15 million WordPress instances run flawed SEO plugin. Fix it!

Pierluigi Paganini June 01, 2014

Security researchers at Sucuri firm have discovered multiple serious vulnerabilities in the popular ‘All In One SEO Pack’ plugin for WordPress.

WordPress in one of most targeted CMS platforms due its large diffusion, attackers are able to compromise victim instance exploiting flaws in outdated version or in vulnerable plugins .

The Netcraft internet services company, in March published a statistic which shows that near 12,000 WordPress instances were compromised in February, the attackers used the popular CMS to conduct phishing campaigns against targeted family of users, principally PayPal (25%) and Apple customers (17%).

The compromised WordPress installations were also used to serve malware, but the interesting data is that many of nearly 27 million websites running WordPress analyzed by Netcraft’s team are vulnerable to brute-force password guessing attacks or lack of proper security settings. In the same month Sucuri firm detected a large DDOS attack that leveraged thousands of unsuspecting WordPress websites as indirect amplification vectors, in that case the botnet was composed at least 162,000 WordPress-powered websites abused to run DDoS attacks.

Today the news of multiple serious vulnerabilities in the popular ‘All In One SEO Pack’ plugin for WordPress is worrying millions owners of WordPress website, the flaws have been discovered by security researchers at security firm Sucuri.

WordPress SEO plugin

In a blog post published by Sucuri it is explained that the privilege escalation vulnerabilities allow an attacker to add and modify the WordPress website’s meta information, impacting negatively on SEO.

In the first case, a logged-in user, without possessing any kind of administrative privileges (like an author of subscriber), could add or modify certain parameters used by the plugin. It includes the post’s SEO title, description and keyword meta tags.” states Sucuri.

The experts added that the cross-site scripting vulnerability can be exploited by malicious hackers to execute malicious JavaScript code on an administrator’s dashboard.
“This means that an attacker could potentially inject any JavaScript code and do things like changing the admin’s account password to leaving some backdoor in your website’s files in order to conduct even more “evil” activities later.” Sucuri reported.
All in One SEO Pack plugin team has issued a security advisory  to inform users of the presence  of two critical privilege escalation vulnerabilities and one cross site scripting (XSS) flaw, the team also provided an emergency security update that patches all the flaws.

All In One SEO Pack optimizes WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), more than 15 million websites run it, to secure their instance, users should update the plugin immediately to the latest version (All in One SEO Pack 2.1.6).

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – All in One SEO Pack, WordPress)

UPDATE June 6th 2014


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