Yet Another Expired Domain causes WP Plugin to Redirect Users

Labs Note

Malicious redirects are very common in compromised websites. Attackers try to take advantage of the site resources to promote spam, distribute other malware/backdoors, and perform all kinds of malicious activities.

The type of attack described in this labs note though, doesn’t involve a single website being compromised but lots of them being affected by it at the same time. Although this is not a new technique and we’ve already covered in a blog post here (, this variant caught our attention because another plugin was being targeted.

During an Incident Response investigation, we found that malicious redirects were coming from a JavaScript loading via the website, which is part of a WordPress plugin called “Enmask Captcha”.

“This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.“

Their domain appears to have expired and somebody else purchased it and now anyone using this plugin would experience redirects on their website since the new owner of the domain is deliberately redirecting users.

Here are some more details about this plugin and what is causing the redirect:

Code found on the page:

lt;script type="text/javascript" data-enmask-langcode="en-US" src="hxxp://enmask[.]com//Scripts/Enmask.Captcha.js" data-enmask="true" data-enmask-name="myCaptcha"></script>

Clicking anything on the website leads to this page:


The redirect is caused by the following JavaScript which gets returned when requesting any JavaScript file from the domain; it looks like the new owner of the domain is doing this intentionally:

if (typeof _popwnd == 'undefined') {
   var _popwnd = -1;
    function _popwnd_open(){
       if (_popwnd!=-1) return;
       _popwnd ='hxxp://', '_blank', '');
window.addEventListener('click', _popwnd_open);

If you happen to be using this plugin, we highly recommend removing and/or replacing it with another one which is still supported and could provide you similar functionalities.

Loading images and/or scripts from external websites is not recommended (exceptions may apply, like big CDNs or services like Facebook or Ad networks) for various reasons and here are some:

  • If your website looks and feels, or even its functionality relies on those external resources, any availability issues they have will impact on your website;
  • If the resource you fetch the content from is compromised, your site may be used to distribute unwanted content (even malicious content) without your consent (like we described in this labs note).
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