Security Experts:

WordPress Patches XSS, Privilege Escalation Vulnerabilities

WordPress 4.3.1 is available for download. The latest version of the content management system (CMS) fixes three vulnerabilities and 26 bugs.

Check Point Technologies researchers Shahar Tal and Netanel Rubin have been credited for finding two of the vulnerabilities. One of them is a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw related to the processing of shortcode tags (CVE-2015-5714).

An attacker can exploit the flaw to inject malicious JavaScript code into objects rendered on WordPress pages when they are generated. The XSS payload gets executed when any contributing user, including administrators, load the page.

The second vulnerability uncovered by Check Point allows an unauthorized user to publish private posts and set them as “sticky.” By combining this flaw with the XSS, an attacker can ensure that the XSS payload is rendered at the top of the front page for every contributing user. A blog post detailing the flaws was published by Check Point on Tuesday.

The third security hole patched with the release of WordPress 4.3.1 is an XSS vulnerability reported by a member of the WordPress security team.

Check Point researchers have discovered several vulnerabilities in WordPress over the past few months. A privilege escalation allowing a user with Subscriber permissions to create and edit drafts was patched in July with the release of WordPress 4.2.3. A SQL injection vulnerability was addressed in August with the release of WordPress 4.2.4.

“WordPress is the most popular web platform in the world. While it is generally well-secured, we could still find numerous flaws in its core, combined to cause critical implications on millions of web sites today,” Rubin explained.

“These results reiterate an important security lesson; all software is bound to break, regardless of extraordinary popularity, a thousand committers and open source reviewers. If two thousand eyes failed to catch what our two have found, the ‘open source == secure’ argument becomes invalid.”

Related: WordPress 4.3 "Billie" Improves Password Security

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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.