Cyber-Criminals Tried To Steal Database Credentials From 1.3M WordPress Sites
A large scale attack targeted hundreds of thousands of WordPress websites over the course of 24 hours, attempting to harvest database credentials by stealing config files after abusing known XSS vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes.
“Between May 29 and May 31, 2020, the Wordfence Firewall blocked over 130 million attacks intended to harvest database credentials from 1.3 million sites by downloading their configuration files.”, Wordfence QA engineer and threat analyst Ram Gall said.
“The peak of this attack campaign occurred on May 30, 2020. At this point, attacks from this campaign accounted for 75% of all attempted exploits of plugin and theme vulnerabilities across the WordPress ecosystem.”
The previously reported XSS campaigns sent attacks from over 20,000 different IP addresses. The new campaign is using the same IP addresses, which accounted for the majority of the attacks and sites targeted. This campaign is also attacking nearly a million new sites that weren’t included in the previous XSS campaigns.
As with the XSS campaigns, almost all of the attacks are targeted at older vulnerabilities in outdated plugins or themes that allow files to be downloaded or exported. In this case the attackers are attempting to download
wp-config.php, a file critical to all WordPress installations which contains database credentials and connection information, in addition to authentication unique keys and salts. An attacker with access to this file could gain access to the site’s database, where site content and users are stored.
Indicators of Compromise
Attacks by this campaign should be visible in your server logs. Look for any log entries containing
wp-config.php in the query string that returned a
200 response code.
The top 10 attacking IP addresses in this campaign are listed below.
If your server is configured to allow remote database access, an attacker with your database credentials could easily add an administrative user, exfiltrate sensitive data, or delete your site altogether. Even if your site does not allow remote database access, an attacker who knows your site’s authentication keys and salts may be able to use them to more easily bypass other security mechanisms.
If you’re not comfortable making the changes above, please contact your host, since changing your database password without updating the
wp-config.php file can temporarily take down your site.