Advisory report: https://security.dxw.com/advisories/wordpress-signups-activation/
CVSS: 0 (Low; AV:L/AC:H/Au:M/C:N/I:N/A:N)
WordPress does not hash or expire wp_signups.activation_key allowing an attacker with SQL injection to create accounts
When creating new users with a confirmation email, the key for that confirmation email is stored in plain text, and
never expires. This means that when there are users who have been created who haven’t followed the link in their
confirmation emails (common in installations with lots of users), an attacker with access to a read-only SQLi
vulnerability can immediately create a user account for themselves.
wp_users.user_activation_key is hashed and contains a timestamp. wp_signups.activation_key should include these
security features too.
This issue was originally raised as a ticket in Trac.
Proof of concept
Visit /wp-admin/user-new.php (on a multisite installation – I haven’t tested on single site)
Fill out the “Add New User” form but do not check the “Skip Confirmation Email” checkbox
The user will be sent an email containing a link to /wp-activate.php?key=7259c714857ef009
This key is stored in the database unencrypted and without a timestamp:
mysql> select activation_key from wp_signups where signup_id=4;
| activation_key |
| 7259c714857ef009 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)
Regularly purge old entries from the wp_signups table.
dxw believes in responsible disclosure. Your attention is drawn to our disclosure policy:
Please contact us on security () dxw com to acknowledge this report if you received it via a third party (for example,
plugins () wordpress org) as they generally cannot communicate with us on your behalf.
This vulnerability will be published if we do not receive a response to this report with 14 days.
2016-10-24: Opened Trac ticket
2017-10-02: Requested CVE
2017-10-02: Received CVE
Discovered by dxw:
Please visit security.dxw.com for more information.