One Attacker Outpaces All Others

Starting April 28th, the WordFence team saw a 30 times increase in cross site scripting attack volume, originating from a single attacker, and targeting over a million WordPress sites. WordFence published research detailing the threat actor and attack volume increase on May 5th. By the time they published, the attack volume had dropped back down to baseline levels.

As of May 11, 2020, attacks by this same threat actor have once again ramped up, and are ongoing. This attacker has now attacked over 1.3 million sites in the past month. As of May 12, 2020, attacks by this threat actor have outpaced all other attacks targeting vulnerabilities across the WordPress ecosystem.

What should I do?

As with the previous attacks, the majority of vulnerabilities being targeted are Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) flaws. The Wordfence Firewall’s built-in XSS protection provides protection from these attacks. But you should still insure that all plugins, themes, and WordPress core are up to date.

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Nearly a Million WP Sites Targeted in Large-Scale Attacks

The WordFence Threat Intelligence Team has been tracking a sudden uptick in attacks targeting Cross-Site Scripting(XSS) vulnerabilities that began on April 28, 2020 and increased over the next few days to approximately 30 times the normal volume we see in our attack data.

The majority of these attacks appear to be caused by a single threat actor, based on the payload they are attempting to inject – a malicious JavaScript that redirects visitors and takes advantage of an administrator’s session to insert a backdoor into the theme’s header.

After further investigation, we found that this threat actor was also attacking other vulnerabilities, primarily older vulnerabilities allowing them to change a site’s home URL to the same domain used in the XSS payload in order to redirect visitors to malvertising sites.

Full details at

As Zoom Booms, Incidents of ‘ZoomBombing’ Become a Growing Nuisance

With the recent Stay At Home orders resulting from Covid19, many more people are using Zoom and other video chat ware to keep in touch with their colleagues.  Unfortunately, that means many people who are unfamiliar with the platforms and their protocols, and lots of opportunities for bad actors to take advantage.

From Threatpost:

Numerous instances of online conferences being disrupted by pornographic images, hate speech or even threats can be mitigated using some platform tools.

Officials at Zoom have released tips for users of their video-conferencing platform to help avoid getting “Zoom-bombed” by trolls and even more serious threat actors during online meetings.

The developers of the online video-conferencing service cautioned users to avoid sharing Zoom meeting links publicly and widely on social media and to use some simple management tools within the system to help avoid scenarios in which uninvited participants disrupt meetings in unpleasant and threatening ways.

Read more at the original article:

Iranian hackers have been “password spraying” the US grid

“…Industrial control system security firm Dragos detailed newly revealed hacking activity that it has tracked and attributed to a group of state-sponsored hackers it calls Magnallium. …Dragos says it has observed Magnallium carrying out a broad campaign of so-called password-spraying attacks, which guess a set of common passwords for hundreds or even thousands of different accounts, targeting US electric utilities as well as oil and gas firms.

A related group that Dragos calls Parisite has worked in apparent cooperation with Magnallium, the security firm says, attempting to gain access to US electric utilities and oil and gas firms by exploiting vulnerabilities in virtual private networking software. The two groups’ combined intrusion campaign ran through all of 2019 and continues today.

Full article:

Twitter CEO’s account hacked

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s twitter account was hacked on Friday, Aug 30, using a technique known as “SIM Swapping” or “SIM Hacking” to get around 2-factor authentication (2FA), essentially convincing a phone carrier to assign the victim’s number to a new phone that they control.  The hacker then receives the authentication code and uses it to gain access to the account.  Fortunately, this account was quickly locked down, but if it was your account instead of the CEO’s, do you think it would have been caught as quickly?  I doubt it.

Security expert Brian Krebs suggests “If you care about your account, get a Google Voice # to replace your mobile # in Twitter settings. Uncheck SMS. Then use only either mobile app or even better a security key for 2-factor authentication. Do this for every other account you care about that you can.”

His twitter posts ( give more detail, including the inconvenient fact that Google Voice numbers don’t work in many countries outside of the US.  He clarifies later in the thread that “Basically you want to avoid any service that you can reach over the phone. Oddly enough, the lack of customer service people staffing Google Voice is a plus in this regard. If that describes another service that provides the same, then that’s probably fine, too.”

It’s those helpful customer service people who help you do the SIM swap.


Zoom Zero Day

Use Zoom on your Mac? There’s an easy fix to a major security vulnerability. To change Zoom to turn the camera off until you turn it on, open the terminal app (you can find it in your applications folder) and run this command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/us.zoom.config.plist ZDisableVideo 1

It will ask for your password – that’s okay.

Share with anyone who uses Zoom!


Increased attack rates

We’ve gotten reports from the security software from around 10% of the sites we manage of “increased attack rates” over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, this is something which happens regularly several times a year – when schools let out in May, when school starts in the fall, and around the end of the year. These all seem to be the times of year that “script kiddies” are most active.

Fortunately they’re attempting to hit old, well known exploits which are not a problem for up to date WordPress software. We’ll of course be keeping you up to date and will be keeping an eye out for any problems these attacks might cause

WordPress Sites Compromised via Zero-Day Vulnerabilities in Total Donations Plugin

The Wordfence Threat Intelligence team recently identified multiple critical vulnerabilities in the commercial Total Donations plugin for WordPress. These vulnerabilities, present in all known versions of the plugin up to and including 2.0.5, are being exploited by malicious actors to gain administrative access to affected WordPress sites. We have reserved CVE-2019-6703 to track and reference these vulnerabilities collectively.

It is our recommendation that site owners using Total Donations delete–not just deactivate–the vulnerable plugin as soon as possible to secure their sites. The following article details the issues present in Total Donations, as well as the active attacks against the plugin. We’ll also take a look at our disclosure process, and the steps we took in our attempts to contact the plugin’s developers to reach a resolution.

Curious Access Logs

As is the case with many investigations, this discovery was directly aided by an attacker’s mistake.

More at

Basic security practices

I was planning on doing a handful of security tips for National Cybersecurity Month (October), but ended up getting some site de-hacking clients the first weekend (more on that below) and was booked up pretty solid the rest of the month too. But I also figured: you’re probably smart enough to know the basics by now (no re-using passwords, blah blah blah). I throw tips out on this site regularly anyway.

One of the hacked sites was a result of breaking some of the very basic rules:

1) A really lame password (it was the name of the hosting company, if you can believe that!)

2) Though the live site was entirely in html (essentially plain text files, not as prone to hacking as PHP, Javascript, and other languages which when coded badly can leave gaping security holes), there was a gallery application written in PHP which had been abandoned – but was still discoverable and reachable by hackers – and which had not been updated in 4 or 5 years (40 or 50 years in Internet dog-years).

That means that it was a very likely attack vector. Tip of the day: Don’t leave old versions of your site “stored” on your live website, unless you actively keep them updated too!

3) The hosting package was the cheapest level available. This means that the hosting company crams as many small websites on to a single server as they can possibly fit. The software running those sites is quite often not kept up to date, and because of the way this kind of shared hosting is done, once a hacker gains access to one site on the server they can often attack all the other sites as well.

So the site could have been hacked by directly guessing the password, through out of date software on the victim’s site, or through out of date software on another site on the same server.

The good news: less than 2 hours later it was cleaned up.

Stay safe out there!

Dodged this one!

None of our clients use the plugin or themes mentioned here as far as I can see. (Ultimate Member plugin and TagDiv Themes)

This August, we’ve seen a new massive wave of WordPress infections that redirect visitors to unwanted sites.

When redirected, users see annoying pages with random utroro[.]com addresses and fake reCAPTCHA images. The messages and content try to convince visitors to verify and subscribe to browser notifications without disclosing the purpose of this behavior.

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