FBI says supposed ISIS sympathizers exploiting WordPress plugins

The plugins are low-hanging fruit, but the attacks have been widespread and disruptive, the FBI said

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned on Tuesday that attackers claiming to be sympathetic to the extremist group ISIS are targeting websites that have vulnerable WordPress plugins.

The content management system has a thriving community of third-party developers who have created some 37,000 plugins, but occasionally security vulnerabilities in one can put a large number of websites at risk.

The vulnerabilities can allow the hackers to gain unauthorized access, inject scripts or install malware on the affected sites, according to an advisory published by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. The attackers have hit news organizations, religious institutions, commercial and government websites.

The defacements have occurred on websites that share some of the common WordPress plugins with vulnerabilities that are easily exploited, the FBI said.

"Although the defacements demonstrate low-level hacking sophistication, they are disruptive and often costly in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems," the advisory said.

The attackers voice support for ISIS, sometimes referred to as ISIL, "to gain more notoriety than the underlying attack would have otherwise garnered," the FBI said.

On Tuesday, the security company Sucuri issued an advisory for a flaw it found in the WP-Super-Cache plugin, which delivers static HTML files of WordPress pages stripped of PHP scripts for improved loading times.

A cross-site scripting vulnerability in the plugin could allow an attacker to add a new administrator to a site or inject a backdoor using WordPress's theme edition tools. As many as a million WordPress sites use the plugin.

In late February, Sucuri said the same number of WordPress sites were vulnerable to takeover due to a flaw in another analytics plugin called WP-Slimstat.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationsecurityWordpressExploits / vulnerabilities

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?