OS Command Injection Vulnerability Found In WordPress Backup Plugin


OS Command Injection Vulnerability In WordPress Database Backup Plugin.

The originally disclosed vulnerability present in WP Database Backup allows an attacker to modify a limited selection of the plugin’s internal settings. These settings were vulnerable due to inconsistencies in the way security features were added to the code–in some cases, a capabilities check would be performed or a CSRF nonce would be required, but other cases weren’t protected by these efforts.

In particular, a nonce check was required when the wp-database-backup page of a site’s admin dashboard was accessed. Unfortunately, the function used by the plugin to check for and perform settings changes was hooked into admin_init, not tied to the plugin’s own page in the dashboard. The vulnerable code would still execute on any other page under /wp-admin, allowing the nonce check to be bypassed.

According to Wordfence, the unknown security researcher published details of an unpatched vulnerability in WP Database Backup, a WordPress plugin with over 70,000 users. The vulnerability, which was irresponsibly disclosed to the public before attempting to notify the plugin’s developers, was reported as a plugin configuration change flaw.

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A proof of concept (PoC) exploit was provided which allowed unauthenticated attackers to modify the destination email address for database backups, potentially putting sensitive information in their hands.

After reviewing by Wordfence Threat Intelligence team, they determined the scope of this flaw was more severe in reality. In unpatched versions of WP Database Backup, an attacker is able to inject operating system (OS) commands arbitrarily, which are then executed when the plugin performs a database backup. Injected commands would persist until manually removed, executing each time a backup is run.

Intelligence team immediately notified the plugin’s developer of this issue and deployed a new firewall rule to prevent Wordfence users from exploitation of these vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities have been patched as of version 5.2 of WP Database Backup.


  • On April 24 – Wordfence identifies OS command injection flaw and reaches out to developer.
  • April 25 – Wordfence releases firewall rule to Premium users to prevent exploitation of both flaws.
  • April 27 – Developer acknowledges issue.
  • April 30 – Patch released
  • May 25 – Firewall rule released for free users.


This flaw has been patched as of version 5.2 and we recommend affected users ensure they’ve updated to the latest available version. Sites running Wordfence Premium have been protected from exploitation of these flaws since April 24th. Sites running the free version received the firewall rule update on May 25th.

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