While examining the plugin during the testing phase, we uncovered a vulnerability that enables the execution of Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks, accomplished by incorporating a shortcode into a new post. This vulnerability has the potential to lead to the compromise of user accounts, particularly those of contributors.

Main info:

PluginSimple Posts Ticker
Publicly PublishedSeptember 25, 2023
Last UpdatedSeptember 25, 2023
ResearcherDmtirii Ignatyev
OWASP TOP-10A7: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
ExploitWill be later
Reference https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2023-4646
Plugin Security Certification by CleanTalk


August 18, 2023Plugin testing and vulnerability detection in the Simple Posts Ticker plugin have been completed
August 18, 2023I contacted the author of the plugin and provided a vulnerability PoC with a description and recommendations for fixing
September 18, 2023The author has released a fix update
September 25, 2023Registered CVE-2023-4646

Discovery of the Vulnerability

While conducting an extensive plugin security assessment, a critical vulnerability was uncovered in the Simple Posts Ticker plugin. Specifically, this vulnerability allows an attacker to execute Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks by utilizing a shortcode within a new post. Importantly, this flaw can be exploited by contributors or users with higher privileges and could potentially lead to unauthorized account access.

Understanding of Stored XSS attack’s

Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a type of security vulnerability where malicious scripts are inserted into a web application and stored for later execution when accessed by other users. In the context of this vulnerability, attackers can leverage shortcodes to store and execute malicious JavaScript code.

Exploiting the Stored XSS

Exploiting the Stored XSS vulnerability within the Simple Posts Ticker plugin necessitates the insertion of malicious code within a shortcode by an attacker with contributor-level or higher privileges. The inserted code can include payloads designed to steal user data, impersonate users, or execute actions on behalf of the compromised contributor account. Attackers can create deceptive posts that, when viewed, execute the malicious script.

POC shortcode:

[spt-posts-ticker label_text_size='” onmouseover=”alert(/XSS/)”‘ label_text=”123123″]

This is shortcode which you can add to new post

Despite requiring contributor-level privileges, CVE-2023-4646 poses significant risks. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability can:

  • Execute arbitrary code within the context of other users’ browsers.
  • Steal sensitive data like cookies or session information.
  • Gain unauthorized access to the compromised contributor’s account.
  • Impersonate contributors to perform malicious actions on the website.

In a real-world scenario, envision an attacker leveraging this vulnerability to compromise a contributor’s account on a website employing the Simple Posts Ticker plugin. By embedding a malicious shortcode in a seemingly innocuous post, they can execute an XSS attack on anyone who views the manipulated content. This could result in unauthorized account access, data breaches, and damage to the website’s reputation.

Recommendations for Improved Security

To mitigate the risks posed by CVE-2023-4646 and bolster the overall security of WordPress websites utilizing the Simple Posts Ticker plugin, consider the following recommendations:

  • Plugin updates: Ensure the Simple Posts Ticker plugin is kept up to date, specifically to version 1.1.6 or later, which should contain a patch addressing this vulnerability.
  • Input validation and sanitization: Developers should implement rigorous input validation and data sanitization to prevent the injection of malicious code through shortcodes or other user inputs.
  • Least privilege principle: Restrict the capabilities and permissions of contributors and other user roles to minimize the potential impact of a compromised account.
  • Routine security assessments: Regularly conduct security audits and penetration testing to proactively identify and address vulnerabilities.
  • User education: Educate contributors and administrators about potential security threats and best practices for securely using and managing plugins and shortcodes.

By adhering to these recommendations, website administrators can significantly reduce the risk of Stored XSS attacks and enhance the overall security posture of their WordPress installations, even for vulnerabilities that may require contributor-level privileges.

#WordPressSecurity #StoredXSS #WebsiteSafety #StayProtected #HighVulnerability

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CVE-2023-4646 – Simple Posts Ticker < 1.1.6 - Contributor + Stored XSS via shortcode

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