Over 162,000 WordPress Sites Abused to Perform DDoS Attack

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Over 162,000 WordPress Sites Abused to Perform DDoS Attack – Freedom Hacker

Recently over 162,000 websites using WordPress were orchestrated to perform a large scale DDoS attack. The popular content management system, WordPress, a free blogging platform, was found to have a hole letting hackers abuse the system. The recent vulnerability allowed hackers to exploit WordPress, and not even need to compromise the website or system it was using.

Recently, Sucuri, a large scale hacking clean up team reported WordPress sites could be abused through vulnerability (CVE-2013-0235), known as Pingback Denial of Service possibility The attack exploited issues with the XML-RPC (XML remote procedure call) on WordPress. This allows blogs to ping back and track back other websites where ones content may be linked. It allows any blog to initiate pingback and trackback requests through WordPress.

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“Any WordPress site with XML-RPC enabled (which is on by default) can be used in DDoS attacks against other sites,” Sucuri researcher states in the blog post. The XML-RPC feature has been a security vulnerability in the past, but remains a default feature in WordPress updates. It allows blogs to pingback and communicate with each others content.

If you own a WordPress website you may be susceptible to the exploit. To check if you site is vulnerable, or participated in the large scale DDoS attack brought on through the exploit, Suciri has a free WordPress DDoS scanner. Disabling the pingback functionality on your WordPress blog can also block the exploit. To completely disable the XML-RPC functionality, add the following code into your WordPress theme.

add_filter( ‘xmlrpc_methods’, function( $methods ) {
unset( $methods[‘pingback.ping’] );
return $methods;
} );

DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) have been a long lasting method that hackers use to take down websites. A hacker will have large servers, or many computers visit/attack a website all at one time. The large amount of visitors at one time initially overloads the server turning it offline. When high trafficked websites are turned offline, hundreds of thousands of users can be inconvenienced, causing the website to loose possible customers. Not to long ago, Cloudflare battled the largest DDoS attack in history scaling at 400Gb/s.

About Author

Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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