FBI to WordPress users: patch now before ISIL defaces you

It's good advice - another holey plug-in's just been popped


The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning to WordPress users: hurry up and patch your content management system before web site is defaced by ISIL sympathisers.

The Bureau has issued a notice titled "ISIL defacements exploiting WordPress vulnerabilities" in which it warns that "Continuous Web site defacements are being perpetrated by individuals sympathetic to the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) a.k.a. Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS)."

"The defacements have affected Web site operations and the communication platforms of news organizations, commercial entities, religious institutions, federal/state/local governments, foreign governments, and a variety of other domestic and international Web sites," the notice says. "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 good news is that the Bureau thinks the perps are not ISIL members, but sympathisers. It nonetheless advises WordPress users to get their heads around security and patch plugins ASAP.

It's sound advice: Sucuri researcher Alexandre Montpas is warning of a persistent cross-site scripting vulnerability in the WordPress Super Cache plugin that allows up to a million sites to be hijacked.

Montpas reveals the bug affecting versions below 1.4.3 which have been downloaded more than a million times according to WordPress statistics.

Montpas says attackers could have malcode executed if administrators peered into the plugin's listing page.

"Using this vulnerability, an attacker using a carefully crafted query could insert malicious scripts to the plugin’s cached file listing page," Montpas says.

"As this page requires a valid nonce in order to be displayed, a successful exploitation would require the site’s administrator to have a look at that particular section, manually.

"When executed, the injected scripts could be used to perform a lot of other things like adding a new administrator account to the site, and injecting backdoors by using WordPress theme edition tools"

The since-patched bug resides in the displaying of data within WP-Super-Cache's cache file key that picks the cache file to be loaded.

It is the latest in a laundry list of WordPress plugin vulnerabilities to be disclosed recently.

The problem with un-patched plugins, as distinct from the WordPress platform itself,

WordPress hacking is a favourite pastime of lazy hackers and exploit kit -slingers who seek to achieve maximum carnage for minimum effort. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022