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WordPress Cache Plugin Exploit Affects +1 Million Websites

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Popular WordPress plugin WP Fastest Cache plugin was discovered by Jetpack security researchers to have multiple vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to assume full administrator privileges. The exploits affect over a million WordPress installations.

WP Fastest Cache Plugin Vulnerabilities Description

WP Fastest Cache is a WordPress plugin used by over a million WordPress websites. The plugin creates a static HTML version of the website.

There are multiple vulnerabilities that were discovered:

  • Authenticated SQL Injection
  • Stored XSS via Cross-Site Request Forgery

Authenticated SQL Injection

The Authenticated SQL Injection allows a logged-in users to access administrator level information through the database.

A SQL Injection vulnerability is an attack that’s directed at the database, which is where the website elements, including passwords, are stored.

A successful SQL Injection attack could lead to a full website takeover.

The Jetpack security bulletin described the seriousness of the vulnerability:

“If exploited, the SQL Injection bug could grant attackers access to privileged information from the affected site’s database (e.g., usernames and hashed passwords).

It can only be exploited if the classic-editor plugin is also installed and activated on the site.”

Stored XSS via Cross-Site Request Forgery

XSS (Cross-site Scripting) vulnerabilities is a somewhat common vulnerability that results from a flaw in how inputs to the website are validated. Anywhere a user can input something to a website, like a contact form, can be vulnerable to an XSS attack if the input isn’t sanitized.

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Sanitized means to restrict what can be uploaded to a limited expected input, like text and not scripts or commands. A flawed input allows an attacker to inject malicious scripts that can then be used to attack users who visit the site, like the administrator, and do things like download malicious files to their browser or intercept their credentials.

Cross Site Request Forgery is when an attacker tricks a user, like a logged-in administrator, to visit the site and execute various actions.

These vulnerabilities depend on the classic-editor plugin being installed and that the attacker has some kind of user authentication, which makes it harder to exploit.

But these vulnerabilities are still serious and Jetpack recommends users upgraded their plugin to at least version 0.95 of WP Fastest Cache.

WP Fastest Cache version 0.95 was released on October 14, 2021.

According to Jetpack:

“If exploited, the SQL Injection bug could grant attackers access to privileged information from the affected site’s database (e.g., usernames and hashed passwords).

Successfully exploiting the CSRF & Stored XSS vulnerability could enable bad actors to perform any action the logged-in administrator they targeted is allowed to do on the targeted site.”

Jetpack Security Research Warning

The security researchers at Jetpack recommend that all users of WP Fastest Cache WordPress plugin updated their plugin right away.

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The Jetpack security researchers posted:

“We recommend that you check which version of the WP Fastest Cache plugin your site is using, and if it is less than 0.9.5, update it as soon as possible!”

Citation

Read the Jetpack Security Announcement About WP Fastest Cache Plugin

Multiple Vulnerabilities in WP Fastest Cache Plugin

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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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Searchenginejournal.com

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