Attackers leveraging WP Maintenance plugin to deface websites

Labs Note

Recently, during a website investigation, we detected that attackers have been modifying the database structure of WP Maintenance plugin (which is a very popular wordpress plugin which adds a “down for maintenance” or coming soon page for your website) and inserting malicious code into wpmm_settings option to lead users to the harmful content.

The malware would change the plugin’s database values to the defacement page like it follows:

The background:


And the message :

s:538:"<h2 class="pi-item pi-item-spacing pi-title">“When you’re stuck in a foreign country and don’t know the words for “reverse charges”
and you’re in some lonely skin joint in the middle of some poor slum and just had every last cent robbed from you and you call yourself a bodyguard then you know you’re a loser.\"</h2>
<p style="text-align: left"> </p>

Now, in order to “deface” the website, the attacker would only need to enable the maintenance page. No files were rewritten and inexperienced website owners may have some trouble figuring out what happened and how to fix.

It is worth to mention that the plugin is NOT vulnerable, the attackers were leveraging valid plugin functions instead of replacing the index.php file as usual.

The rendered code will result into something like this:

As website owners, we have to make sure our visitors have the best experience possible and won’t be at risk when accessing your website.

If you detected any unusual code or suspect of any unexpected behavior, we are here to help you get your website back on track.

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