12 Apr

Closures of Very Popular WordPress Plugins, Week of April 12

While we already are far ahead of other companies in keeping up with vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins (amazingly that isn’t an exaggeration), in looking in to how we could get even better we noticed that in a recent instance were a vulnerability was exploited in a plugin, we probably could have warned our customers about the vulnerability even sooner if we had looked at the plugin when it was first closed on the Plugin Directory instead of when the vulnerability was fixed (though as far as we are aware the exploitation started after we had warned our customers of the fix). So we are now monitoring to see if any of the 1,000 most popular plugins are closed on the Plugin Directory and then seeing if it looks like that was due to a vulnerability.

This week one of those plugins were closed and has yet to have been reopened.

Visual CSS Style Editor (YellowPencil)

Visual CSS Style Editor (YellowPencil), which has 30,000+ installs, was closed on Monday. No explanation has been given for the closure. While doing a quick check of the plugin’s security on Tuesday, we found  that the plugin contained a combo of vulnerabilities that were likely to be exploited. The next morning we saw evidence that hackers were probing for usage of the plugin. Subsequently there were reports of  widespread exploitation.