01 Aug

What Happened With WordPress Plugin Vulnerabilities in July 2017

If you want the best information and therefore best protection against vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins we provide you that through our service.

Here is what we did to keep those are already using our service secure from WordPress plugin vulnerabilities during July (and what you have been missing out on if you haven’t signed up yet):

Plugin Security Reviews

Customers of the service can suggest and vote on plugins to have a security review done by us. This month we released details for a review of:

Plugin Vulnerabilities We Discovered and Publicly Disclosed This Month

We don’t just collect data on vulnerabilities in plugins that others have discovered, we also discover vulnerabilities while monitoring hackers activity, reviewing other vulnerabilities, and by doing additional checking on the security of plugins.

This month the most concerning vulnerability is a PHP object injection vulnerability in Product Reviews, since that type of vulnerability is likely to be exploited and the vulnerability hasn’t been fixed yet.

Plugin Vulnerabilities We Helped Get Fixed This Month

Letting you know that you are using a vulnerable version of plugin is useful, but it is much more useful if you can fully protect yourself by simple updating to a new version. So we work with plugin developers to make sure that vulnerabilities get fixed. This month we helped to get vulnerabilities fixed in plugins that have 702,300+ active installs:

Plugin Vulnerabilities Added This Month That Are In The Current Version of the Plugins

Keeping your plugins up to date isn’t enough to keep you secure as these vulnerabilities in the current versions of plugins show:

Additional Vulnerabilities Added This Month

As usual, there were plenty of other vulnerabilities that we added to our data during the month. Most of the new vulnerabilities that were fixed this month are relatively minor.

07 Jul

Wordfence’s Lack of Understanding of SQL Injection Vulnerabilities Leads to False Claim About WP Statistics Vulnerability

Yesterday we touched on how the web security company Sucuri and others in the security community were overstating the threat of a vulnerability recently discovered by Sucuri in the plugin WP Statistics. While looking over something else related to that vulnerability we came across the web security company Wordfence using that vulnerability basically as an ad for their products and services, while reminding people that are actually knowledgeable  about web security that Wordfence really don’t have a good grasp of it.

Their post starts out:

It’s been a tough week for the WP Statistics plugin. Last Friday, Sucuri (now owned by GoDaddy) discovered a SQL injection vulnerability in the WP Statistics plugin version 12.0.7 and older. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker needs to register an account (or use a compromised account) with subscriber-level access. They can then exploit a weakness in a WP Statistics shortcode to launch a SQL injection attack. This allows them to, for example, create an admin-level user and sign in to your website as an admin.

The vulnerability doesn’t allow someone to create an admin-level user, which is something that Wordfence should know considering shortly after that in the post they tout their plugin will protect against SQL injection vulnerabilities. If you don’t understand the basics of them, then you are not likely to be good at protecting against them.

They certainly shouldn’t be out there making claims that are false like this, but considering this company even goes to the level of claiming they care more about security than WordPress while making up a threat, it really isn’t surprising.

This isn’t all that complicated, here are the vulnerable lines of code in the plugin (as identified by Sucuri):

switch ( $time ) {
case 'today':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d' )}' AND {$search_query}" );
case 'yesterday':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d', -1 )}' AND {$search_query}" );
case 'week':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d', -7 )}' AND {$search_query}" );
case 'month':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d', -30 )}' AND {$search_query}" );
case 'year':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d', -365 )}' AND {$search_query}" );
case 'total':
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE {$search_query}" );
	$result = $wpdb->query( "SELECT * FROM `{$tablename}` WHERE `last_counter` = '{$WP_Statistics->Current_Date( 'Y-m-d', $time)}' AND {$search_query}" );

In that code the value of the variable $search_query, which contains user input, is used in used in multiple SQL statements without being sanitized. The important part here is that the SQL statements are SELECT statements which allow reading data from a database, they don’t allow insert anything, so you can’t add admin user or anything else (the INSERT statement would be used to insert data). What you could do is slowly read out the contents of the database, which isn’t something that we see any evidence of hackers doing against the average website (it could be used in a targeted attack).

Wordfence Fails To Mention Many Plugin Vulnerabilities

While Wordfence’s post titled a “Vulnerability Roundup” they only mentioned vulnerabilities disclosed recently in two other plugins, both of which were already fixed, while not mentioning any of the  numerous vulnerabilities in plugins that were recently disclosed that haven’t been fixed. Telling someone to update a plugin that already has been fixed is really not all that helpful, since what you really should be telling people is to keep all of their plugins up to date at all times. When vulnerabilities haven’t been fixed that is when it would be useful to make people aware of the issue. As example of Wordfence of not warning about those unfixed vulnerabilities, here are just the vulnerabilities that we disclosed last week that haven’t been fixed:

If you used our service you would know about those vulnerabilities and many others that remain unfixed, including many that are likely to be exploited.

28 Apr

Reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Vulnerability in WP Statistics

A couple of days ago we started to look into a series of releases (12.0.2-12.0.5) of the plugin WP Statistics that were indicated to have fixed cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. While there were a couple of advisories put out related to this, those didn’t include the details needed to confirm that vulnerabilities had existed and had been fixed. When we started testing things out to figure out exactly what was going on, we accidentally ran across yet another XSS vulnerability, this time a reflected XSS vulnerability.

While that is a minor vulnerability, it probably isn’t the best sign of the security of that plugin that we could stumble on to yet another vulnerability. Considering that this is a plugin with 300,000+ active installs according to wordpress.org, it also isn’t a good sign as to the security of WordPress plugins in general.

The issue started in the file /includes/log/page-statistics.php where the value of the GET input “page-uri” is set to the variable $pageuri without being sanitized:

if( array_key_exists( 'page-uri', $_GET ) ) { $pageuri = $_GET['page-uri']; } else { $pageuri = null; }

That variable is then added to the variable $urlfields:

if( $pageuri ) { $urlfields .= "&page-uri={$pageuri}"; }

And the second variable is passed to the function wp_statistics_date_range_selector():

wp_statistics_date_range_selector( WP_STATISTICS_PAGES_PAGE, $daysToDisplay, null, null, $urlfields );

From there in the file /includes/functions/functions.php the value was output unescaped on line 972:

echo 'href="?page=' . $page . '&hitdays=' . $range[$i] . $extrafields . '">' . $desc[$i] . '';

And on line 988:

echo '<input type="hidden" name="' . $key . '" value="' . $value . '">';

In version 12.0.6 both of those instances where it is output now pass the value through the escaping function esc_url():

echo 'href="?page=' . $page . '&hitdays=' . $range[$i] . esc_url($extrafields) . '">' . $desc[$i] . '</a></li>';
echo '<input type="hidden" name="' . $key . '" value="' . esc_url($value) . '">';

Proof of Concept

The following proof of concept will cause any available cookies to be shown in alert box. Major web browsers other than Firefox provide XSS filtering, so this proof of concept will not work in those web browsers.

Make sure to replace “[path to WordPress]” with the location of WordPress.

http://[path to WordPress]/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wps_pages_page&page-uri=%3F%22%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert%28document.cookie%29%3B%3C%2Fscript%3E


  • April 26, 2017 – Developer notified.
  • April 26, 2017 – Developer responds.
  • April 28, 2017 – Version 12.0.6 released, which fixes vulnerabilities.