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WordPress Hidden Link Injection Repair

WordPress's Hidden Link Injection Attack has become a concern for many users who use WordPress every day. For those unfamiliar with this issue, the attack inserts links into the files of the active WordPress themes, mainly pointing to adult profiles elsewhere on the web. These links are completely hidden, so you may never know them or understand your visitors. But search engine spiders will certainly select them – and will therefore punish you.

to see if your WordPress installation has been compromised easily. Just look at the source of your homepage and find any code that doesn't belong. Check the top and bottom of the file near, as this is where I found the hidden link exists. They are also usually included in HTML comments.

<u><a href = https: // depth = 1 &#038; amp; hl = en &#038; amp; ie = UTF8 &#038; amp; prev = _t &#038; amp; rurl = &#038; amp; sl = en &#038; amp; sp = nmt4 &#038; amp; tl = en &#038; amp; u = http: //;xid=17259,1500004,15700022,15700105,15700124,15700149,15700168,15700173,15700186,15700201 &#038; amp; usg = ALkJrhiTj08R1wnWdyzQmY4bon9Nyhb_CQ> Some website 1 </a> <a href = https: // depth = 1 &#038; amp; hl = en &#038; amp; ie = UTF8 &#038; amp; prev = _t &#038; amp; rurl = &#038; amp; sl = en &#038; amp; sp = nmt4 &#038; amp; tl = en &#038; amp; u = http: //;xid=17259,1500004,15700022,15700105,15700124,15700149,15700168,15700173,15700186,15700201 &#038; amp; usg = ALkJrhiTj08R1wnWdyzQmY4bon9Nyhb_CQ> Some website 2 </a> &#8230; &lt;a href = Depth = 1&amp;amp; hl = en&amp;amp;that is = UTF8&amp;amp; prev = _t&amp;amp; rurl =;amp; sl = en&amp;amp; sp = nmt4&amp;amp; tl = en&amp;amp; u =;amp; xid = 17259,1500004,15700022,15700105,15700124,15700149,15700168,15700 </u> <u> 173,15700186,15700201&amp;amp; usg = ALkJrhiTj08R1wnWdyzQmY4bon9Nyhb_CQ&gt;Some sites n </a></u>

If you see such code, it is probable that you are hidden by WordPress Link injection attack victims.

How do they do this?
Again, there is a security vulnerability in WordPress version 2.8.x that allows external users to hijack the /wp-admin/upload.php file and insert files on the server that may have been used for various malicious purposes. One of the goals is to hide the link injection. WordPress 2.9 fixed this bug, however, a simple upgrade is not enough. External users will no longer be able to hijack upload.php, but the files they have inserted will still be coordinated attacks.

This is why simply deleting the link from header.php or footer.php (where I see the link) is not enough. You will notice that the link will reappear. We must now treat this disease, not just symptoms.

Problem solving
First, always keep your WordPress installation up to date! It will not be easier to update. Just click on the alert shown at the top of the dashboard and follow the instructions. It takes text 10 seconds.

Next, change the password for the admin WordPress user. Also change your MySQL user's password.

Finally, find the file that the vulnerability has inserted by upload.php. I found two separate instances of these two files, all located in the wp-includes folder. Check the permissions of each file in wp-includes and investigate any files with 777 permissions (this is your first clue, stating certain errors). The class-rss.php and feed-atom2.php are the cause of the two files I have seen. Cleverly named files. These two files are not native files in the WordPress code library and can be safely deleted. If you open these files and know some PHP, you will find these files are definitely the culprit.

These steps should protect your WordPress installation from hidden link injection attacks.

Staying vigilant
Just because we have solved this problem does not guarantee that you will be immune forever. Hackers are always looking for updates and better ways to crack something. WordPress is very good at fixing security problems, but someone in some place will attack the guinea pig – and then report it to WordPress.

A great plug-in I started with is the WordPress File Monitor. This plugin will scan your WordPress installation and report if any files have been added, deleted or changed. The plug-in can be customized to run on the schedule you set. You can also exclude the directory from the plug-in's report so that you won't receive an alert each time you upload an image for a post. However, I recommend that you do not exclude the directory because it may be the next location of the next vulnerability.

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