Flawed WordPress plugin allows hackers to steal your database

A critical flaw in the WP Statistics plugin used by more than 300,000 WordPress sites can be exploited by thieves out for your database, researchers showed. Site administrators using an outdated plugin are at risk.

While working on WordPress plugin WP Statistics as part of a vulnerability assessment for their firewall offering, Sucuri researchers discovered an SQL Injection flaw.

“This vulnerability is caused by the lack of sanitization in user provided data,” the researchers warned. “An attacker with at least a subscriber account could leak sensitive data and under the right circumstances/configurations compromise your WordPress installation.”

Thanks to a special API, WP Statistics allows site administrators to fetch information on the number of visits by calling a simple shortcode. Certain values in the shortcode are passed as parameters for key functions. Had the parameters been sanitized, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, as Sucuri shows, this is not the case with the flawed WP Statistics plugin.

“This function doesn’t check for additional privileges, allowing subscribers to execute this shortcode and inject malicious data to its attributes,” according to the researchers.

After learning of the flaw, the team behind WP Statistics was quick to patch the weakness in WP Statistics version 12.0.8. Users maintaining a WordPress site with a lower version of the WP Statistics plugin are urged to install the latest iteration pronto.

SQL Injection (SQLi) is one of the oldest and most widespread web application vulnerabilities used by hackers to drop malicious payloads and control a web application’s database server. An SQL Injection vulnerability can affect virtually any website that relies on an SQL-enabled directory.

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