InfiniteWP Vulnerability

Critical Authentication Bypass Vulnerability in InfiniteWP Client Plugin

Description: Authentication Bypass
Affected Plugin: InfiniteWP Client
Affected Versions: <
CVSS Score: 9.8 (Critical)
Patched Version:

A vulnerability has been discovered in the InfiniteWP Client plugin versions or earlier. InfiniteWP Client is a plugin that, when installed on a WordPress site, allows a site owner to manage unlimited WordPress sites from their own server. InfiniteWP Client is currently installed on over 300,000 WordPress sites.

This is a critical authentication bypass vulnerability. A proof of concept was published this morning, January 14, 2020. If you are using InfiniteWP client version or earlier we recommend immediately updating your installation to protect your site.

How the InfiniteWP Client Works

The InfiniteWP Client plugin works by allowing a central management server to authenticate to the WordPress installation so that site owners can manage the site. From a central location, site owners can perform maintenance such as one-click updates for core, plugins, and themes across all sites, backup and site restores, and activating/deactivating plugins and themes on multiple sites simultaneously. The InfiniteWP Client plugin authenticates the central management server to each WordPress installation.

The InfiniteWP Authentication Bypass

The vulnerability disclosed last week is an authentication bypass vulnerability, which could allow an attacker to use the authentication logic in the InfiniteWP Client plugin to authenticate and access the WordPress installation with InfiniteWP installed. An attacker would not need the InfiniteWP server installed to exploit this vulnerability; they could simply craft a request addressing the InfiniteWP logic to log in as any administrative user if they know the username.

Update to Wordfence

Normally the Wordfence threat intelligence team would create a firewall rule and deploy it to existing Wordfence installations. Due to the complexity and severity of this vulnerability, we had to integrate protection for this vulnerability into the Wordfence code base, which required us to release a new version of Wordfence.

On Monday, January 13, 2020, we released Wordfence version 7.4.3, which includes protection against the InfiniteWP Client authentication bypass vulnerability.

Technical Details

Here’s a basic proof of concept request which exploits the vulnerability.

User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.14; rv:72.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/72.0
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Connection: close
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1
Cache-Control: max-age=0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Length: 93


The body of the request decodes to {"iwp_action":"add_site","params":{"username":"admin"}} which instructs the InfiniteWP client to run the add_site action, and also to login as the admin user. It requires no authentication and is relatively easy to exploit.

When a site is initially setup using InfiniteWP client, it needs to connect to the InfiniteWP server software. The InfiniteWP server sends a request to the InfiniteWP client and passes on a public key. The InfiniteWP server has the corresponding private key which is used to sign requests. Subsequent requests from the InfiniteWP server to the InfiniteWP client can be authenticated by the site by verifying the signature using the public key. The initial request from the InfiniteWP server uses one of two actions, add_site or readd_site. By design, these actions are unauthenticated (since we don’t yet have a public key). Unfortunately, the code is structured so that some features can still be used. In this case, InfiniteWP client provides a feature to automatically login as an administrator without supplying a password.

When a site is initially connected to the InfiniteWP server, the request made by InfiniteWP server to the site actually exploits this vulnerability (unintentionally). This mades it quite difficult to write a WAF rule to protect against this vulnerability since legitimate and malicious requests can be identical.

We opted to integrate protection for this vulnerability into Wordfence. From within Wordfence, we can determine if the site is already connected to an InfiniteWP server, and prevent the vulnerable code from running if either the add_site or readd_site actions are passed to InfiniteWP client.

So far, we have not seen evidence of this vulnerability being exploited in the wild, but we expect to see attempts in the near future.

Non-WordPress Firewalls Ineffective

As an additional note, the fix we have implemented for this vulnerability required tight integration with WordPress. Wordfence runs as a WordPress plugin and is therefore able to implement this kind of fix.

As a firewall vendor, our goal is to minimize false positives while blocking attacks. We don’t want to accidentally block legitimate traffic. Due to the nature of this vulnerability, it is extremely difficult to create a firewall rule that blocks attacks AND eliminates false positives for this vulnerability, without tight integration with the WordPress API.

We are bringing this to your attention because if you are using a cloud based WAF that does not tightly integrate with WordPress, you may not be protected against this vulnerability. Your cloud WAF does not have access to the WordPress API to implement this kind of fix.

Protection for All Users

Normally, we would release a firewall rule to as a part of our Threat Defense Feed which is deployed in real-time to our Wordfence Premium customers, and to the free community version of Wordfence within 30 days. Because protection for this vulnerability required code changes within Wordfence, we’ve opted to make it available to all users immediately.

Our recommendation at this time is to update your InfiniteWP Client plugin as soon as possible to version Updating Wordfence to version 7.4.3 on sites using InfiniteWP Client will provide concurrent protection.

Thank you to Matt Rusnak and Ramuel Gall for contributing to this update.

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  • Many site owners like me who manage their sites have no knowledge or understanding of the technicality of the vulnerability, we simply rely on paid security software to protect our sites

  • I'm a premium member so you did the update necessary?

    • Hi Phyllis, yes, we recommend both premium and free users update Wordfence to 7.4.3, and the InfiniteWP Client plugin to version as soon as possible.

  • update done.
    thanks, Wordfence to safe our blog/site.

  • Hi,

    It seems there is an issue with the displayed time, it shows a negative number

    1/16/2020 9:01:49 AM (-628 seconds ago)

    I have the latest version installed.


    • Hi cybercasinoindex,

      It sounds like it may be a discrepancy between the server time and your local machine's time. You can create a post on the forums and one of our support engineers can assist you:

  • Does the vulnerability also work when the plugin is inactive?

    • No, the plugin must be activated in order to exploit this.