WordPress gets patch for critical XSS flaw

Developers of the popular WordPress blogging platform have released a critical security update to fix a vulnerability that can be exploited to take over websites.

WordPress 4.2.3, released Thursday, resolves a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that could allow users with the Contributor or Author roles to compromise a website, said Gary Pendergast, a member of the WordPress team, in a blog post.

While this is not as critical as a flaw that can be exploited without authentication, it still poses a high risk for many websites because the compromise of a single non-administrator user account can turn into a complete website takeover.

The new update also fixes a low-severity flaw that allows users with the Subscriber permission to create post drafts through the Quick Draft feature, as well as 20 other non-security bugs.

Website administrators are advised to install the new version as soon as possible from their WordPress dashboards. Websites configured for automatic background updates have already started to be patched.

WordPress websites are a common target for attackers, even those that don’t hold particularly valuable information in their databases. Hackers can use them for various purposes in their malicious activities, for example to host malware or to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

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