Hackers Are Exploiting WordPress Tools to Hawk Scams

"If you've visited a website in recent days and been randomly redirected to the same pages with sketchy "resources" or unwanted ads, it's likely the site in question was 1) built with WordPress tools and 2) hacked," reports Gizmodo. Details come from this blog post by researchers at Sucuri (a security provider owned by GoDaddy): As outlined in our latest hacked website report, we've been tracking a long-lasting campaign responsible for injecting malicious scripts into compromised WordPress websites. This campaign leverages known vulnerabilities in WordPress themes and plugins and has impacted an enormous number of websites over the year — for example, according to PublicWWW, the April wave for this campaign was responsible for nearly 6,000 infected websites alone. Since these PublicWWW results only show detections for simple script injections, we can assume that the scope is significantly larger. We recently investigated a number of WordPress websites complaining about unwanted redirects. Interestingly enough, they were found to be related to a new wave of this massive campaign and were sending website visitors through a series of website redirects to serve them unwanted ads. The websites all shared a common issue — malicious JavaScript had been injected within their website's files and the database, including legitimate core WordPress files... This JavaScript was appended under the current script or under the head of the page where it was fired on every page load, redirecting site visitors to the attacker's destination.... Domains at the end of the redirect chain may be used to load advertisements, phishing pages, malware, or even more redirects.... At the time of writing, PublicWWW has reported 322 websites impacted by this new wave... Considering that this count doesn't include obfuscated malware or sites that have not yet been scanned by PublicWWW, the actual number of impacted websites is likely much higher. Our team has seen an influx in complaints for this specific wave of the massive campaign targeting WordPress sites beginning May 9th, 2022, which has impacted hundreds of websites already at the time of writing.... We expect the hackers will continue registering new domains for this ongoing campaign as soon as existing ones become blacklisted. "It's important to note that these hacks are related to themes and plugins built by thousands of third-party developers using the open source WordPress software, not WordPress.com, which offers hosting and tools to build websites," Gizmodo points out. But this also cite this warning from Sucuri malware analyst Krasimir Konov: "This page tricks unsuspecting users into subscribing to push notifications from the malicious site. If they click on the fake CAPTCHA, they'll be opted in to receive unwanted ads even when the site isn't open — and ads will look like they come from the operating system, not from a browser," Konov wrote.

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