Category: WordPress security Page 3 of 16

WordCamp Seattle 2017 – The Emerald City Event

This past weekend SiteLock attended WordCamp Seattle as a Gold sponsor. It was a heavily attended event with almost five hundred WordPress designers, developers, and content creators who filled the Washington State Convention Center’s Tahoma space on the third floor.

Our experience as a sponsor was excellent! Organizers did a fantastic job placing all the sponsor tables in the same room as registration and refreshments and we had ample room to interact with attendees and learn more about their businesses and the security needs of their clients.

In addition to chatting with attendees, we really love the content that WordCamps offer and the schedule in Seattle provided some unique talks. Here are a few of our favorites:

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WordCamp Phoenix 2017 – Feeling Right at Home

WordCamp Phoenix has a reputation for being a great event. And lucky for SiteLock, it was close to our headquarters in Scottsdale, allowing more of the SiteLock team to attend than usual, many of them first-time WordCampers!

As someone who works remotely and travels often, this event was especially fruitful for me because it meant I could spend some quality time with our entire team, many of whom I’ve never met in person due to our rapid growth.

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Heads Up: WordPress 4.8.3 Security Release

WordPress released version 4.8.3 today, which includes a critical security patch. WordPress is advising that all versions 4.8.2 and earlier are vulnerable to SQL injection attack, and that all sites using WordPress should be updated immediately.  The vulnerability in question is related to the $wpdb object where $wpdb->prepare() can create queries that allow attackers to inject malicious code into the MySQL database that powers the site. WordPress is reporting that the vulnerability does not impact core application files, but may impact plugins and themes that use WPDB. The security team has added hardening to prevent these add-ons from inadvertently creating the vulnerability.

We are recommending that all WordPress sites be updated immediately. If you have enabled automatic updates, these should complete within the next 24 hours. Additionally, all plugins and themes associated with your WordPress sites should be updated to their latest vendor provided versions. This will help to ensure your site is not compromised.
It is also recommended that you utilize a malware and vulnerability scanner, such as those provided with SiteLock INFINITY to prevent infections on your site.

WordCamp Portland 2017 – Not Weird at All

The SiteLock team recently traveled to Oregon for WordCamp Portland where we had a sponsor table and met  many (if not most) of the attendees. It was a busy camp morning for me because I also presented a session titled “5 Steps to Personal and Website Security“. I’m happy to report that my session was received very well among the WordCampers.

The Sponsor Experience

First and foremost, I want to give a shout-out to the #WCPDX organizers. They did an excellent job ensuring the sponsor tables were placed in a room that received steady traffic. The tables were set up between the session rooms, also conveniently located next to the coffee, water, and other refreshments.

The Talks

As with most WordCamps, the session topics were relevant to all types of WordPress users, and the session times were 35 minutes, plus 10 minutes at the end for Q&A. However, there were also lightning talks of 10-15 minutes, which were informative and entertaining.

Ethan Clevenger’s lightning talk discussed how to succeed as a freelancer, and in particular, the reasoning behind raising your prices and how to avoid the fear of making less money. Not only did his talk give valid advice on increasing your revenue while reducing your need to “constantly chase new clients,” but Ethan was also pretty hilarious in the delivery of his content.

In Praise of the Side Project: Learn New Skills, Make Money, and Have Fun.

Rachel Cherry is a Senior Software Engineer at The Walt Disney Company and delivered a unique and inspiring talk to those in attendance. She showed proof that side projects can lead to bigger things like Apple, Twitter, and even Gmail. The point she made though, was that they don’t always have to, sometimes side projects can simply be for testing the waters. This could include learning a new software package, drafting a blog about your favorite food to improve your writing skills, or building websites to razz your friends (#hiroy). Judging by the comments after, her talk made those in attendance feel at ease and less worried about their half-done projects.

Automating Your Workflow

Andrew Taylor’s talk about automation was great. Specifically, automating as much of your daily workflow as possible in order to put processes in place that you can rely on. This also allows you to be more productive. Even though it was a lightning talk, he packed in both the philosophy behind continuous integration and some actual methods he uses in his day-to-day routine.

Don’t Waste Your Content: Repurpose and Keep It Alive

Bob Dunn, more commonly known as BobWP online, delivered a great talk on why and how to repurpose any content you’ve created. He’s been blogging for ten years and produces three successful podcasts. How does he do it? You guessed it, repurposing content in order to save time and meet the needs of his different audiences.

A Little Fun and Frustration with Our Raffle

We always try to do something a little special at WordCamps, in addition to giving out webcam covers and t-shirts. In Portland, we raffled off an Amazon gift card, which was a fun experience. When reading the winning ticket numbers, we had to go through A LOT of them before we finally had a winner. It actually turned out to be pretty entertaining and helped build anticipation.

By all accounts, WordCamp Portland was a great event and one I know we’ll be back to next year. If you weren’t able to attend and you’d like to know more about SiteLock, I encourage you to read more about our company and products, like malware scanning and auto-removal, as well as our web application firewall options.

See you next year!

How SiteLock Saved a Whale Watchers Website [Case Study]

Company Overview

Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises is dedicated to providing ‘Cape Cod’s Finest Whale Watching!’ Established in 1989, the company brings more than thirty years of experience to whale watching, with an impressive sighting rate of 99 percent. As the company’s popularity grew, its website was forced to expand from an initial online brochure to a comprehensive resource including whale watching information, trip scheduling and online ticket purchasing. These changes also greatly increased customer reach both nationally and internationally.

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SiteLock Threat Intercept

Threat Intercept: SiteLock Discovers XSS Vulnerability in WooCommerce Extension

This article was co-authored by Product Evangelist Logan Kipp.

THREAT SUMMARY

Low Threat
WordPress Website Security Threat Level
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Category: XSS – Reflected

Trend Identified: 7/25/2017

CVE ID: N/A

Threat Name: N/A

Vector: Browser/Javascript

The threat rating was determined using the following metrics:

Complexity:

MEDIUM: While initial exploitation is low complexity, weaponization requires action from the victim.

Confidentiality Impact:

MEDIUM: Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could potentially hijack individual browser sessions.

Integrity Impact:

MEDIUM: Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could potentially hijack individual browser sessions.

What is it?

SiteLock recently found a reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin for WordPress. Reflected XSS vulnerabilities differ from persistent XSS in that each attack is completed in the duration of a single session, rather than permanently modifying the impact site. According to the Open Web Application Security Project (http://www.owasp.org):

The variety of attacks based on XSS is almost limitless, but they commonly include transmitting private data, like cookies or other session information, to the attacker, redirecting the victim to web content controlled by the attacker, or performing other malicious operations on the user’s machine under the guise of the vulnerable site.

 

Who is impacted?

Websites running the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin versions 2.0.35 and older are vulnerable to this exploit. Fortunately, Automattic (WooCommerce’s parent company) patched the vulnerability almost immediately after being contacted by SiteLock. Unfortunately, many site owners do not update their plugins frequently, or at all. If you use Product Vendors for WooCommerce, make sure that you are running the most recent version (v2.0.38 at the time of writing).

 

How was it found?

Our automated scanner alerted us to an XSS vulnerability on a customer’s website, which we determined was due to the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin. What was unusual in this case is that the vulnerable plugin was, at the time, the most recent version, so no patches were yet available for the vulnerability. We immediately contacted Automattic concerning our findings in following our Responsible Disclosure Policy, provided all relevant information on the vulnerability, and coordinated this disclosure.

 

Remediation Steps

The simplest way to fix this vulnerability is to update the plugin to the newest version, which was patched less than a week after the vulnerability was reported. Fortunately for SiteLock TrueShield customers, emergency policy updates were pushed to protect against this vulnerability as soon as it was discovered. However, we still recommend updating WooCommerce Product Vendors to the latest version.

 

Technical details

Overview

WooCommerce Product Vendors is a WordPress plugin which allows eCommerce sites to create a marketplace with multiple vendors, taking commissions from each vendor’s sales. The XSS vulnerability was found in the Vendor Signup form, which can be placed anywhere on the site.

 

Cause

This version of the plugin has a reflected XSS vulnerability because the $_POST parameter for vendor_description, which allows vendors to insert a description of their company, is not properly escaped, allowing arbitrary JavaScript to be executed in a visitor’s browser.

 

Reproduction Steps

In this case, the issue was reproduced using the below cURL request, and verified when the output showed the unaltered script.

Exploitability

$_POST parameter XSS vulnerabilities are often underestimated because it’s not possible to exploit them by directly sending a victim to the vulnerable URL. This difficulty is easily circumvented by first directing the victim to an attacker-controlled form that uses JavaScript to submit itself. As $_POST parameters are not directly visible in the URL, this also hides any suspicious parameters that would appear in a $_GET exploit. Additionally, as $_POST requests do not have the same character limit as $_GET requests, a larger payload can be delivered.

Note: It is also possible to craft a data:// URL that includes a self-submitting form, negating the need for the attacker to control another site. However, many browsers impose a length limit on data URLs, and data URLs are unusual enough to elicit suspicion in a potential victim.

 

Impact

As with all reflected XSS vulnerabilities, the impact depends on the ingenuity of the attacker. Reflected XSS allows an attacker to take control of the victim’s browser for as long as the tab is open on the vulnerable site, and victims are far more likely to leave a tab open on a site that appears to be legitimate. Stealing credentials, hijacking sessions, or exfiltrating payment information entered on the vulnerable site may also be possible, depending on the site’s configuration and the security measures in place.

 

Remediation

If updating to the latest version is not possible, this vulnerability can also be patched by escaping the $_POST[‘vendor_description’] parameter on line 61 of wp-content/plugins/woocommerce-product-vendors/templates/shortcode-registration-form.php using the esc_attr() WordPress function.

 

WordCamp Denver 2017 – WordPress Knowledge Stacked a Mile High

Last week we found ourselves in Denver, CO for another amazing WordCamp. We sponsored the event as part of our global sponsorship program, which also included table space that gave us ample opportunity to meet existing SiteLock customers and explain our website security services to those new to the WordPress community.

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WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul 2017 – Double the Fun

I’ve just returned from WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul, and what a camp it was! This year’s event was held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Hanson Hall buildings at the University of Minnesota West Bank.

An impressive 450 attendees descended on the Twin Cities to learn and share all things WordPress. If you look close at the image below, you’ll see two planes in addition to the one I was on, all landing in Minneapolis. I’d like to think there were some other excited WordCampers coming in at the same time as my own flight.

SiteLock was among the 450 attendees, and we also  sponsored the event. We were there in full force with copious amounts of swag and a $200 Amazon gift card for our raffle.

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WordCamp Boston 2017 – WordPress Strong

SiteLock sponsored and attended WordCamp Boston 2017 this past weekend. It was our second year in attendance, and as expected, it was a great event! In this post, we share some of our experiences from the event, including a slight hiccup and how we overcame it.

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WordCamp Europe 2017 Recap

After a year of waiting and months of planning, SiteLock finally landed in Paris, France for our second year at WordCamp Europe! We sponsored the event again this year and were overwhelmed by the attendance of 1,900 people from 79 countries. Not to mention the 1,000 viewers who live-streamed the event, totaling a count of 2,900 WordPress enthusiasts!

For those of you who were at the show, you probably met at least one person in red from the SiteLock crew. From left to right, we sent these handsome folks below (note, I’m the one in the middle!).

SiteLock President Neill Feather, Executive Vice President Tom Serani, and Evangelists Logan Kipp and Adam Warner, and Inside Channel Developer Brandon Goldberg

For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve recapped the event with some of our favorite moments below.

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