A hacker group is exploiting vulnerabilities in more than ten WordPress plugins to create rogue admin accounts on WordPress sites across the internet.
The attacks are an escalation part of a hacking campaign that started last month. During previous attacks, the hackers exploited vulnerabilities in the same plugins to plant malicious code on the hacked sites. This code was meant to show popup ads or to redirect incoming visitors to other websites.
However, two weeks ago, the group behind these attacks changed its tactics. Mikey Veenstra, a threat analyst with cybersecurity firm Defiant, told ZDNet today that starting with August 20, the hacker group modified the malicious code planted on hacked sites.
Instead of just inserting pop-ups and redirects, the malicious code also ran a function in order to test if the site visitor had the ability to create user accounts on the site, a feature only available for WordPress admin accounts.
Basically, this malicious code waited for the site owner to access their own websites. When they did, the malicious code created a new admin account named wpservices, using the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, and password of w0rdpr3ss.
By creating these accounts, the hacker group behind this campaign changed tactics from exploiting sites for monetary profits, to also adding backdoors for future use, and for a more persistence foothold.
According to Veenstra, these recent attacks are targeting older vulnerabilities in the following plugins.
The plugins are linked to their respective vulnerabilities, so readers can determine the version to which they need to update, to prevent attacks, in case they’re using one of the plugins.
After updating the following plugins, site owners are also advised to check admin usernames registered on their sites. Removing these accounts is imperative, as their sole purpose was to create a way back into websites after users updated the vulnerable plugins.
Cleaning infected WordPress sites can be quite complicated, as site owners will also have to scan their websites with WordPress security plugins in search for various other backdoor mechanisms the hackers might have left behind. Non-technical users are advised to seek professional help.
The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security
This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.
These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.
Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.
If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.
Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise
This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.
Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.
In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.
CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions
Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.
Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.
“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”
As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.
Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.
“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.
So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:
“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”
Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.
“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”
Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast
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