TimThumb WordPress Plugin Leads to Hacked Websites

The WordPress Plugin TimThumb which is primarily used in themes as an image resizing tool, was found to be vulnerable to an attack that could be classified as a remote file inclusion exploit.

TimThumb allows an attacker to retrieve a remote file and saves it to directory that is accessible via a browser. Mark Maunder who is CEO of technology firm Feedjit, based in Seattle, found out the hard way about this vulnerability when his own blog: markmaunder.com was infected by this.

He has provided a good detailed description, for those of you who are technically oriented, on his blog at:

It’s also been reported that the developer of the plugin had his own blog infected via this vulnerability. To his credit, he has been extremely busy in fixing this and has definitely shown responsibility in this matter.

The fix that Mark has suggested is this:

  1. Edit timthumb.php
  2. Scroll down to line 27 where it starts: $allowedSites = array(
  3. Remove all the sites like “blogger.com” and “flickr.com”
  4. After removing the sites your line should look like: $allowedSites = array();

Save the file and you’re finished. Keep in mind this is for version 1.33. If you’re running an older version, you’ll have to contact the Theme developer and ask them for an update.

Our research shows that some themes use this plugin but the file is not named timthumb.php it could be named:

  • thumb.php
  • resizer.php
  • crop.php
  • cropper.php
  • and various similar names

Search your files for all these names just to be sure you find it.

If you see a folder/directory named “cache” in your wp-content folder or any of it’s sub-folders, you can add this .htaccess file there which will block running any .php files. Quick backstep: this is typically where this plugin stores the files that a hacker may have uploaded. So even if a hacker were to upload the files to that folder, they cannot run them.


RewriteEngine On

Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from localhost

Please post a comment here if you’re having issues with this, or for that matter, any other security related issues.

Thank you.