WordPress Plugin Security Reviews

As we seek to expand the protection that the service provides against plugin vulnerabilities we are now starting to do basic security reviews of plugins selected by the customers of the service. This builds on the security checks we have been doing when reviewing other vulnerabilities in plugins, when trying to figure out what vulnerability hackers are trying to exploit in plugins we find them targeting, and other security reviews that we do.

Currently every two weeks we will do the review of the plugin that customers of the service have given the most votes in favor of a review. Anyone with a paid subscription can submit plugins to be voted on and can add vote in favor of plugins submitted by others. Once you are logged in to your account go here to get started.

What is Included in the Review?

We describe the review as basic, because we are not reviewing every single line of code in the plugin or guaranteeing that it is free of any vulnerabilities. Instead we focus on checking for some high risks issues, that are likely to be exploited if they are discovered, as well as making sure that the plugins are performing basic security hardening and security checks, which would limit other types of vulnerabilities from being exploited if they existed.

The following items are checked for:

  • Insecure file upload handling (this is the cause of the most exploited type of vulnerability, arbitrary file upload)
  • Security issues with functions accessible through WordPress’ AJAX functionality (those are a common source of disclosed vulnerabilities these days)
  • Persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in publicly accessible portions of the plugin
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the admin portion of plugins
  • SQL injection vulnerabilities (the code that handles requests to the database)
  • Reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities
  • Lack of protection against unintended direct access of PHP files