WordPress blogs falling prey to worm

A worm is circulating that posts spam and malware to some blogs using old versions of WordPress. The organization recommends all users upgrade immediately.

A worm is circulating that can post malware and spam to some WordPress blogs using outdated versions of the blogging software, according to a post by Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress.

The worm can be tough to catch, as Mullenweg explains: "it registers a user, uses a security bug (fixed earlier in the year) to allow evaluated code to be executed through the permalink structure, makes itself an admin, then uses JavaScript to hide itself when you look at users page, attempts to clean up after itself, then goes quiet so you never notice while it inserts hidden spam and malware into your old posts."

The vulnerability allowing the attack was discovered August 11, at which point WordPress encouraged users to upgrade to version 2.8.4. However, many people have yet to upgrade, and reports online indicate the worm is making dubious progress by the hour.

The worm does not affect the current version 2.8.4 and the one prior to it. And it only affects people who host their own WordPress blog. Blogs hosted on WordPress.com are unaffected.

Users can find upgrade links and instructions here. WordPress has also posted an FAQ for people who think their blog has been hacked.

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