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Wednesday, 12 January 2022 11:11

Warning over increasing flaws in third-party WordPress plugins Featured

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Vulnerability intelligence, breach data and risk ratings vendor Risk Based Security has warned about the rising number of vulnerabilities in third-party WordPress plugins, pointing out that 2240 such flaws had been reported in 2021.

In a blog post, Risk Based Security said a total of 10.359 flaws were now listed for all third-party WordPress plugins, with the 2021 count rising about that of 2020 by 142%.

Of all the vulnerabilities listed, there were public exploits for 77%, the company claimed, adding that if CVSS scores were the basis for prioritisation of risk, then there was a need to p[properly triage this risk.

The post said there was a tendency for organisations to disregard this risk as the average CVSSv2 score for a third-party WordPress vulnerability was 5.5.

"For many organisations, vulnerabilities that have a CVSS severity score beneath 7.0 are often not considered a high priority and may get relegated to the backlog," the Risk Based post claimed.

"Since the average WordPress plugin issue is scored 5.5, is it safe for organisations to instantly de-prioritize these issues? The answer is no."

The post said most such flaws were exploitable, pointing out that 7592 were remotely exploitable, 7993 had a public exploit and 4797 had a public exploit but no CVE ID.

"Because of factors like exploitability and attacker location, WordPress plugin issues can pose a significant threat to organisations deploying at-risk assets, even if they may not appear 'highly critical' at first glance," Risk Based Security said.

"In addition, WordPress plugin vulnerabilities may be especially dangerous for organisations relying on CVE/NVD, since they will be unaware of 60% of issues with known public exploits."

The post said while there were 58,000 free plugins for download, few had been designed with security in mind and this meant that one vulnerability could very well end up affecting more than one plugin.

"Security teams will need to have knowledge of their assets, comprehensive vulnerability intelligence for all known issues, and detailed metadata, that allows them to examine factors like exploitability, to then contextualise the risk it poses to their environment," the post added.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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