‫ WordPress Disconnects Unpatched Sites

ID: IRCNE2015012410
Date: 2015-01-26
According to “EWeek”, The risk of unpatched software is one that WordPress understands well and is taking aggressive steps to mitigate.
WordPress is a popular open-source content management and blogging system that is available in a hosted model on WordPress.com and as a self-hosted application that users can choose to host wherever they want. WordPress.com also offers the Jetpack plug-in for self-hosted WordPress users, which provides multiple services to help users manage and secure sites. WordPress is now beginning to disconnect self-hosted sites that have not updated the Jetpack plug-in.
"Last spring, we discovered a vulnerability in Jetpack and have been hard at work helping users update their sites to a secure version," WordPress wrote in an email sent to affected site administrators. "Your site has been running an old, highly insecure version (1.9.2) of the Jetpack plugin. To keep your site secure, we have disconnected it from WordPress.com."
The Jetpack 1.9 plug-in was first released in October 2012 and has been updated multiple times since. In April 2014, the Jetpack 2.9.3 update was released, providing a critical security update that fixed a vulnerability that impacted all versions of Jetpack from 1.9 and up. The vulnerability could have potentially enabled an attacker to bypass access controls and publish unauthorized posts.
Jetpack is a particularly valuable plug-in for self-hosted WordPress users in that it provides statistics, social media and site management features. More specifically on the security front, the Jetpack 3.3 update, which was released on Dec. 16, 2014, enables users to manage plug-in updates automatically.  That is, with Jetpack 3.3 installed on a self-hosted WordPress CMS, a site administrator can choose to enable a feature that will automatically keep the self-hosted site's plug-ins updated.
The risk of outdated WordPress plug-ins is nontrivial. In December 2014, more than 100,000 WordPress sites were infected with the SoakSoak malware by way of an unpatched vulnerable plug-in.
WordPress has taken steps to help keep the core WordPress application updated as well. Starting with the WordPress 3.7 update that came out in October 2013, self-hosted WordPress sites are automatically updated to fix critical security vulnerabilities in WordPress.


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