Netanel Rubin tells a story in three acts – describing his long path of discovered flaws and vulnerabilities in core WordPress, leading him from a read-only ‘Subscriber’ user, through creating, editing and deleting posts, and all the way to performing SQL injection and persistent XSS attacks on 20% of the popular web. Executive Summary
A number of critical vulnerabilities exist in default WordPress installations, allowing potential compromise of millions of live web sites.
MITRE has assigned CVE-2015-5623, CVE-2015-2213, CVE-2015-5714, CVE-2015-5715, CVE-2015-5716 as identifiers for these vulnerabilities. * CVE-2015-2212 was marked as a duplicate of CVE-2015-5623.
The first vulnerability in this sequence (CVE-2015-5623) was patched in a recent WordPress security release (4.2.3).
Site administrators are urged to apply security updates as they are released (in case auto-update was disabled).
For further updates please follow our blog as well as upcoming WordPress security advisories.
Check Point customers are protected against the vulnerability sequence via IPS signatures.
WordPress is a PHP-based CMS (Content
WooCommerce Store Toolkit Plugin, WordPress User Meta Manager plugin & WP User Frontend plugin all should be updated right away.
The following three plugins contain severe vulnerabilities that have all been fixed within the past 24 hours. Details of these vulnerabilities have been released to the public so they are likely already being exploited. If you use any of these plugins, upgrade immediately. Please share with the larger WordPress community. WooCommerce Store Toolkit Plugin (A plugin for WooCommerce made by Visser Labs, not the core product) version 1.5.6 contains a privilege escalation vulnerability. The vulnerability allows a registered user to delete all posts, comments, products, orders, media and more. Upgraded to version 1.5.7 immediately to fix this issue.
WordPress User Meta Manager plugin version 3.4.6 contains an information disclosure vulnerability that allows an unprivileged user to download the user_meta table. It also contains a privilege escalation vulnerability that lets anyone upgrade themselves to admin along with a blind SQL injection vulnerability. These are fixed in 3.4.8. The fix was released within the last 24 hours. Upgrade immediately.
The WP User Frontend plugin version 2.3.10 and older contains an unrestricted file upload vulnerability that allows anyone to upload a file to your
This covers more details about security vulnerabilities in WordPress 4.7 & 4.7.1 that just got fixed in 4.7.2. Here its comes from Sucuri who contributed in this finding and a solid good responsible disclosure.
Security Risk: Severe Exploitation Level: Easy/Remote
DREAD Score: 9/10
Vulnerability: Privilege Escalation / Content Injection
Patched Version: 4.7.2
As part of a vulnerability research project for our Sucuri Firewall (WAF), we have been auditing multiple open source projects looking for security issues. While working on WordPress, we discovered was a severe content injection (privilege escalation) vulnerability affecting the REST API. This vulnerability allows an unauthenticated user to modify the content of any post or page within a WordPress site.
We disclosed the vulnerability to the WordPress Security Team who handled it extremely well. They worked closely with us to coordinate the disclosure timeline and get as many hosts and security providers aware and patched before this became public.
A fix for this was silently included on version 4.7.2 along with other less severe issues. This was done intentionally to give everyone time to patch. We are now disclosing the details because we feel there has been enough time for most WordPress users to update their sites.
Are You At Risk?
This privilege escalation vulnerability affects the WordPress REST API that was recently added and enabled
Pretty darn impressive! Running a scan on one of my sites right now. This is nice!
This morning I am incredibly excited to introduce you to a project that the Wordfence team has been working on for almost a year. A few moments ago we officially launched Gravityscan.com, a malware and vulnerability scanner that works on any website. Gravityscan is free. You don’t need to install any software to use it. Simply visit https://www.gravityscan.com/ and enter your website URL. Then hit the “Launch Scan” button and Gravityscan will start examining your website to find out if you have been hacked, or if you have any security vulnerabilities. Go and run your first scan now! I’ll be here when you get back.
A Malware and Vulnerability Scanner for Websites
Gravityscan is designed specifically for websites. It is smart enough to detect if you are running WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento or vBulletin. Then it carefully examines each of those applications you have installed to find out if they have any vulnerabilities. It even detects the extensions you are running in each application and checks them for vulnerabilities.
Gravityscan also performs a comprehensive scan for malware on your site. It does a great job if you simply run a regular scan on any website.
When wp security articles are a dime a dozen (and are the same old blah blah blah), it's nice to read something a little more on point. Nice.
Welcome to 2016, the year where WordPress powers more than a quarter of all websites on the Internet. For a lot us involved with the WordPress community, this was a fantastic piece of news. But for those concerned with WordPress security, it’s more of a nightmare. WordPress as a CMS always had a bad rep for being an unauthenticated remote shell that, as a useful side feature, also contains a blog. And despite the best effort by the WordPress community, this is truer now more than ever. The democratization of publishing has a nasty side effect: pretty much anyone can start a WordPress blog. As the entry bar gets lower, more and more websites fall prey to malicious attacks, simply because the blog owners are out of their depth when it comes to protecting their blog. And being the biggest CMS on the market, WordPress has a huge target painted on its back. One of the security reports stated that 78% of successful attacks were against WordPress websites. Another stated that 76% of WordPress users don’t use a backup plugin at all.
The blame, or at least most of the blame, lies with the throng of security articles on the web. Really good, in-depth articles are few and hard to find,
Jetpack by WordPress.com 4.0.3 May 26th, 2016 Important security update. Please upgrade immediately.
Couldn't find any more information on this, but figured it was important enough to share what little info I had.
Jetpack by WordPress.com 4.0.3 May 26th, 2016 Important security update. Please upgrade immediately.
Important security update. Please upgrade immediately. Release date: April 21st, 2016
Addresses an issue where Jetpack 4.0 caused a fatal error on sites with specific configurations.
Release date: April 20th, 2016
Protect: the routine that verifies your site is protected from brute-force attacks got some love and is more efficient.
Contact Forms: cleaning the database of spam form submission records is more efficient.
VideoPress: edit your VideoPress shortcode in the editor with a fancy new modal options window.
Custom Content Types are now classier: a new CSS class on Testimonial featured images — has-testimonial-thumbnail — allows you to customize Jetpack custom post types as you see fit.
Sharing: social icons are now placed under the "add to cart” singular product views in WooCommerce, making it easier for customers to share your products on social media.
Theme Tools: search engines will now have an easier time knowing what page they are on, and how that page relates to the other pages in your site hierarchy with improved schema.org microdata for breadcrumbs.
Widget Visibility: now you can select widgets
Bit of an in-depth one on improving the security of your WordPress website.
How many times have you walked out the front door of your house for just a few minutes and not bothered to lock the front door? Probably on more than one occasion, right? What about leaving your car unlocked for just a few minutes — seriously, who’s going to steal your car on a cold rainy morning while you take 2 minutes to grab a hot cup of coffee? It’s human nature. We rarely worry about managing a potential risk until it’s too late. Once someone breaks into your house, steals your car, or hacks into your WordPress website, then you start to worry.
The problem with all these scenarios is that by the time it happens, it’s too late. You’re left picking up the pieces, cleaning up the mess, and trying to minimize the damage. With just a little bit of planning and prevention, there is a good chance you could have averted the entire situation.
Obviously, this post isn’t about your car or your house, it’s about your WordPress website and the steps you can take to minimize your potential vulnerabilities. The thing is, security begins with having the right attitude. It’s an attitude where prevention and management are at the forefront – not crossing your fingers and hoping that it never happens
My take on the recent issues with malicious code in plugins and the importance of getting the word out to users.
In case you missed it, three widely-used WordPress plugins were recently found to have malicious code included with recent updates. Display Widgets, Fast Secure Contact Form and SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam were each removed from the official WordPress Plugin Repository due to SEO spam discovered by users. One thing each plugin has in common was that they were all previously trusted and generally considered secure. More recently, they were sold by their original authors to a new developer, who used these popular plugins to spread payday loan spam posts. In fact, security plugin company Wordfence recently reported that up to 9 plugins have been found with malicious code added through various means.
While many web designers and developers have become more proactive in securing their sites against typical threats like brute force attacks, etc. – malicious plugins appear to be a whole new ballgame. We’re used to defending against security holes, but not authors who are intentionally trying to propagate malware. And in the case of the plugins mentioned above, immediately updating to the latest version was the worst thing we could have done since that was how the code was installed.
While much of this is a rehash of everything we have already seen covered, it does mention a way to search google to see if your site might have been affected. So...worth it for that I guess.
Cloudflare has experienced a data leak over a 5 month period that mixed sensitive data between websites and visitors. A visitor to one website using Cloudflare may have seen data from another website using Cloudflare that was being sent to a completely different site visitor. Some of the leaked data has been indexed by search engines who have been working over the past few days to try and remove the data from their caches.
In this post I am going to explain in simple terms, what occurred and what you need to do about it.
If you are a WordPress user and simply want to know how to secure your site, you can skip to the What Should I Do section below. I have included some information for non-WordPress site owners in that section too.
Cloudflare provides a firewall and content distribution service. Their servers are between your website visitors and your own web server.
Under normal circumstances, cloudflare returns the data each site visitor requested to that visitor. This may be public or sometimes private information and it is usually done over a secure channel. Each website visitor only sees the data they requested.
From September 22nd, 2016 until February 18th 2017 (last Saturday),
I have a feeling we'll end up seeing a lot more REST API vulnerabilities in the future. Just call it a gut feeling.
WordPress 4.7.2 was released last Thursday, January 26th. If you have not already updated, please do so immediately. In addition to the three security vulnerabilities mentioned in the original release post, WordPress 4.7 and 4.7.1 had one additional vulnerability for which disclosure was delayed. There was an Unauthenticated Privilege Escalation Vulnerability in a REST API Endpoint. Previous versions of WordPress, even with the REST API Plugin, were never vulnerable to this.
We believe transparency is in the public’s best interest. It is our stance that security issues should always be disclosed. In this case, we intentionally delayed disclosing this issue by one week to ensure the safety of millions of additional WordPress sites.
On January 20th, Sucuri alerted us to a vulnerability discovered by one of their security researchers, Marc-Alexandre Montpas. The security team began assessing the issue and working on solutions. While a first iteration of a fix was created early on, the team felt that more testing was needed.
Meanwhile, Sucuri added rules to their Web Application Firewall (WAF) to block exploit attempts against their clients. This issue was found internally and no
Did you know that anyone running on a version of PHP below 5.6 no longer has security support?
PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the web today. According to W3Techs, PHP is used by over 82% of all the websites who use a server-side programming language. This means for every 8 out of 10 websites you visit, they are most likely utilizing PHP in some form or another. And of course, it plays a very vital role as it pertains to the WordPress ecosystem, as the entire CMS is built on PHP. A dilemma we are facing today is that many businesses, developers, and hosts have fallen behind when it comes to supporting the latest PHP versions. Some of the statistics below might even shock you. Today we want to discuss some of the reasons why it is so important that everyone use the latest PHP versions, not only for security reasons, but also for better performance and support.
Old PHP Versions
As with any piece of software, PHP has a release life cycle in which has has to adhere to in order to keep pushing things forward and making improvements. Each major release of PHP is typically fully supported for two years after its release. During that time, bugs and security issues are fixed and patched on a regular basis.
As of right now, anyone running on a version of PHP below