CSRF Attack on WordPress

Someone named Ferruh has a proof-of-concept cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack against WordPress (HT: DK at BlogSecurity). I’ve tried it out successfully on my own version of WordPress 2.3.3.

The scenario is like this: you go to leave a comment on someone’s site, and surreptitiously that (evil) site tricks you into changing your WordPress admin password and emailing it to the evil site owner by clicking what appears to be a comment submission button.

WordPress guards against CSRF attacks in general by confirming actions that don’t seem quite right (i.e. when the nonces don’t check out), but this attack hides all of the confirmation message except the approval button, which appears to be part of the evil site’s comment form.

It’s very easy to imagine how this could be targeted at a user’s blog by using the URL the user enters in an evil site’s comment form. I’ve submitted a suggested solution as a WordPress Trac ticket.

How can you avoid this attack for now? Don’t stay logged in to your WordPress blog when not necessary, and change the default username (or blog under another username with just “author” permissions, and keep “admin” just for occasional site maintenance).

UPDATE: My patch has been committed to both development WordPress and the 2.3 branch, so this issue should be taken care of in the next security release.


  1. Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:10 am | Permalink

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  3. Posted January 8, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink
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    I had never heard of this earlier, WordPress is the best.

  4. Posted January 25, 2010 at 1:08 am | Permalink

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  5. Posted January 30, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

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  6. Posted March 27, 2010 at 3:46 am | Permalink
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    I had never heard of this earlier, WordPress is the best.

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  8. Posted October 5, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink
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    beautiful WordPress

  12. Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
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    I hope it’s not an issue anymore in the latest WordPress version.

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    Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity, guess I will just make this bookmarked.

  18. Posted August 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I want to stress especially the “novel” use of the onload function of img/script tags. People in the past have used it to detect the presence of different host-names/”port scanning” internal systems by vectoring through a hooked browser. I say that’s cool and all, but you can take that further and use it to detect the presence of a plugin on a target on demand, making you able to be much more sneaky. When the markup detects a plugin present on the target, it redirects the browser to the exploit, and no further requests can be made by that IP to the script.

  19. Posted September 17, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink
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