I’ve been using WordPress for quite sometime now. Though I’ve been late in opting it but as they say better later than wordpress-logonever. But this post is not to inform you or let know this blog’s followers that how much I love WordPress. Even though, my time with WordPress has been quite fruitful in terms of ease of use and usability but couple of days back I averted something which I never thought would happen.

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Before that, I wasn’t online for the weekend, so I didn’t get in touch of what’s happening in the tech world. But today morning, while browsing through what I missed in last week, I came across something which is frightening to say the least – possible hacker attacks old wordpress users. Now I’ve made enough room for myself to probe into such things but seriously I ain’t a hacker myself nor I’m much into the inner intricacies. But whenever needed I can surely fix my site, nonetheless. So after reading the hacker news, I straight went to my blog to see if everything is going fine – and much to my delight it is. But last week, something happened that quite alarming for me.

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Before getting to that, I also read Scobleizer’s post on WordPress hacking news and Matt Mullenweg’s reply too. Now after these 2 posts, it got me afraid since now I know even if someone broke into my wordpress account and fiddled with some inner corners I wouldn’t even notice it. But on that count, I trust my intelligent users to point out any flaws in terms of missing posts or broken links.

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But as I was saying that last week, something randomly was happening which was secretive from outside purview. I even tweeted it without knowing that it was an earliest attempt to get into my admin control of my blog and take it over.

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My Tweet Link

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Actually, last week I saw a sudden rise of number of subscribers for my blog. Not the RSS type but the wordpress login type. The reason of my concern then was even though I’ve haven’t given any link to be a subscriber for this blog (actually have kept it as a hidden link), still why the sudden rise of new users with spam like email addresses. Though I didn’t gave much heed for the first few days of last week, but then last Wednesday I realized that something must be wrong. As I probed inside, I realized that suddenly new anonymous users who are getting subscribed through WordPress Login id & password be by-default getting administrator control of my blog (which by the way, I’ve not given in the first place). Instantly, I did some personal testing and realized that something is wrong and I deleted all those malicious looking account pronto.

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But now I know (after Scobleizer’s & Matt’s response) that what I averted by mistake thinking as a malicious wanabe attack could have a more dreadful for me. TYG I did it!

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Now I took some checks about what sort of control I want to give. Infact, I’ve not allowed any more new users to subscribe through wordpress admin panel (the once blog admin users to allocate users as subscribers, 2nd admin users, editors, authors, contributors etc). Sorry if you want to login that way but as of now I’ve not allowed to keep the sanctity of this site alive for sometime. Also I’ve decided to use the “Export” feature of wordpress more often to keep my content alive even if I’m struck by cataclysmic attack.

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But keeping all these aside, what struck me more is that as Matt suggested that upgrading the WordPress version helps to reduce such attacks but since now I’m using WordPress 2.8.4 but still I was running into trouble. But seriously, such things can never be out of scope since you’ll always found someone who can break into your system.

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As he suggested,

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Upgrading (your blog to latest version) is taking your vitamins; fixing a hack is open heart surgery.

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Now till then, I’m feeling safe now. But I hope Matt is able to fix such issues with more immediacy and make WordPress less vulnerable.

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Few tips (if it helps):

1. Check your “General Settings” page in Admin Panel and check the “Membership” & check the right given to “New User Default Role”. Uncheck if needed and keep it under subscriber mode. For me, I’ve disabled altogether.

2. Also you can check “Users” page in Admin Panel and see what’s happening there.

So any of you have  had the same fate or you directly ran into trouble?Do share, if possible!

Fixing a hacked blog, on the other hand, is quite hard. Upgrading is taking your vitamins; fixing a hack is open heart surgery. (This is true of cost, as well.)
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