March 22, 2023
Wordpress Under Attack: How To Avoid The Coming Botnet

Wordfence researchers spotted a massive wave of attacks in the days that are targeting over 1.6 million WordPress sites from 16,000 IPs.

Our Threat Intelligence team noticed a drastic uptick in attacks targeting vulnerabilities that make it possible for attackers to update arbitrary options on vulnerable sites. This led us into an investigation which uncovered an active attack targeting over a million WordPress sites. Over the past 36 hours, the Wordfence network has blocked over 13.7 million attacks targeting four different plugins and several Epsilon Framework themes across over 1.6 million sites and originating from over 16,000 different IP addresses.


The attacks are originating from 16,000 IP addresses and are targeting four WordPress plugins and fifteen Epsilon Framework themes

Below is the list of affected plugins:

  • PublishPress Capabilities <= 2.3
  • Kiwi Social Plugin <= 2.0.10
  • Pinterest Automatic <= 4.14.3
  • WordPress Automatic <= 3.53.2

While the targeted Epsilon Framework themes are:

  • Shapely <=1.2.8
  • NewsMag <=2.4.1
  • Activello <=1.4.1
  • Illdy <=2.1.6
  • Allegiant <=1.2.5
  • Newspaper X <=1.3.1
  • Pixova Lite <=2.0.6
  • Brilliance <=1.2.9
  • MedZone Lite <=1.2.5
  • Regina Lite <=2.0.5
  • Transcend <=1.1.9
  • Affluent <1.1.0
  • Bonkers <=1.0.5
  • Antreas <=1.0.6
  • NatureMag Lite – No patch known. Recommended to uninstall from site.

Below are the top 10 offending IPs observed:

  • with 430,067 attacks blocked.
  • with 277,111 attacks blocked.
  • with 274,574 attacks blocked.
  • with 216,888 attacks blocked.
  • with 205,143 attacks blocked.
  • with 194,979 attacks blocked.
  • with 192,778 attacks blocked.
  • with 181,508 attacks blocked.
  • with 158,873 attacks blocked.
  • with 153,350 attacks blocked.

The threat actors are enabling the users_can_register option and setting the default role option to administrator. Then the attackers can register on any site as an administrator and take over the site.

Site admins could determine if their site has been compromised by reviewing the user accounts on the site to determine if there are any unauthorized user accounts. Indicators of compromise include the presence of a vulnerable version of any of the above plugins or themes along with the presence of a rogue user account.


Researchers recommend removing any rogue accounts and updating your plugins and themes as soon as possible. Experts also recommend reviewing the settings in http://examplesite[.]com/wp-admin/options-general.php page focusing on Membership` and `New User Default Role` settings.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: