Experts from the security company RIPS Technologies have conducted an interesting analysis of WordPress plugins.
The researchers have analyzed 44,705 of the roughly 48,000 plugins available in the official WordPress plugins.
“To do this we downloaded all 47,959 plugins that are available from the official WordPress repository and analyzed them with our static code analyzer RIPS! Shockingly, about every second larger plugin contains at least one medium severity issue” states the analysis from the company.
The experts conducted a static code analysis of all the plugins searching for those that have at least one PHP file.
Before they analyzed the flaws in the plugins they collected general data on them to provide a better evaluation of the WordPress components.
Roughly 14,000 plugins are composed of 2-5 files and only 10,500 of them have more than 500 lines of code and for this reason, they have been classified as “larger plugins”.
The analysis of “larger plugins” (10,523) revealed that 43% of them (4,559) contain at least one medium severity issue. The experts discovered a total of 67,486 vulnerabilities in the plugins.
Roughly 36,000 plugins are not affected by any vulnerabilities, 1,426 had only low severity vulnerabilities, medium severity bugs affect more than 4,600 plugins, high-severity holes have been found in 2,799 plugins, while 41 plugins are affected by critical issues.
A close look at the types of vulnerabilities revealed the more than 68% of flawed plugins are affected by cross-site scripting (XSS) issues and just over 20% are SQL injections.
This means that XSS vulnerabilities are one of the principal problems for WordPress websites, but experts noticed that their exploitations require administrator interaction. SQL injection vulnerabilities can be exploited without user interaction through automated scanning activities.
Experts at RIPS used a honeypot between January and December 2016 to better analyze the attacks against WordPress plugins. The honeypot allowed the experts to count more than 200 attacks against WordPress plugins.
“We are running a small WordPress honeypot for quite some time know and could extract the information from our logs. Overall, over 200 attacks were recorded from January of 2016 to December of 2016” continues the report.
69 attacks targeted the Revolution Slider plugin, 46 against Beauty & Clean Theme, 41 against MiwoFTP and 33 against Simple Backup.
All the attacks observed by RIPS involved easy-to-exploit and well-known flaws.
(Security Affairs – WordPress plugins, hacking)