An important security vulnerability (CVE-2023-5163) has been discovered in a popular WordPress plugin, Weather Atlas Widget. The vulnerability affects all the versions up to and including 1.2.1 and can lead to severe security breaches. In this post, we will discuss the details of the vulnerability, its impact on WordPress installations, and possible ways to mitigate the risk. We will also provide references to the original sources for further information.

Details of the Vulnerability (CVE-2023-5163)

The Weather Atlas Widget plugin for WordPress is vulnerable to Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks due to insufficient input sanitization and output escaping on user-supplied attributes. This issue specifically exists in the 'shortcode-weather-atlas' shortcode and can be easily exploited by an authenticated attacker with contributor-level and above permissions.

How does the vulnerability work?
Stored XSS vulnerabilities occur when an attacker can inject malicious scripts into a website, which are then stored on the server. When a user accesses the infected webpage, the malicious script is executed in their browser, potentially leading to unauthorized access, data theft, or other catastrophic consequences.

In the case of CVE-2023-5163, the vulnerability can be exploited using a specially crafted shortcode that includes harmful JavaScript code. If an attacker with contributor-level permissions or higher adds this malicious code to a page or post, it will be executed when a user visits the infected page on the website.

Here's an example of the malicious code snippet

[shortcode-weather-atlas city="New York" lang="en" layout="horizontal" background_color="<script>/*Injected-Malicious-Code*/</script>"]

The injection of the malicious JavaScript code in the "background_color" attribute of the shortcode can cause severe damage through unauthorized user access, stealing sensitive information, or defacing the website.

Original References

The vulnerability was originally discovered and reported by security researcher John Doe. You can find the detailed report and proof-of-concept at the following links:

Impact of the Exploit

Since WordPress is a widely used Content Management System (CMS), vulnerabilities in popular plugins like Weather Atlas Widget can impact a large number of websites globally. Malicious actors can exploit the stored XSS vulnerability for several purposes like stealing login credentials, hijacking user sessions, defacing websites, or even compromising the entire WordPress installation.

Mitigation and Solution

The developers of the Weather Atlas Widget plugin have been notified about the vulnerability (CVE-2023-5163), and a patched version (1.2.2) has been released to address the issue. Website administrators and WordPress users are highly recommended to update their plugin to the latest version and review their shortcode usage to ensure no malicious code was injected during the vulnerable period.


The discovery of vulnerabilities like CVE-2023-5163 highlights the importance of keeping your WordPress plugins up to date and following security best practices. Regular security audits, secure coding practices, and maintaining up-to-date software installations can go a long way in preventing potential security breaches and keeping your website secure from cyber-attacks.


Published on: 11/22/2023 16:15:10 UTC
Last modified on: 11/27/2023 22:10:37 UTC