28 November 2014

Alert Priority Low

Thousands of plugins and themes for popular blog and website platforms, including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, have been found to contain malware called CryptoPHP.

People use WordPress, Joomla and Drupal to create blogs or websites. They then download plugins from online stores provided by the platform owner, or from third-party websites, to add custom features such as calendars and comment sections. They can also download themes from stores or websites to change the colour scheme or layout of their blog or website.

If you operate or administer a website or blog, be careful when installing plugins and themes. Only install and use plugins and themes from reputable sources. The plugins and themes containing CryptoPHP were found on multiple third party websites which were not directly affiliated with WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

Some users may resort to downloading illegal or pirated versions of themes or plugins for Joomla, WordPress or Drupal. The authors of CryptoPHP are using this behaviour to spread their malware – they are creating pirated versions of plugins and themes and adding malware to them.


Websites and blogs with one of these malicious plugins or themes installed will be infected by the malware, called CryptoPHP. Once installed, CryptoPHP allows an attacker full access to the website or blog, and its data. This allows them to retrieve any data − including secured content − and to change information on the server.

Attackers are currently using CryptoPHP to link to less reputable websites from the infected website or blog and improve their ranking on search engines. This enables the operators of those less reputable websites to make more money from advertising revenue.

CryptoPHP could be used in the future for other attacks, such as spreading malware to a website’s visitors.

More information

Stay Smart Online contains more information on buying and selling online, giving advice on finding reputable sources online.

The original information in this alert was obtained from Fox-IT. This report also contains technical information that can assist if you think your website has been compromised.


Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.


This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.


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