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Facebook for WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Targets +500,000 Sites

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Facebook for WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Targets +500,000 Sites

Facebook for WordPress Exploit

Facebook for WordPress plugin, installed in over 500,000 websites, is a site visitor tracking plugin for advertisers that use Facebook ads. It allows advertisers to track the visitor journey and optimize their ad campaigns.

One of the exploits was discovered in December 2020. The other flaw was introduced in January 2021 as part of a rebranding and code update to the plugin.

PHP Object Injection Vulnerability

This kind of exploit depends on a flaw that inadequately sanitizes uploads which in turn allows an attacker to perform a variety of attacks such as code injection.

In this specific attack a hacker could use the compromised plugin to upload a file and proceed to a remote code execution.

The particulars of this vulnerability could also allow the attacker to take advantage of other plugins containing the vulnerability.

According to Wordfence:

“This meant that an attacker could generate a PHP file new.php in a vulnerable site’s home directory… The PHP file contents could be changed to anything… which would allow an attacker to achieve remote code execution.

Note that the presence of a full POP chain also meant that any other plugin with an object injection vulnerability, including those that did not require knowledge of the site’s salts and keys, could potentially be used to achieve remote code execution as well if it was installed on a site with the Facebook for WordPress plugin.”

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Cross-Site Request Forgery

A cross site request forgery exploit is a type that requires a victim with administrator level credentials to a WordPress site to perform an action (like click on a link) which would then lead to an attack that takes advantage of the administrators high level credentials.

An attacker could gain access to private metric data or stage a complete site takeover.

Wordfence describes it like this:

“The action could be used by an attacker to update the plugin’s settings to point to their own Facebook Pixel console and steal metric data for a site.

Worse yet, since there was no sanitization on the settings that were stored, an attacker could inject malicious JavaScript into the setting values.

These values would then be reflected on the settings page, causing the code to execute in a site administrator’s browser while accessing the settings page.

Ultimately, this code could be used to inject malicious backdoors into theme files or create new administrative user accounts that could be used for complete site takeover.”

Update Recommended

It is recommended that all users immediately update their plugin to the latest version (currently Version 3.0.5). Facebook for WordPress version 3.0.4 is fully patched but version 3.0.5 is the most up to date version of the plugin.

Citations

Two Vulnerabilities Patched in Facebook for WordPress Plugin

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Facebook for WordPress Changelog

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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

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