Security Experts:

WordPress Sites Hacked via Zero-Day Vulnerability in WPGateway Plugin

Many WordPress sites are at risk of full compromise as attackers are actively exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in the WPGateway plugin, Defiant’s WordFence team warns.

A premium plugin for the WPGateway cloud service, the WPGateway plugin provides users with WordPress installation, backup, and cloning capabilities.

Tracked as CVE-2022-3180 (CVSS score of 9.8), the recently identified vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to add an administrator account to websites running WPGateway.

“An attacker with administrator privileges has effectively achieved a complete site takeover,” Wordfence points out.

The WordPress security firm says that a copy of the WPGateway plugin obtained on September 9 is still vulnerable. Wordfence has reported the security bug to the WPGateway developer, but no patch has been released yet.

“As this is an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability, and attackers are already aware of the mechanism required to exploit it, we are releasing this public service announcement (PSA) to all of our users,” Wordfence notes.

The security firm has not provided technical details on the vulnerability, to prevent further exploitation, but did share some indicators of compromise (IoCs), to help site administrators check whether their installations have been targeted.

According to the company, if an administrator account with the username ‘rangex’ appears in the dashboard, it means that the WordPress site has been compromised. Site owners may also check the site’s access logs for specific requests indicating that they have been targeted.

Wordfence says that, over the past 30 days, it has blocked over 4.6 million attack attempts targeting the WPGateway plugin on more than 280,000 WordPress sites.

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