This is a black-box vulnerability scanner that performs multiple tests to identify security weaknesses in the target WordPress website. The scan is performed remotely, without authentication and it simulates an external attacker who tries to penetrate the target website.
List of tests performed
Here is the complete list of tests performed by WPScan:
- Fingerprint the installed WordPress version
- Show the vulnerabilities for the running WordPress version
- Enumerate the installed plugins and their versions
- Show the vulnerabilities for the identified plugins
- Enumerate the installed themes and their versions
- Show the vulnerabilities for the identified themes
- Enumerate the WordPress users
- Search for config backups
- Search for database exports
- Search for vulnerable
|Target URL||This is the URL of the WordPress website that will be scanned. All URLs must start with |
|Detection Mode - Passive||Runs a non-intrusive detection i.e it sends a few requests to the server. It commonly scans the home page for any vulnerability. The passive mode is less likely to be detected by IDS/IPS solutions|
|Detection Mode - Aggressive||Performs a more intrusive scan as it sends numerous requests to the server. This approach has a greater chance to find the correct WordPress version, enumerate users and better find the plugins.|
|Enumerate||Search for: usernames, vulnerable themes, vulnerable plugins, config backups, database dumps, timthumbs.|
How it works
The scanner connects to the target WordPress website and does a series of passive checks to identify the WordPress version, plugins, themes, users, config backups, database dumps and timthumbs.
By analyzing the HTML source code and the HTTP headers, WPScan manages to extract all the necessary information to perform the assessment. The vulnerabilities presented are determined based on the specific versions of WordPress or plugins/themes that have been identified.
The tool also incorporates a database of WordPress vulnerabilities that gets periodic updates and maintenance.
How do WordPress sites get hacked?
Since WordPress is a widely used platform, it often becomes a target for hackers. Their attacks are facilitated by the high number of outdated WordPress installations and outdated plugins and themes. These old versions of WordPress components contain vulnerabilities and security weaknesses that can be exploited.
A WordPress hack often starts by identifying which version of WordPress is running and what are the installed plugins and themes. The next step is to fingerprint the running versions of those components and to search for public vulnerabilities affecting them. A lot of public exploits are also available online.
For instance, a well-known WordPress plugin called Revolution Slider is affected by multiple high-risk vulnerabilities in some of its older versions.
- Versions <= 4.1.4 of this plugin are affected by an Arbitrary File Download vulnerability which allows an attacker to download any file from the server (including PHP configuration files, database files, etc.) by accessing a link such as
- Versions <= 3.0.95 of this plugin allow hackers to upload arbitrary files on the server including PHP shell files. The result of such an action is taking total control of the webserver.
These hacks can be prevented by periodically scanning the WordPress installation using a tool such as our WordPress vulnerability scanner and identifying vulnerable components. These must be updated and the WordPress installation becomes secure and trustworthy.