Security Experts:

Flaw in Drupal Module Exposes 120,000 Sites to Attacks

A critical vulnerability has been found in a Drupal module used by many websites. While the flaw has been fixed, Drupal developers initially advised users to migrate as the affected module had not been updated for several years.

The Drupal security team informed users on April 12 that the third-party module named References was affected by a critical security hole. The module, currently used by more than 121,000 websites, allows users to add references between nodes for more complex information architectures.

References was initially flagged by Drupal developers as unsupported due to the fact that it had received its last update in February 2013. However, on April 14, the Drupal security team announced that they may have found a new maintainer for the module.

On Tuesday, Drupal announced that the vulnerability has been fixed with the release of References 7.x-2.2, which also includes new features and bug fixes.

Drupal’s security team has not released any information on the vulnerability to prevent exploitation, but experts are concerned that malicious actors could manage to find the flaw on their own by analyzing the source code. Drupal said it will release information on this weakness in the next few weeks.

While the References module appears to have found a new maintainer, Drupal website owners can also try out Entity Reference, a module that provides similar functionality. A special module is available for migrating from References to Entity Reference.

Hackers have been known to target Drupal websites using vulnerabilities in third-party modules. Last year, researchers started seeing attempts to exploit a RESTWS module flaw two months after it had been patched.

The most well-known Drupal vulnerability is the one dubbed “Drupalgeddon,” which had still been exploited nearly two years after a patch was released.

Related: Several Vulnerabilities Patched in Drupal 8

Related: Restriction Bypass, XSS Flaws Patched in Drupal 8

Related: Several Vulnerabilities Patched in Drupal 7, 8

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.