A recent vulnerability (CVE-2023-46776) has been discovered affecting Serena Villa Auto Excerpt Everywhere WordPress plugin versions 1.5 and below. The vulnerability allows attackers to exploit a Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability present in the plugin. In this post, we will delve into the details of the vulnerability, the potential risks associated with it, and what you can do as a website administrator to mitigate those risks.

Description of the Vulnerability

The Serena Villa Auto Excerpt Everywhere plugin enables website administrators to automatically generate excerpts of their content and display them throughout the WordPress website. The plugin is widely used, and the vulnerability in question has a significant impact on a large number of WordPress websites.

What is CSRF vulnerability?

Cross-Site Request Forgery, also known as CSRF, is a type of attack on web applications that forces an end user to execute unwanted actions on a web application they are currently authenticated to. In the context of the Serena Villa Auto Excerpt Everywhere plugin, the vulnerability allows an attacker to send a specially crafted request to your WordPress website and take over your site's configuration.

In order to fix the vulnerability and reduce the risk of your website being exploited, you should

1. Update the plugin: The first and foremost step to mitigate the risk is to update the Serena Villa Auto Excerpt Everywhere plugin to the latest version, which is version 1.6. This is available on the plugin's official WordPress repository. By updating the plugin, you can close the loophole that the attackers can use to exploit your website.

2. Check for other vulnerable plugins: It is always a good practice to check if other plugins installed on your WordPress website are also vulnerable and update them if needed.

3. Implement security headers: Adding security headers to your website can help protect against CSRF attacks. The headers include "Content-Security-Policy", "X-Content-Security-Policy", and "X-WebKit-CSP." These headers can be added using a plugin, such as WP HTTP Headers, or manually through your website's .htaccess file.

4. Use strong and unique passwords: Ensure that all user accounts, especially administrator accounts, on your website have unique and strong passwords. This will prevent unauthorized access and help mitigate the risk of CSRF attacks.

5. Implement regular monitoring and auditing of your website: Regularly monitoring and auditing your WordPress website will help you identify any unusual activity that may indicate an attack.

Here’s a code snippet showing how a potentially malicious CSRF request could have been crafted to exploit the vulnerability:

  <form action="http://vulnerable-website.com/wp-admin/admin-post.php"; method="POST">
      <input type="hidden" name="action" value="save_svae_options" />
      <input type="hidden" name="excerpt_length" value="100" />
      <input type="hidden" name="custom_token" value="malicious_value" />
      <input type="submit" value="Submit request" />


The discovery of CVE-2023-46776, a CSRF vulnerability in the popular Serena Villa Auto Excerpt Everywhere WordPress plugin, serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping your website's plugins and software up-to-date. Ensure that the plugins you use on your WordPress website are regularly updated, and always remain vigilant for any signs of potential attacks. By following the best practices and mitigation measures outlined in this post, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to CSRF attacks and other vulnerabilities.


Published on: 11/06/2023 12:15:08 UTC
Last modified on: 11/14/2023 16:23:57 UTC