Researchers have discovered an attack from a single IP address, hosted on a Rackspace server, that would allow attackers to take complete control of a WordPress site with the effect that site visitors would be redirected and to malicious sites whose payload is malware droppers as well as backdoor entry into the visitor’s computer.
There are more than 60 million WordPress websites in use today and there are thousands of publishers of WordPress plugins.
Like any computer code used to process business and personal objectives, that computer code will be continually analyzed to determine if there are any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the code that an attacker can use to their benefit and, likely, your detriment.
If the plugin code is not maintained and updated for security purposes, that leaves the site exposed in the event that an attacker would be able to execute code on that WordPress site remotely. Once the attacker has successfully infiltrated the site, scripts are injected into the site and visitors find themselves redirect to sites for which they had no intention of visiting.
In addition to being delivered content for which the visitor had no choice, they may be relegated to a storm of aggravating, unwanted pop-up windows.
As if that weren’t enough, the attacker then plants a backdoor to the system to allow them access in the future.
What is the key to being able to negate this threat? That’s right! A familiar mantra when it comes to protecting IT: Patching IT. By leaving WordPress plugins online and out-of-date, the site owner and manager is leaving the fate of the organization’s reputation to chance.
If this sounds familiar to you, just think back to the Equifax breach and realize that the exploited threat in that instance was a server that was missing some updates. Once the attackers realized that an unpatched server had left the door open (in a very twisted way) and went unnoticed for a very long time.
The moral of the story is quite simple. Patch your WordPress as well as your WordPress plugins.
Just because the site is still functioning when you are adding content doesn’t automatically mean that every possible wrinkle has been ironed. When any number on the Plugins tab in WordPress appears, take a moment and request those updates. It generally doesn’t take too long and it is well worth the minimal effort required.
If you need any assistance with this approach, please contact us at Responsive – we are more than happy to help.