Just Because a WordPress Plugin You Use Has a Vulnerability It Doesn’t Mean It Got Your Website Hacked

As we have talked about recently, there is often confusion over how websites have been hacked. One issue that comes up from time to time is the claim that a WordPress plugin that contains an unfixed minor vulnerability is the source of a hack. Here is one recent claim of that:

i would strongly urge you to remove it now. My site was hacked several times before I realized it was because of this plug in. It sucks because I was unable to find a replacement and have to do it by hand.

The vulnerability that is known to exist in that plugin would allow someone logged in to WordPress with the Contributor or Author role to cause malicious JavaScript code to be included on frontend pages on the website. (Higher level-users already have the capability to do the equivalent of that.)

Unless you have an untrusted individual with access to WordPress with the Contributor or Author role, either intentionally or because someone with that level of access had their account breached, you don’t have to worry about that. So the chances of that being exploited are slim.

It’s possible that the quoted individual had that situation, but almost no websites will, so the chances of the plugin being the cause of hacks on websites is very small.

Trying to figure out how a hacked WordPress website was really hacked is a standard part of our hack cleanup process for WordPress websites. Our hack cleanups include a free lifetime subscription to our Plugin Vulnerabilities service, which includes providing fixes for unfixed plugin vulnerabilities.

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