Another Revslider Vulnerability

November 30, 2014

After cleaning up a recent WordPress hack, I believe there is another Revolution Slider vulnerability making the rounds. If you are using an old version of Revoltion slider, you should update immediately or disable the plugin.

From what I can tell, it affects two Themepunch plugins, Revslider and Showbiz Pro. According to a proof-of-concept exploit posted this month, versions 3.0.95 and before of Revslider, as well as versions 1.7.1 and before of Showbiz Pro are vulnerable.

The issue allows for unauthenticated ajax calls sent /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php to trigger Revolution Slider’s onAjaxAction function, which in turn can be used to delete slides, import/export slides, and update the plugin(among other tasks.) In the case of the site I cleaned up, they used it to trigger an update to the plugin, which uploaded a remote shell to the site.

From looking around, this vulnerability appears to have been posted relatively recently on several sites and is currently being exploited.

The Vulnerability

This is part of revslider_admin.php. In affected versions, the below gets called, which adds wp_ajax and wp_ajax_nopriv callbacks for the onAjaxAction function.

Since there is no check on whether the user is actually logged in or allowed to make changes to the plugin, it is possible to(among other things) upload files to the server.


self::addActionAjax("ajax_action", "onAjaxAction");

This in turn calls the addActionAjax function, which creates the wp_ajax and wp_ajax_nopriv callbacks.


protected static function addActionAjax($ajaxAction,$eventFunction){
	self::addAction('wp_ajax_'.self::$dir_plugin."_".$ajaxAction, $eventFunction);
	self::addAction('wp_ajax_nopriv_'.self::$dir_plugin."_".$ajaxAction, $eventFunction);

As a result of this, the revslider_ajax_action action gets added, allowing for unprivileged updates. This is not terribly surprising as, at least in early versions of Revolution Slider, security and a deep understanding of wordpress do not seem to have been a concern.

Working Example

The following is a working example. On a vulnerable site, the following will print an ajax response similar to: {“success”:false,”message”:”wrong ajax action: asdf “}.

If you see something to the effect of {“success”:false,”message”:”Wrong request”}, you are probably not vulnerable, but should still verify you are running the most recent version, as there are several known vulnerabilities at this point!

<form method='post' action='/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php'>
<input type='hidden' name='data' value='asdf' />
<input type='hidden' name='client_action' value='asdf' />
<input type='hidden' name='action' value='revslider_ajax_action' />
<input type='submit' />

The reason you see this response is because the switch is called and since asdf is not a recognized action, it triggers the default: self::ajaxResponseError(“wrong ajax action: $action “);

Affected Versions

As stated above, this does not appear to impact newer versions 3.0.95 of revolution slider, as well as versions 1.7.1 and below of Showbiz Pro.

In a newer version I checked, Themepunch appears to have added a nonce called revslider_actions and check that the nonce is present in onAjaxAction prior to actually executing the ajax calls.

Temporary Fix

If you are using an old version of revolution slider, you should update immediately and/or disable the plugin.

As stated before, since this plugin is often included with themes and is a premium plugin, updating it presents several difficulties and is something that a non-tech website owner might not even know they need to do. I feel this leaves something to be desired.

The below should be a quick way to stop the attack.

**Note that the below will only allow people with the privilege to install plugins to work with Revslider’s Ajax calls. You may want to adjust what permission you allow.


public static function onAjaxAction(){

if(!function_exists('current_user_can') || !current_user_can('install_plugins')){

Given that there have been two very serious vulnerabilities reported in the past few months, I would strongly encourage you to upgrade the plugin to the latest version and/or use a different plugin!


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