In yet another software supply chain attack, dozens of WordPress themes and plugins hosted on a creator website were backdoored with hostile code in the foremost half of September 2021 with the intention of infecting additional sites.
The backdoor gave the attackers full administrative control over websites that used AccessPress Themes' 40 themes and 53 plugins, a Nepal-based company with over 360,000 active website installations.
"The infected extensions contained a dropper for a web shell, giving the attackers full access to the infected sites," security researchers from JetPack, a WordPress plugin suite developer, wrote in a report published this week. "The same extensions worked fine when downloaded or installed from the WordPress[.]org directory."
The vulnerability has been identified as CVE-2021-24867. In a separate analysis, website security platform Sucuri found that some of the infected websites discovered using this backdoor had spam payloads dating back almost three years, implying that the actors after the process were trading entrances to the places to operators of other spam campaigns.
Early this month, cybersecurity firm eSentire revealed how compromised WordPress websites belonging to legitimate businesses are used as a hotbed for malware delivery, serving an implant called GootLoader to easy users exploring for postnuptial or intellectual property agreements on search engines like Google.
Site owners who installed the plugins directly from AccessPress Themes' website are advised to upgrade to a safe version as soon as possible or replace it with the latest version from WordPress[.]org. Furthermore, it necessitates the deployment of a clean version of WordPress in order to undo the changes made during the backdoor installation.
The findings coincide with the disclosure by WordPress security company Wordfence of a now-patched cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability affecting a plugin called "WordPress Email Template Designer – WP HTML Mail" that is installed on over 20,000 websites.
The bug, identified as CVE-2022-0218, was rated 8.3 on the CVSS vulnerability scoring system and was addressed as part of updates released on January 13, 2022. (version 3.1).
According to data released this month by Risk Based Security, a whopping 2,240 security flaws were discovered and reported in third-party WordPress plugins by the end of 2021, a 142 percent increase from the previous year, when nearly 1,000 vulnerabilities were disclosed. A total of 10,359 WordPress plugin vulnerabilities have been discovered to date. If you have any reservations regarding the subject. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Your digital partner will be Airzero Sec.
Author - Johnson Augustine
Ethical Hacker and Data Security Researcher
Founder: Airo Global Software Inc
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/johnsontaugustine/