Last week some 100,000 WordPress websites were compromised due to a vulnerability in a couple of the available (and popular) plugins. The name of the plugins are RevSlider (Slider Revolution) and Showbiz Pro. The bug has allowed the websites using outdated versions of these plugins to be infected with malware and allows hackers access to and control of the websites.

The error is present in all versions of RevSlider code versions earlier than 4.2, which was released in February of 2014. Additionally, all Showbiz Pro versions earlier than 1.5.3 are affected, but the patch to correct the bug was released in January of 2014.

However, please realize that even if you didn’t download these products directly, your website could still be at risk. These two plugins were very popular and as a result were commonly used in WordPress themes. The potential exists for your theme to be using an outdated version of code that could leave your website and business susceptible to an attack.

What Actually Happens During the Attack Process?

For an overview of the attack, understand that there are essentially three phases: discovery, exploitation, and injection. The software that facilitates the attack is a Russian program by the name of SoakSoak. During the discovery phase, the attacker scans your website to look for the files containing the vulnerability. If the hacker is able to locate the files, they next take advantage of the vulnerability by uploading a malicious theme to the site that gives them temporary access. Finally the attacker creates a way to continually access your website (even if you change usernames and passwords) using the well-known Filesman backdoor.

Keeping Your Website Up to Date and Properly Maintained

Unbelievably, many of the 100,000 compromised websites could have been easily protected. Many people choose to be lax with their website maintenance and failed to update their plugins months after the patches were released. How ridiculous!

Financial and Trustworthiness Losses

Certainly you've heard this before: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Websites from a variety of industries experienced disruption that caused massive financial losses. Which costs more? Hiring an affordable industry expert to maintain your website or losing revenue, sensitive customer information, username and passwords, and private financial information as a result of an online attack?

How to Protect Yourself from the Next Attack

At Red Canoe Media, we specialize in maintaining WordPress websites. Our backup and maintenance program will ensure that your website is patched against the latest cyber security threats and vulnerabilities. These days the internet evolves so fast that no one can truly predict where the next threat will come from. However, proper website maintenance can minimize your risk to new attacks or in the case of the RevSlider vulnerability, completely avoid being exploited with regular updates. If anything should go wrong in the future, we also produce a backup copy of your website to minimize downtime and loss of revenue.

Read more about our WordPress backup & maintenance program

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.