All WP Bloggers’ Warning: Please Read or Lose Your Blog
Change your PW right away to something “unguessable” by the
super-bots or you could be shut down in this massive initiative to
control the Internet.
“These requirements are fairly typical of a secure password: upper
and lowercase letters, at least eight characters long, and including
‘special’ characters (^%$#@*).”
Was Jean Haines’ blog a victim yesterday? She says it’s something she did, but perhaps not. Just be forewarned. She advised she is fine.
Any others, like Blogspot would probably be wise to protect themselves now, too.
WordPress Blog Attacks
Security analysts have detected an ongoing attack that uses a huge
number of computers from across the Internet to commandeer servers that
run the WordPress blogging application.
The unknown people behind the highly distributed attack are using
more than 90,000 IP addresses to brute-force crack administrative
credentials of vulnerable WordPress systems, researchers from at least
three Web hosting services reported. At least one company warned that
the attackers may be in the process of building a “botnet” of infected
computers that’s vastly stronger and more destructive than those
available today. That’s because the servers have bandwidth connections
that are typically tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times faster
than botnets made of infected machines in homes and small businesses.
“These larger machines can cause much more damage in DDoS
[distributed denial-of-service] attacks because the servers have large
network connections and are capable of generating significant amounts of
traffic,” Matthew Prince, CEO of content delivery network CloudFlare,
wrote in a blog post describing the attacks.
It’s not the first time researchers have raised the specter of a
super botnet with potentially dire consequences for the Internet. In
October, they revealed that highly debilitating DDoS attacks on six of
the biggest US banks used compromised Web servers to
flood their targets with above-average amounts of Internet traffic. The
botnet came to be known as the itsoknoproblembro or Brobot, names that
came from a relatively new attack tool kit some of the infected machines
ran. If typical botnets used in DDoS attacks were the network
equivalent of tens of thousands of garden hoses trained on a target, the
Brobot machines were akin to hundreds of fire hoses. Despite their
smaller number, they were nonetheless able to inflict more damage
because of their bigger capacity.
There’s already evidence that some of the commandeered WordPress websites are being abused in a similar fashion. A blog post published
Friday by someone from Web host ResellerClub said the company’s systems
running that platform are also under an “ongoing and highly distributed
“To give you a little history, we recently heard from a major law
enforcement agency about a massive attack on US financial institutions
originating from our servers,” the blog post reported. “We did a
detailed analysis of the attack pattern and found out that most of the
attack was originating from [content management systems] (mostly
WordPress). Further analysis revealed that the admin accounts had been
compromised (in one form or the other) and malicious scripts were
uploaded into the directories.”
The blog post continued:
“Today, this attack is happening at a global level and WordPress
instances across hosting providers are being targeted. Since the attack
is highly distributed in nature (most of the IPs used are spoofed), it
is making it difficult for us to block all malicious data.”
According to CloudFlare’s Prince, the distributed attacks are
attempting to brute force the administrative portals of WordPress
servers, employing the username “admin” and 1,000 or so common
passwords. He said the attacks are coming from tens of thousands of
unique IP addresses, an assessment that squares with the finding of more than 90,000 IP addresses hitting WordPress machines hosted by HostGator.
“At this moment, we highly recommend you log into any WordPress
installation you have and change the password to something that meets
the security requirements specified on the WordPress website the
company’s Sean Valant wrote. “These requirements are fairly typical of a
secure password: upper and lowercase letters, at least eight characters
long, and including ‘special’ characters (^%$#@*).”
Operators of WordPress sites can take other measures too, including installing plugins such as this one and this one , which close some of the holes most frequently exploited in these types of attacks. Beyond that, operators can sign up for a free plan from CloudFlare that automatically blocks login attempts that bear the signature of the brute-force attack.
Already, HostGator has indicated that the strain of this mass attack
is causing huge strains on websites, which come to a crawl or go down
altogether. There are also indications that once a WordPress
installation is infected it’s equipped with a backdoor so that attackers
can maintain control even after the compromised administrative
credentials have been changed. In some respects, the WordPress attacks
resemble the mass compromise of machines running the Apache Web server,
which Ars chronicled 10 days ago .
With so much at stake, readers who run WordPress sites are strongly
advised to lock down their servers immediately. The effort may not only
protect the security of the individual site. It could help safeguard the
Internet as a whole.
Thanks to: http://2012thebigpicture.wordpress.com