IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

WordPress plug-in vulnerability gives hackers Google Search Console access

Hack could expose 300,000 WordPress sites to back-hat SEO or complete takedowns

Earlier this week, WordFence announced its threat intelligence team discovered a vulnerability within Site Kit by Google, a WordPress plugin that provides website owners easy access to critical Google tools and insights. The plug-in is currently installed on upward of 300,000 WordPress sites. The vulnerability allows for any authenticated user to become a Google Search Console owner for sites running the Google-owned plugin. 

WordFence filed a security issue report notifying Google of the issue on April 21, 2020. Google released a patch on May 7, 2020.

The Site Kit vulnerability is a critical security issue, as it could allow attackers to obtain owner access to a site within the Google Search Console. Such high-level access would allow hackers to modify sitemaps, remove pages from Google search engine results and even facilitate black-hat SEO campaigns. For many hackers, the ability to carry out such campaigns is particularly attractive.

Further, should a hacker obtain access to a website’s Google Search Console, they could also do things such as gaining access to a site’s Google Analytics data.

All in all, hackers being provided with access to a site’s Google Search Console has the potential to hurt a website’s search engine ranking. It could also have an impact on how websites and organizations compete when it comes to their search rankings and overall reputations on the web.

At this time, all Site Kit users have been urged to update the plug-in to the 1.8.0 version. Doing so will help to protect their websites against this critical vulnerability. According to Bleeping Computer, while nearly 200,000 website owners have updated Site Kit since the patch was released, over 100,000 sites have yet to put the patch in place. Meaning, many WordPress websites remain exposed to hackers looking to capitalize on this vulnerability.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system
cyber security

Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system

27 May 2021

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
(ISC)2 launches free scheme to get 100,000 UK citizens into cyber security
Careers & training

(ISC)2 launches free scheme to get 100,000 UK citizens into cyber security

17 May 2022