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3rd Party Elementor Plugins Vulnerability Affects +1 Million

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Three Vulnerabilities Fixed by Brainstorm Force in March 2021

This is a list of three separate exploits related to their Elementor Plugins that Brainstorm Force fixed in March 2021:

  • Version 1.30.0 – Fixed – March 30, 2021
    Hardened allowed options in the editor to enforce better security policies.
  • Version 4.1.7 – Important Update 09 Mar 2021
    Vulnerability fixed – Final Patch
  • Version 4.1.6 – Important Update 08 Mar 2021
    Vulnerability fixed – Registration Widget

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Brainstorm Force Elementor Plugin Vulnerabilities

The publishers of the Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugin notified customers of a vulnerability affecting two of their plugins.  This is the third time this year that Brainstorm Force has released an update to fix vulnerabilities in the Elementor Plugins that they publish.

The two affected plugins are addons for the popular Elementor page builder plugin. Addons are third party plugins that extend the functionality and features of the Elementor Page Builder plugin.

The addon plugins with vulnerabilities are published by a third party, Brainstorm Force.

The affected plugins for Elementor are:

  • Ultimate Addons for Elementor
  • Elementor – Header, Footer & Blocks Template

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An email sent by Brainstorm Force noted that they were notified of the vulnerabilities by the Wordfence security team and that they responded within hours.

According to the email:

“In each of these updates, we’ve fixed a vulnerability reported to use by the team at Wordfence.

These are very similar to the ones that the Elementor team recently fixed in their version 3.1.2.”

Screenshot of Brainstorm Force Email

Screenshot of Brainstorm Force email

Screenshot of Brainstorm Force email

The Elementor vulnerability that Brainstorm Force referenced is known as a Stored Cross-site Scripting Vulnerability, one that had the possibility of enabling malicious hackers to stage a full site takeover.

(Read: WordPress Elementor Vulnerability Affects +7 Million)

Stored Cross-site Scripting Vulnerability

Brainstorm Force did not explicitly say that the exploit patched was a Stored Cross-site Scripting Vulnerability. They only compared the fixed exploit to one that was patched by the Elementor page builder software.

A Stored Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability is one in which a malicious script is uploaded directly to the website. This kind of vulnerability is generally considered to be more serious than another kind of cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerability called a Reflected XSS that depends on a link being clicked.

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With a Stored XSS Vulnerability there is no need for a link to be clicked, the vulnerability exists on the affected website.

Wordfence Has Not Released Details

Wordfence has not released details of the vulnerability. As of this date, the only description of the vulnerability has been provided by Brainstorm Force as being similar to the Elementor page builder vulnerability.

But Brainstorm Force did not explicitly state that their plugin vulnerabilities are Stored XSS exploits. Only that they were similar to the Elementor vulnerability that was an XSS vulnerability.

Fixed Versions of Elementor Addons

The Elementor – Header, Footer & Blocks Template

The Elementor – Header, Footer & Blocks Template was patched on March 31, 2021 to version 1.5.8.

According to the changelog that documents what the updates contain, this update hardened it against a vulnerability.

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This is what the changelog documented: 

“1.5.8
Fix: Hardened allowed options in the editor to enforce better security policies.”

The fact that the editor needed hardening gives a clue that suggests that the vulnerability may be one that requires that a hacker have subscriber level privileges.

But this is not yet been officially confirmed at this time.

Ultimate Addons for Elementor

The Ultimate Addons for Elementor plugin was also patched on March 31, 2021 to version 1.30.0.

The reason given as to what was fixed is exactly the same as for the Elementor – Header, Footer & Blocks Template.

According to the Ultimate Addons for Elementor changelog:

“Hardened allowed options in the editor to enforce better security policies.”

Update Immediately

It is highly recommended that all publishers using these two plugins update their versions immediately.

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The latest patched versions of the software are:

  • The Elementor – Header, Footer & Blocks Template 1.5.8
  • Ultimate Addons for Elementor 1.30.0

Searchenginejournal.com

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

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