Feeds

WordPress bug resets admin password

Fixed for now

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

This story was updated to correct details of the bug. It allows attackers to reset passwords, but not take over accounts.

Developers of the widely used WordPress blogging software have released an update that fixes a vulnerability that let attackers reset the administrator password.

The bug in version 2.8.3 is trivial to exploit remotely using nothing more than a web browser and a specially manipulated link. Using the special URL, the old password is removed and a new one generated in its place with no confirmation required, according to this alert published on the Full-Disclosure mailing list.

The flaw lurks in some of the PHP code that fails to properly scrutinize user input when the password reset feature is invoked. Exploiting it is as easy is directing a web browser to a link that looks something like:

http://domain_name.tld/wp-login.php?action=rp&key[]=

According to WordPress documentation here, the bug has been fixed by changing a single line of code so the program checks to make sure the input supplied for the new password isn't an array. If it is, the user gets an error message and must try again. After this article was first published, version 2.8.4 was released.

That would appear to be the end of it, but security researchers Rafal Los and Mike Bailey wonder aloud here whether it would have made more sense to check instead whether the input is a string.

"Hasty coding?" he asks. "Why take the blacklist vs. whitelist approach?"

After this article was first published, WordPress documentation showed the suggestion from Los and Bailey was being formally adopted.

The bigger point he and other observers seem to make is that PHP is the coding equivalent of an everyman's jet pack. It allows him to quickly soar into the sky with a minimal amount of training but doesn't necessarily provide the means to check for buildings, planes or other hazards that may greet the user once he gets there.

Of course, all languages are only as good as the person using them. But it's worth posing such questions to anything that's standing between your website and the people out to get it.

Additional details and analysis from Sans and Heise here and here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.