Aug 15, 2012

How do you make sure that your WordPress blog is safe from the Blackhole exploit?

I got a mass email from one of our vendors warning that their WordPress blog had been compromised using the "Blackhole exploit" and that they apologized for any spam that may have been sent as a result. It didn't go into any details beyond that. We have a WordPress blog as well and I'm not sure how the Blackhole exploit works. Is this a widespread issue, and what should be done to ensure that our WordPress blog is safe?

Here's a good article that explains it in detail:

Blackhole Exploit Kit Explained and WordPress

"WordPress is a powerfully constructed open-source blogging platform whose code is openly available to the public. Criminal enterprises around the world have dedicated massive monetary resources to discover, create and exploit weaknesses in the code used to create WordPress sites. The processing capability of WordPress sites is very sophisticated, and it is WordPress’ swift, robust communication capabilities that criminals seek to control and use to disseminate malware. Malware are programs that hackers create to steal information from the Internet public. The Blackhole Exploit Kit is an emerging malware threat that has affected thousands of WordPress sites. The threat posed by the Blackhole Exploit Kit and other malware can be reduced by taking a series of preventive measures that are collectively referred to as WordPress hardening."

The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no threat from the Blackhole exploit kit to the vast majority of WordPress users that use WordPress.com.  The vulnerability only exists when WordPress software has been downloaded and installed, and the websites are self-hosted.  So if you aren't hosting you WordPress site, this is not an issue.   The current wave of attacks seems to use an email requesting that you "verify your order" by clicking a link (sounds pretty familiar, eh?).  It can look pretty legit, but, as you probably expect by this point, you click on the link, you go to a website that attempts to install malware on your system.  The classics are classics for a reason, I guess.  


If you make sure to keep everything patched, have an updated anti-virus program...and don't click on links in emails.  You shouldn't have anything to worry about.   

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