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Malicious software downloads invade WordPress

Mandatory password reset enforced

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WordPress is requiring all account holders on the WordPress.org website to change their passwords following the discovery that hackers contaminated it with malicious software.

The password reset comes after three popular plugins were found to contain “cleverly disguised backdoors” that had been uploaded by unauthorized people, rather than the legitimate authors, Matt Mullenweg, a founding developer of WordPress, blogged Tuesday. Members of the open-source blogging project reverted the plugins to their original versions, and temporarily closed the plugin repository to scour it for additional tainted software.

Mullenweg didn't say how the hackers were able to breach the security of the plugin repository or whether changes have been made to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

The plugins affected include AddThis, WPtouch, and W3 Total Cache. Users who have updated any of those titles in the past 48 hours should uninstall them and update to a version currently hosted on the WordPress.org website. Indepented WordPress developer Adam Harley has technical details of the three maliciously modified plugins here.

As a precaution, WordPress is requiring all users of the WordPress.org website to change their passwords. Mullenweg sensibly advises users to choose a pass code that's different from their previous one.

According to Sophos, the breach affects only users WordPress.org. Infrastructure for WordPress.com, which is run by a firm called Automattic, is unaffected.

In April hackers gained root access to Automattic's servers and stole sensitive code belonging to the company and its partners. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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