When vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins get exploited a lot of those impacted don’t have a good understanding of what is going on. One example we have seen frequently with recent instances of that is that people get confused in to believing that the version that fixes the vulnerability instead contains malicious code that is causing the result of their website already having been hacked. That seems in part because they don’t understand that the new version doesn’t undo what the hackers have already accomplished. The best approach for people in that situation would be to hire a professionals like us to clean the website, since we can help to explain what is actually going on and make sure the issue has been fully resolved. The next best would be for people to discuss it on the support forum for the plugin, but as has happened with the plugin Simple 301 Redirects – Addon – Bulk Uploader that runs in to the problematic moderators of the WordPress Support Forum.
One of the strange issues we have seen for years when it comes to the moderators of the WordPress Support Forum is them not understanding at all what disclosing a vulnerability is. That has even occurred with the person that is in charge of the team running the Plugin Directory, who certainly should have understood what is and isn’t disclosure of a vulnerability since they deal with vulnerabilities on a regular basis. That continues to be a problem. The latest instance involved a review of a plugin we mentioned yesterday in the context of people failing to keep their plugins up to date, which would have prevented them from being hacked. One of the reviews we cited part of, reads in full:
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.