A critical vulnerability has been identified in the widely-used Simple:Press plugin for WordPress (versions up to and including 6.8), which could have severe security implications if exploited. The issue, designated as CVE-2022-4029, allows unauthenticated attackers to execute arbitrary web scripts via a reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. The vulnerability is present in the 'sforum_[md5 hash of the WordPress URL]' cookie value and stems from insufficient input sanitization and output escaping.

In this post, we will provide an in-depth look into the vulnerability, the steps to exploit it, and the potential impacts of successful exploitation. We will also discuss possible mitigation strategies and provide links to original references for further information.

Code Snippet

The primary source of the vulnerability lies in the handling of the 'sforum_[md5 hash of the WordPress URL]' cookie value. The value of this cookie is used without proper sanitization in the plugin, making it possible for attackers to inject malicious scripts that execute when a user interacts with a crafted link. The relevant code snippet is as follows:

// Simple:Press Plugin - Code Snippet
$cookie_value = esc_attr($_COOKIE['sforum_'.md5(get_site_url())]);
echo '<div id="spMainContainer">'.sp_render_group_tags($cookie_value).'</div>';

Exploit Details

Executing this attack requires a high level of complexity, as the perpetrator must first set the 'sforum_[md5 hash of the WordPress URL]' cookie with a malicious payload for the targeted user. The attacker can then craft a link that lures the victim into performing a specific action, such as clicking on the link. When the user clicks on the link, the arbitrary script will be executed, leading to undesired consequences.

To better illustrate the exploit, let's consider the following hypothetical scenario

1. Attacker crafts a malicious URL with an embedded script that sets the 'sforum_[md5 hash of the WordPress URL]' cookie on the victim's browser.
2. Attacker sends the crafted URL to the victim while posing as a trustworthy source (e.g., via email, social networking, or messaging platforms).

4. When the victim visits the affected WordPress site with the Simple:Press plugin installed, the malicious script is executed.

It's important to note that even though the complexity of this exploit is high, malicious actors who are successful in executing it can potentially gain unauthorized access to sensitive information, perform unauthorized actions on behalf of the victim, or even compromise the security and integrity of the affected WordPress site.

Original References

- CVE-2022-4029: Vulnerability Details and Mitigation
- Simple:Press WordPress Plugin: Official Website

Mitigation and Recommendations

To protect against CVE-2022-4029, it's crucial to keep the Simple:Press plugin up-to-date with the latest released version, as the plugin developers may have addressed the vulnerability in newer updates. In addition, consider the following recommendations to enhance the security of your WordPress site:

Regularly review and update all installed plugins, themes, and the WordPress core.

- Restrict access to sensitive parts of your WordPress site and enforce strong authentication mechanisms.
- Educate users about the risks associated with clicking on suspicious links, especially those received through email or messaging platforms.

Stay informed about the latest security vulnerabilities and threats to mitigate the risks and protect your WordPress site and users from potential cyberattacks.


Published on: 11/29/2022 21:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 12/01/2022 18:39:00 UTC