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article imageMalware infects hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites

By James Walker     Dec 16, 2014 in Internet
Hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs powered by content management platform WordPress have been infected by malicious malware via a plugin.
Sucuri, a server security firm for WordPress, announced that a malware known as SoakSoak is responsible for the infections. It gets onto the sites through a third-party premium plugin known as "Slider Revolution" or "RevSlider". It modifies the WordPress template loading file to include a JavaScript snippet on every page that you view. This JavaScript file pulls in the malware.
The results of the attack are significant as Google has been blacklisting WordPress sites since the weekend. Now over 11,000 are flagged as malicious with internet browsers warning you as such when you visit.
The developers of RevSlider, Theme Punch, have been aware of the vulnerabities of their plugin for many months though. Securi first notified them of the issue back in February and between then and September 29 security patches have been released to quietly resolve the issue. The developer was reluctant to go public and take major action in the fear that "an instant public announcement would spark a mass exploitation of the issue."
Unfortunately, several months on, that is exactly what is happening. Apparently, many users of the plugin have not updated it to the latest version, partially because it is included with many prebuilt themes or templates. Because of this, the attackers have been able to exploit all the old versions of the plugin still used on many sites.
Securi first noted the attack on Saturday as impacting huge numbers of sites and growing by the hour. It only affects sites on "wordpress.org" as opposed to "wordpress.com" as the latter does not allow the use of plugins. WordPress have yet to give a statement or comment regarding the ongoing attack.
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