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Security Update Alert on Woocommerce versions 3.3 to 5.5 on July 15, 2021

Update Woocommerce to the latest version (5.5.1) or the highest number possible

There has been a critical vulnerability identified in WooCommerce (versions 3.3 to 5.5) and the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin (versions 2.5 to 5.5).

What actions should I take with my store?

Stores hosted on WordPress.com and WordPress VIP have already been secured. We are working with the WordPress.org Plugin Team to automatically update as many stores as possible to secure versions of WooCommerce. We also urge you, however, to take the following added precautions to safeguard your site:

Update your copy of WooCommerce to the latest version (5.5.1) or the highest number possible in your release branch.If you are running the WooCommerce Blocks feature plugin, you’ll need to update it to the latest version (5.5.1).

What does this mean for my store?

Woocommerce is still investigating this vulnerability, but we wanted to let you know now about the importance of updating immediately.

Woocommerce will be sharing more information with site owners on how to investigate this security vulnerability on their site, which we will publish on our blog when it is ready. If a store was affected, the exposed information will be specific to what that site is storing but could include order, customer, and administrative information.

Woocommerce Vulnerability Email Update Today

Is WooCommerce still safe to use?

Yes, it is safe to use.

Incidents like this are rare but do unfortunately sometimes happen. But the team behind the plugin will ensure an update with a security patch release once found.

Since learning of the vulnerability, the Woocommerce team has worked around the clock to ensure that a fix has been put in place, and our users have been informed.

On April 8, 2021, the Wordfence Threat Intelligence team initiated the responsible disclosure process for several vulnerabilities discovered in Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks, a WordPress plugin installed on over 300,000 sites. One of these flaws made it possible for unauthenticated users to update redirects for the site allowing an attacker to redirect all site traffic to an external malicious site. In addition, there were several remaining flaws that made it possible for authenticated users to perform actions like installing and activating plugins, in addition to less critical actions.

We initially reached out to the plugin’s developer on April 8, 2021. After establishing an appropriate communication channel, we provided the full disclosure details on April 11, 2021. An initial patch was released on April 15, 2021, and a fully patched version of the plugin was released on May 5, 2021 as version 2.0.4.

Some of these vulnerabilities are considered critical. Therefore, we highly recommend updating to the latest patched version available, 2.0.4, immediately.

Wordfence Premium users received a firewall rule to protect against any exploits targeting these vulnerabilities on April 8, 2021. Sites still using the free version of Wordfence received the same protection on May 8, 2021.

Description: Unauthenticated Redirect Import/Export (Allowing Total Site Redirection)
Affected Plugin: Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks
Plugin Slug: simple-301-redirects
Affected Versions: 2.0.0 – 2.0.3
CVE IDS: CVE-2021-24352CVE-2021-24353
CVSS Score: 9.9 (CRITICAL)
CVSS Vector: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/C:L/I:L/A:H
Researcher/s: Chloe Chamberland
Fully Patched Version: 2.0.4

Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks is a simple plugin designed to create 301 redirects on WordPress sites. In version 2.0.0 of the plugin, they introduced several new features and made additional enhancements. One of the features they introduced in the update was the ability to import and export redirects. Unfortunately, this functionality was insecurely implemented.

The developer registered two admin_init action hooks to the following functions: import_data and export_data. Neither of the corresponding functions had capability checks or nonce checks making it possible for users without the proper authorization to trigger the execution of the functions.

class Tools { 
   public function __construct()
   {
       add_action('admin_init', [$this, 'export_data']);
       add_action('admin_init', [$this, 'import_data']);
       add_action('wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/get_import_info', [$this, 'get_import_info']);
   }

The hook in use was an admin_init action, which made it possible for any user, regardless of authentication, to trigger the functions. This is because admin_init action hooks can be initialized via the /wp-admin/admin-post.php endpoint. This endpoint is accessible to both authenticated and unauthenticated users.

The export_data function could be used to export redirects, which could potentially reveal sensitive information, however, exploitation of this function would not be nearly as severe as the vulnerability within the import_data function. The import_data function takes the file contents supplied by a user and then uses the contents of the file to import a list of redirects.

public function import_data()
{
    $page = isset($_GET['page']) ? $_GET['page'] : '';
    $import = isset($_GET['import']) ? $_GET['import'] : false;
    if ($page === '301options' && $import == true) {
        if (!empty($_FILES['upload_file']['tmp_name'])) {
            $fileContent = json_decode(file_get_contents($_FILES['upload_file']['tmp_name']), true);
            if (!empty($fileContent)) {
                $results = $this->process_data($fileContent);
                $_SESSION['simple_301_redirects_import_info'] = json_encode($results);
            } 
        }
    }
}

An attacker could use this to set redirects that would deny access to a vulnerable WordPress site, causing a loss of availability, and/or redirect site visitors to malicious sites to further infect the victims’ computers.

Description: Authenticated Arbitrary Plugin Installation/Activation
Affected Plugin: Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks
Plugin Slug: simple-301-redirects
Affected Versions: 2.0.0 – 2.0.3
CVE IDS:CVE-2021-24354CVE-2021-24356
CVSS Score: 7.4 (HIGH)
CVSS Vector:CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:L/I:L/A:L
Researcher/s: Chloe Chamberland
Fully Patched Version: 2.0.4

In addition to the newly implemented import functionality, the updated version of the plugin also implemented a function to install other plugins they have developed, such as BetterLinks, via a prompt in the wp-admin dashboard. In order to provide this functionality, the plugin registered the AJAX action wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/install_plugin, which was hooked to the install_plugin function.

add_action('wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/activate_plugin', [$this, 'activate_plugin']);

The install_plugin function could be used to install any plugin from the WordPress repository by supplying the desired plugin’s name as the ‘slug’ parameter. This function did not have a capability check to verify that the action was triggered by an authenticated user, though it did have a nonce check.

public function install_plugin()
{
    check_ajax_referer('wp_rest', 'security');
    $slug = isset($_POST['slug']) ? $_POST['slug'] : '';
    $result = \Simple301Redirects\Helper::install_plugin($slug);
    if (is_wp_error($result)) {
        wp_send_json_error($result->get_error_message());
    }
    wp_send_json_success(__('Plugin is installed successfully!', 'simple-301-redirects'));
    wp_die();
}

Unfortunately, this nonce check used the wp_rest action for validation. Due to the fact that this is effectively a REST-API nonce, a user could generate a valid nonce using the rest-nonce AJAX action that is a part of WordPress core and open to any authenticated user. This made it possible for a user to pass the nonce validation and use the plugin installation function.

In addition, an authenticated user could activate the installed plugin, or any other plugin installed on the site, by using the wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/activate_plugin AJAX endpoint hooked to the activate_plugin function.

public function activate_plugin()
{
    check_ajax_referer('wp_rest', 'security');
    $basename = isset($_POST['basename']) ? $_POST['basename'] : '';
    $result = activate_plugin($basename, '', false );
    if (is_wp_error($result)) {
        wp_send_json_error($result->get_error_message());
    }
    if ($result === false) {
        wp_send_json_error(__('Plugin couldn\'t be activated.', 'simple-301-redirects'));
    }
    wp_send_json_success(__('BetterLinks is activated!', 'simple-301-redirects'));
    wp_die();

These functions would make it possible for an authenticated attacker to install and activate any plugin from the WordPress repository, potentially one with a more severe vulnerability, that could be used to further infect and escalate privileges on the vulnerable site.

Description: Authenticated Wildcard Activation and Retrieval
Affected Plugin: Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks
Plugin Slug: simple-301-redirects
Affected Versions: 2.0.0 – 2.0.3
CVE ID:CVE-2021-24355
CVSS Score: 4.3 (MEDIUM)
CVSS Vector: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:L/A:N
Researcher/s: Chloe Chamberland
Fully Patched Version: 2.0.4

In addition to installing and activating plugins, an authenticated user could trigger the wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/wildcard and wp_ajax_simple301redirects/admin/get_wildcard AJAX actions that could be used to set the “wildcard” value, used to control how broadly redirects are applied, to anarbitrary value, and retrieve the current value of the wildcard.

The corresponding functions to these action hooks, get_wildcard and wildcard, had no capability checks and suffered from the same nonce flaw as the arbitrary plugin installation and activation AJAX functions.

Disclosure Timeline

April 8, 2021 – Conclusion of the plugin analysis that led to the discovery of several vulnerabilities in the Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks plugin. We develop firewall rules to protect Wordfence customers and release them to Wordfence Premium users. We initiate contact with the plugin developer.
April 11, 2021 – The plugin developer confirms the inbox for handling discussion.
April 12 , 2021 – We send over full disclosure details.
April 15, 2021 – The plugin developer releases an initial set of patches. We review the patches and determine some protection is still missing. We follow-up with the developer to inform them of what still needs to be fixed.
April 18, 2021 – An additional patch is released.
April 19, 2021 – We analyze the patch and determine it is still missing some protection so we follow-up again to inform them what is missing.
April 21, 2021 – The developer confirms they will be working on the remaining fixes.
May 4, 2021 – We follow-up to check on the status of the patches, the developer confirms that they will be released shortly.
May 5, 2021 – A newly updated version of Simple 301 Redirects is released containing sufficient patches.
May 8, 2021 – Free Wordfence users receive firewall rules.

Conclusion

In today’s post, we detailed several flaws in Simple 301 Redirects by BetterLinks that granted unauthenticated attackers the ability to redirect all of a site’s visitors to an external malicious site, in addition to allowing authenticated attackers the ability to install and activate arbitrary plugins. These flaws have been fully patched in version 2.0.4. We recommend that users immediately update to the latest version available, which is version 2.0.4 at the time of this publication.

Wordfence Premium users received a firewall rule to protect against any exploits targeting these vulnerabilities on April 8, 2021. Sites still using the free version of Wordfence received the same protection on May 8, 2021.

If you know a friend or colleague who is using this plugin on their site, we highly recommend forwarding this advisory to them to help keep their sites protected as these are severe vulnerabilities that can lead to full site takeover.