Security Experts:

WordPress Sites Targeted via Vulnerabilities in WooCommerce Discounts Plugin

The owners and administrators of e-commerce websites powered by WordPress and the WooCommerce platform have been warned of attacks exploiting vulnerabilities discovered recently by researchers in a discounts plugin.

The flaws were identified on August 7 by researchers at web security company WebARX in Discount Rules for WooCommerce, a plugin that has been installed on over 30,000 websites and which allows users to create various types of discounts for their products. The developer patched the vulnerabilities within a week with the release of version 2.1.0.

However, it’s now important that website administrators update the plugin as WebARX says it has been seeing attacks exploiting the vulnerabilities.

The flaws have been described as SQL injection, stored cross-site scripting (XSS) and authorization-related issues. Exploitation of the stored XSS weakness can allow an unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code.

WebARX told SecurityWeek that an attacker looking to exploit the vulnerabilities would first have to crawl the internet for affected WordPress websites by looking for the “woocommerce” string in their source code. Once a potential target has been found, they can send it a malicious payload.

In the attacks observed by WebARX, the cybercriminals are injecting a JavaScript file that redirects visitors to their own site, which most likely contains advertisements and malware.

“Since the issue allows the attacker to inject the payload into any template hook(s) they desire, it could be used to trigger other exploits if the site has other vulnerable plugins installed but we have not seen such payload yet,” WebARX explained. “Since HTML/JavaScript can be injected into any template hook, this could be abused to execute unwanted actions on the administration pages of the site and thus potentially leading to remote code execution.”

A study conducted recently by WebARX showed that web professionals are increasingly concerned about website security. Nearly 43% of the respondents who took part in the company’s survey said they had seen an increase in attacks, and a quarter of them had seen a website being hacked in the month leading up to the survey.

The top challenges cited by professionals when dealing with website security were lack of knowledge, blocking and preventing attacks, plugin and third-party code vulnerabilities, software updates, and client education.

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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.