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How a WordPress Vulnerability (may have) brought down a Prime Minister

You might have read recently about the Panama Papers. 11 million documents, which date back decades, that allegedly reveal a clandestine network of shady business dealings from many political and public figures. Among them is Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who actually resigned due to public and political pressure over personal financial arrangements brought to light in the breach.

That’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the hack very well could have happened because of a WordPress plugin vulnerability! Read the full article here from Wordfence about how they postulate the hack went down.

Here’s your TL;DR from the article:

  • the legal firm Mossack Fonseca was hacked
  • MF ran WordPress with outdated revslider plugin
  • vulnerability in plugin allows you to get shell access to server website is running on
  • website was running on same server as email
  • vulnerability in email plugin for wordpress stored passwords OUT IN THE OPEN
  • with shell access hacker can now find email passwords and take everything from email!

Now the real TL;DR:

  • If you haven’t yet make sure you’ve installed Wordfence on your website! They’re the best.
  • Keep your plugins up to date

Maybe someone just forgot to lock the front door of the office 🙃