Using WPScan: Finding WordPress Vulnerabilities


When using WPScan you can scan your WordPress website for known vulnerabilities within the core version, plugins, and themes. You can also find out if any weak passwords, users, and security configuration issues are present. The database at is used to check for vulnerable software and the WPScan team maintains the ever-growing list of vulnerabilities.

Last time, we taught you how to install WPScan on Mac and Linux.

This time we are going to dive into how to use WPScan with the most basic commands.

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WPScan Intro: WordPress Vulnerability Scanner


Have you ever wanted to run security tests on your WordPress website to see if it could be easily hacked?

WPScan is a black box vulnerability scanner for WordPress sponsored by Sucuri and maintained by the WPScan Team, available free for Linux and Mac users. If you use Windows, you can install a virtual machine of a free Linux distro using Virtualbox (also free) or VMWare. If there is interest, we can do a tutorial on this in a future post. In this post we are going to cover the basics of installing WPScan, and we have also created a follow up post to teach you how to use WPScan.

We have included a video tutorial so you can follow along while you copy the commands into Terminal.

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Security Advisory: Stored XSS in Jetpack


Security Risk: Dangerous
Exploitation Level: Easy/Remote
DREAD Score: 8/10
Vulnerability: Stored XSS
Patched Version:  3.7.1
During a routine audit for our WAF, we discovered a critical stored XSS affecting the Jetpack WordPress plugin, one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress ecosystem.

Vulnerability Disclosure Timeline:

  • September 10th, 2015 – Initial report to Automattic security team
  • September 10th, 2015 – Automattic security team acks receipt of report, sets patch date for September 22nd
  • September 28th, 2015 – Patch made public with the release of Jetpack 3.7.1 and 3.7.2
  • October 1st, 2015 – Sucuri Public Disclosure of Vulnerability

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Malicious Google Search Console Verifications


This past summer we noticed a trend of more and more Blackhat SEO hacks trying to verify additional accounts as owners of compromised sites in Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools).

Google Search Console provides really useful information and tools to webmasters who want to:

  • Know how their websites perform in search results.
  • Receive notification about performance, configuration and security issues.
  • Efficiently troubleshoot Search Engine Optimization (SEO) issues.

There’s really no reason why someone wouldn’t register their site there. It contains beneficial information for anyone who wants their website indexed by Google. Hackers realize this and try to get access to the Search Console for websites they hack, especially when they add their own spammy content and technically are (malicious) webmasters.

For example, this was found in a template of one pharma doorway generator:

<meta name="verify-v1" content="JxC+bn8NTCEfKZIdusC9WQELc8FEwbi8p32wf9q0QGA=">

This line of code allows hackers to verify site ownership of compromised sites.

Using Google verification meta tags is just one of many approaches that hackers use. In this post, we’ll show some other (more sophisticated) tricks and talk about the outcomes of such hacks.

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Magento Shoplift (SUPEE-5344) Exploits in the Wild

As warned a few days ago, the Magento Shoplift (SUPEE-5344) vulnerability details have been disclosed by the CheckPoint team. They show step by step how it can be exploited to take over a vulnerable Magento site.

They have prepared the following video showing a Proof of Concept (PoC) in which they create a fake coupon:

That’s a simple example. This vulnerability can be exploited in much more devastating ways.

Magento ShopLift in the Wild

As expected, it is now actively being exploited.

In less than 24 hours since the disclosure, we have started to see attacks via our WAF logs trying to exploit this vulnerability. It seems to be coming from a specific crime group, since they all look the same:

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Security Advisory – High Severity– WordPress Download Manager

Advisory for: WordPress Download Manager
Security Risk: Very High
Exploitation level: Easy/Remote
DREAD Score: 9/10
Vulnerability: Code Execution / Remote File Inclusion
Patched Version: <2.7.5

If you’re using the popular WP Download Manager plugin (around 850,000 downloads), you should update right away. During a routine audit for our Website Firewall (WAF), we found a dangerous remote code execution (RCE) and remote file inclusion (RFI) vulnerability. A malicious user can exploit this vulnerability to take control of your website by uploading backdoors and modifying user passwords.

The vulnerability was discovered and disclosed last week and immediately patched by the WP Download Manager. They have released a patch in version 2.7.5 to fix this issue.

What are the risks?

Any WordPress based website running the WP Download Manager version would be susceptible to remote code execution. Allowing an attacker to inject a backdoor and change important credentials, like admin accounts.

If you use an affected version of this plugin, please update it as soon as possible! Clients on our Website Firewall have been protected from this vulnerability via our Zero Day response mechanism.

Technical details

The plugin used a custom method to handle certain types of Ajax requests which could be abused by an attacker to call arbitrary functions within the application’s context. There were no permission checks before handling these special Ajax calls. This allowed a malicious individual (with a minimal knowledge of WordPress internals) to inject a backdoor on the remote site or to change the administrator’s password if the name of his account was known. As this function is hooked to the “wp” hook (which is executed every single time somebody visits a post/page), it could be abused by anyone.

The culprit

The culprit was in the wpdm_ajax_call_exec() function. It is calling a user function provided by the super global variable $_POST[‘execute’], allowing a user to call any function available within the current execution context.

Sucuri- WP-DownloadManager-Ajaxcall

Sucuri- WP-DownloadManager-Ajaxcall

Finding an interesting function to use

In our research for a useful function to call, we found this one really interesting. The wpdm_upload_icon() function allowed us to upload any files we want to the /file-type-icons/ directory.

Sucuri WP DownloadManager - Interesting Function

Sucuri WP DownloadManager – Interesting Function

The check_ajax_referer(‘icon-upload’) call that occurs before any sensitive actions is taken. This would normally prevent anyone without a valid nonce to execute it. That said, as we could execute any function in the application’s context, nothing prevented us from calling the snippet of code generating that particular nonce first.

The Result

To exploit this issue, an attacker would need to generate a valid nonce, and then send a request that calls the wpdm_upload_icons() function to upload his backdoor on it’s target.

Once this done, he might do just about anything he wants with it.

Security advisory – High severity – InfiniteWP Client WordPress plugin

Advisory for: InfiniteWP Client for WordPress
Security Risk: High (DREAD score : 8/10)
Exploitation level: Easy/Remote
Vulnerability: Privilege escalation and potential Object Injection vulnerability.
Patched Version: 1.3.8

If you’re using the InfiniteWP WordPress Client plugin to manage your website, now is a good time to update. While doing a routine audit of our Website Firewall product, we discovered a vulnerability in the plugin that could be used by a malicious individual to 1) disable a users web site by putting it in maintenance mode and 2) allows the user to control the content of the maintenance page.

What are the risks?

Every website using InfiniteWP version below the 1.3.8 version is at risk. An attacker knowing the site’s administrator’s username could force your website to display malicious content. They can force your site to go into maintenance mode and any of the following could be injected:

  • Javascript or iframe malware.
  • Spam links
  • Defacement messages (the infamous “hacked by” type of attack)

Additionally, this security update also fixes a potential Object Injection vulnerability, although our proof of concept didn’t exploit that particular issue.

As always, if you use an affected version of this plugin, update as soon as possible!

Technical details

The InfineWP Client listens for commands through the php://input stream, which once decoded is used to perform administrative actions on the website. These commands are authenticated using the OpenSSL PHP libraries which block anyone trying to spoof requests to the client. However, in this specific case the plugin was allowing certain actions to be executed before the authentication method.

One of these commands allows an attacker to set the whole website on “maintenance mode” and set the maintenance message to whatever he wants. We will not disclose any more details for at least 30 days, but you can see how serious it is.

Upgrade as soon as possible!

This is a very dangerous vulnerability, upgrading your affected websites should be done immediately!

JoomDonation Compromised

We are receiving reports from many users of the popular JoomDonation platform that they received a very scary email from someone that supposedly hacked into JoomDonation. The emails went to the registered accounts and contained the full names, so it looks like JoomDonation did in fact get breached.

This is the full email:

How the hell are you? No need to ask, I’m fine!

I’m the one who has hacked all of your sites, emails, accounts etc. that has been using site/components. Scaring? Hell Yea :-)

About 15 months ago, I was able to penetrate into several Joomla sites. One of these luckies was After a while I realised that their crappy components were used by other Joomla developers too so I injected my shells into components. As per result, I’ve a list of 300000+ Joomla users+emails and you’re just one of them, lucky thing :-)


Yea Yea I know you all have scanners, firewalls, admin tools etc installed on your server/site but you what? F*ck em all. They’re just noob tools. Think about, I’ve injected my own shells into 10000+ Joomla sites and none of you or your magic tools have been awared of.

WARNING: You have 5 days to clean up your sites then my bot will start putting your sites down. If your site was not so valuable for me, removing the components would be enough. If so, then I will most probably blackmail you soon :-)

Want an advice from a hacker? Don’t use any script from Thailand/Vietnam developers, their code is so crappy :-) Try Indian quality.

This email was sent to all users. We’ll meet again if you have accounts registered to other Joomla developers :-)

Our research team is trying to confirm if any of the downloads from JoomDonation contain a backdoor, and we will post more details soon on what we find.

The JoomDonation developer has confirmed their environment has been compromised, but believes the issues to be specific to their server:

Hi All

I believe this is not security issues in our components/extensions. Someone hacked our server (we are using bluehost VPS server for hosting our website) somehow and uses the email systems to send this spam emails to all of you.

They want to destroy our business (and they mentioned India somehow in the email). Just the quick update from us, we will provide more information when we found something!

We are really sorry for this trouble.

The concern here is two fold:

  1. How did the attackers penetrate JoomDonation? If they leveraged a Zero-Day, then it’s likely the attacker can in fact penetrate other environments configured the same way.
  2. How is the attacker contacting JoomDonation users? This leads you to believe that there has been some level of data breach and user PII information has been compromised.

Currently, the attacker appears to be contacting those that have purchased any of the JoomDonation extensions, which include:

  1. Events Booking
  2. OS Property
  3. EShop
  4. Membership Pro
  5. EDocman
  6. CSV Advanced
  7. OS Services Booking
  8. Joom Donation
  9. Documents Seller

In the meantime, we highly recommend disabling this extension from your website. I would also highly recommend putting it behind a Website Firewall (WAF) with all hardening options enabled to minimize the chances of a compromise in case the extension has a 0-day vulnerability or backdoor.

:::::Update: 20141126 :::::

Tuan provides more details on the compromise, he states:

Dear all,

As you know, today, our hosting account was hacked. The hacker got a small part of our users information (only name and email) and emailed to these users that their sites were hacked. Infact, these sites are not hacked at all.
We have been working hard on this issue. Here are something we found and would like to inform you about them:

1. The security issue is not related to our extensions at all. So all the sites which are using our extensions at the moment will still be safe.

2. The issue came from a security hole in the hosting server which we have used. We have been using a VPS server to secure customers data, unfortunately, there was still security hole and the server has no Firewall software, so the hacker could get into the system and stole these information. We are working to move our website to a more secure server with a better hosting provider. However, it will take us one or two days for doing that.

3. The hacker just got a small part of our users information (contain name, email) and publish some of them. Few hours after the information was published (just name and a part of the email – the domain of the email is hidden), it was deleted and could not be viewable from public. So the information would be secure from now as well

4. We can assure that your sites are still safe. However, we advice that you change super admin account (and FTP account) of your site.

5. We will continue analyzing the server logs and will inform more information about this issue ASAP.

We are really sorry about this issue and hope you will stay with us and do more business with us in the future. Our extensions are good and secure, it is just the hosting server insecure and causes us all these trouble.

Sincerely, JoomDonation

Joomla! 3.3.5 Released – Fixing High Priority Security Issues

Update: It seems like there is a glitch in the new version and the Joomla team is urging its users not to upgrade yet. From their Twitter:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.04.31 PM

Original post:

The Joomla team just released versions 3.3.5, 3.2.6 and 2.5.26, patching high priority security issues. The first one is an Remote File Include (RFI) vulnerability and the second one is a Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability that affect all previous versions. If you are using Joomla, stop what you are doing and update it now!

The good news for our clients and what’s very exciting for us, me especially, is to see how the virtual hardening on our CloudProxy Website firewall protected our clients automatically against this vulnerability. As our researchers started to analyze the disclosure, we quickly noticed that it was already covered and the URL used to trigger this bug was already blocked by default. It means that our clients got zero-day protection without anyone even knowing about this issue.

For more information on these vulnerabilities, you can get straight from the Joomla! release notes:

High Priority – Core – Remote File Inclusion:

Project: Joomla!
SubProject: CMS
Severity: Moderate
Versions: 2.5.4 through 2.5.25, 3.2.5 and earlier 3.x versions, 3.3.0 through 3.3.4
Exploit type: Remote File Inclusion
Reported Date: 2014-September-24
Fixed Date: 2014-September-30
CVE Number: CVE-2014-7228

Inadequate checking allowed the potential for remote files to be executed.

This issue was discovered by Johannes Dahse and disclosed to Akeeba (and Joomla). The Akeeba team released a good post explaining the issue. We recommend reading if you are interested in the technical details.

Medium Priority – Core – Denial of Service:

Project: Joomla!
SubProject: CMS
Severity: Low
Versions: 2.5.4 through 2.5.25, 3.2.5 and earlier 3.x versions, 3.3.0 through 3.3.4
Exploit type: Denial of Service
Reported Date: 2014-September-24
Fixed Date: 2014-September-30
CVE Number: CVE-2014-7229

Inadequate checking allowed the potential for a denial of service attack.

Again, if you are using the Joomla! we highly recommend updating immediately.

Bash – ShellShocker – Attacks Increase in the Wild – Day 1

The Bash ShellShocker vulnerability was first disclosed to the public yesterday. Just a few hours after the initial release, we started to see a few scans looking for vulnerable servers. Our Website Firewall (CloudProxy) had already virtually patched the vulnerability via our Zero Day response mechanism. This allowed us to to create sinkholes and start analyzing the incoming attacks, current and as they evolve.

Most of the scans were not malicious; they appeared to be checking for the vulnerability, which is to be expected as researchers began checking their environments and others.

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