A critical security vulnerability, titled CVE-2023-3211, has been discovered in the WordPress Database Administrator plugin (versions 1..3 and earlier). The vulnerability could potentially allow unauthenticated attackers to exploit a SQL injection flaw and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. This vulnerability is dangerous and could lead to a higher level of risk if not addressed promptly. This long-read post will provide an in-depth analysis of the vulnerability, including code snippets, links to original references, and exploit details.

Vulnerability Details

The WordPress Database Administrator plugin, designed to assist in managing WordPress databases, is prone to a security vulnerability due to improper sanitization and escaping of user-supplied input. As a result, attackers can send specially crafted requests to the vulnerable application, causing it to execute malicious SQL commands. The issue is in the AJAX action, which is available to unauthenticated users.

To better understand the vulnerability, let's dive into the code snippet.

Code Snippet

The root cause of the vulnerability lies in the following code snippet in the wp-database-admin-ajax.php file (located in the WordPress Database Administrator plugin directory):

  // Get the data from $_REQUEST
  $data = $_REQUEST['data'];
  // Create an SQL statement using the user-supplied data
  $sql = "SELECT * FROM {$wpdb-&gt;prefix}my_table WHERE 1 {$data}";
  // Execute the SQL statement
  $results = $wpdb->get_results($sql, ARRAY_A);

The code above demonstrates that the user-supplied input received via the $_REQUEST['data'] variable is directly used in a SQL statement without proper sanitization or escaping. Consequently, an attacker can supply a specially crafted input to manipulate the SQL statement.

Exploit Details

An attacker can take advantage of the vulnerability by sending a malicious request to the target website. Below is a sample request that can be used to inject arbitrary SQL commands:

POST /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php HTTP/1.1
Host: vulnerable-website.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=UTF-8

action=my_database_action&data=AND+1%3D2 UNION SELECT 1,2,3,4,5...

This request includes a SQL injection payload (AND 1=2 UNION SELECT 1,2,3,4,5...) that adds an additional UNION SELECT statement to the SQL query. As a result, the attacker can retrieve sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, and email addresses from the WordPress database.

Original References

For more information on this vulnerability, you can refer to the original disclosure and further technical details provided by the researcher who discovered the flaw:

1. CVE-2023-3211 Official Listing
2. Vulnerability Details and Exploit POC by Researcher


The WordPress Database Administrator plugin developers have been notified of this vulnerability, and a patch has been released to address the issue. It is advised to update your plugin to the latest version (1..4 or later) to ensure protection against this exploit.


In conclusion, the CVE-2023-3211 vulnerability in the WordPress Database Administrator plugin poses a severe risk to website owners and should be addressed immediately. Be sure to stay informed about security vulnerabilities in the plugins and themes used on your WordPress site and promptly apply any updates or patches as needed. Regularly reviewing and minimizing the use of plugins can also significantly decrease the surface area for potential attacks.


Published on: 01/16/2024 16:15:11 UTC
Last modified on: 01/22/2024 19:46:53 UTC