A Finnish IT company has uncovered a bug in WordPress 3 sites that could be used to launch a wide variety of malicious script-based attacks on site visitors’ browsers. Based on current WordPress usage statistics, the vulnerability could affect up to 86 percent of existing WordPress-powered sites.
“For instance, our [proof of concept] exploits first clean up traces of the injected script from the database,” the Klikki Oy team wrote in a blog post on the vulnerability, “then perform other administrative tasks such as changing the current user's password, adding a new administrator account, or using the plugin editor to write attacker-supplied PHP code on the server (this impact applies to any WordPress XSS if triggered by an administrator). These operations happen in the background without the user seeing anything out of the ordinary. If the attacker writes new PHP code on the server via the plugin editor, another AJAX request can be used to execute it instantaneously, whereby the attacker gains operating system level access on the server.”