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Baptiste Robert, a French security researcher who goes by the online handle Elliot Alderson, has found a vulnerability in a WordPress plugin called Social Network Tabs. The plugin leaks user’s Twitter account information exposing them to compromise. This WordPress plugin is developed by Design Chemical, which allows websites to help users share content on social media sites. MITRE has assigned the vulnerability CVE-2018-20555.

In a twitter thread, Elliot described the details of the bug on Thursday. Per Elliot, the WordPress Plugin is leaking twice the Twitter access_token, access_token_secret, consumer_key and consumer_secret of their user which is leading to a takeover of their Twitter account.  This was caused by the few lines of code which was within the page where the Twitter widget is displayed. Anyone who viewed this code had access to see the linked Twitter handle and the access tokens. If the access token had read/write rights, the attacker was also able to take over the account and there were 127 such accounts.

Elliot tested the bug by searching PublicWWW, a website source code search engine. He was able to find 539 websites using the vulnerable code. He then managed to retrieve access tokens using a script including the Twitter access_token, access_token_secret, consumer_key and consumer_secret from 539 vulnerable websites. According to Elliot, this leak compromised over 446 Twitter accounts with 2 verified accounts and multiple accounts with more than 10K+ followers. The full list of accounts is also made public by him.

Elliot talked to Techcrunch about the vulnerability, saying that he had told “Twitter on December 1 about the vulnerability in the third-party plugin, prompting the social media giant to revoke the keys, rendering the accounts safe again. Twitter also emailed the affected users of the security lapse of the WordPress plugin but did not comment on the record when reached.”

However, this is not the case. On January 17, he mentioned in a tweet that, “With a simple Google search query, “inurl:/inc/dcwp_twitter.php?1=“, you can find that a lot of websites and so Twitter accounts are still vulnerable to this issue. This query returns 3550 results.” He has also written a scraper to automatically extract the keys from the result of this Google search query.

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Content Marketing Editor at Packt Hub. I blog about new and upcoming tech trends ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development.