Vulnerable plugins plague the CMS website security landscape

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According to new study, vulnerable plugins, extensions, and default settings are to blame for a high percentage of website compromise.

SECURITY

Protect your privacy from hackers, spies, and the government with Cyber Security 101.

 

Protect your privacy from hackers, spies, and the government with Cyber Security 101.

 

Simple actions might be the difference between losing your online accounts and protecting your privacy, which is increasingly a valuable commodity.

 

CMSs are commonly used to organise websites and online services, such as e-commerce shops, and make it simpler for web administrators to manage and publish content.

Plugins and extensions extend the functionality of a website by adding features such as contact forms, SEO optimization, maps, image albums, and payment methods. As a result, they are quite popular; yet, if they are prone to misuse, their use might expose whole websites to hijacking.

 

Sucuri’s 2021 Website Threat Research Report (.PDF) delves further into these vulnerabilities, with an emphasis on CMS use, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

 

Vulnerable plugins and extensions “cause for considerably more website breaches than out-of-date, core CMS files,” according to the researchers, with about half of website invasions observed by the firm’s clients occurring on a domain with an up-to-date CMS.

Threat actors frequently use genuine – but hijacked – websites to house malware, credit card skimmers, and spam distribution. Websites with “a newly vulnerable plugin or other extension,” according to Sucuri, are the most likely to be exploited in this fashion.

 

“Even a completely updated and patched website can become susceptible in an instant if one of the website parts has a vulnerability disclosure and action is not made quickly to fix it,” the researchers said.

 

Furthermore, webmasters who leave their CMS websites and control panels in default configurations are viewed as a “major liability,” particularly if multi-factor authentication (MFA) is not established or possible.

The most frequent forms of malware identified on infected websites are highlighted in the study. Backdoors are kinds of malware that, among other things, provide their operators persistent access to a domain and the capacity to exfiltrate data.

 

Over 60% of Sucuri’s website hack incidents had at least one backdoor, according to the company.

 

Furthermore, credit card skimmers continue to pose a threat to e-commerce merchants. Skimmers are little bits of code that are frequently included on payment sites that gather consumers’ credit card information. and send them to a site controlled by the attacker.

 

They currently make up more than a quarter of all new PHP-based malware signatures discovered in 2021.

One of the most prevalent kinds of website compromise is spam. SEO spam, such as URL redirection, which are used to push users to landing pages with bad information, was found on 52.6 percent of the websites cleared by the business. In addition, the team discovered evidence of spam injectors, which conceal spam links in hijacked websites in order to improve their SEO ranks.

 

The majority of spam content is about prescription drugs, essay writing services, escorts, gambling, pornographic websites, and pirated software.

 

“While there is no one-size-fits-all security solution for website owners,” Sucuri notes, “we have always suggested using a defence in depth strategy.” “Defensive measures aid in the detection and mitigation of assaults on your website. […] Maintaining a decent security posture boils down to a few basic principles: keep your environment up to date and patched, use strong passwords, follow the principle of least privilege, and filter dangerous traffic with a web application firewall.”

 

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