An Interesting New Twist on WordPress Site Hijacking

This story reads like fiction.  OK, not great fiction, but this story illustrates another way that WordPress websites can be hijacked and used to promote a cyber scam.

WordPress websites are often hijacked so a phisher can host their landing page on a site that does not lead back to them.  And WordPress sites can be interesting targets for other cyber-criminals who export the user name and password database for cracking and sale on the Dark Web.

In this case, the cyber scammer actually paid $15,000 to the developer of a popular WordPress plugin “Display Widgets.”  After modifying the plugin code, he pushed an update to WordPress sites using the plugin.  The new code posted spam messages promoting a payday loan business that he also owned.

This guy had already purchased and modified other plugins from other developers including the “404 to 301” plugin.  The full story is available on the WordFence blog, and I encourage you to click over for a read.

The important take-away here is that even if you are doing everything possible to secure your website, it can be compromised as the result of another person’s business decision to sell their software to another company.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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