What is the AnonymousFox hack and how does it infect websites?

As a website owner, having your site hacked can be your worst nightmare. Although a large number of sites are considered safe because they rely on WordPress, this does not mean that they are not susceptible to attack by hackers. In fact, many are targeted by a widespread WordPress vulnerability known as AnonymousFox, which targets system files by exploiting vulnerable plugins to gain unauthorized access.

So what is this incognito hack, and how does it attack? What kind of damage can it inflict on your website and your visitors?


What is AnonymousFox?

True to its name, AnonymousFox has managed to conceal its identity because no one knows exactly which hacking group owns or operates it.

What we do know is that this vulnerability is commonly found on sites running WordPress version 5.0 and has been known to alter the login credentials of the affected website. This prevents website owners from logging in or editing their websites.


WordPress logo in a hand

AnonymousFox takes advantage of vulnerable plugins used on different Content Management System (CMS) platforms like WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart etc. to infiltrate websites.

Since WordPress is the most widely used platform for developing and hosting websites, it is most affected.

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How does the AnonymousFox attack work?

AnonymousFox attacks in precise stages, so here’s how it usually works:

  • Unknown hackers first inject malicious scripts into WordPress and then modify the .contactemail file.
  • After changing the cPanel password, the hackers replace the victims’ emails with a new address such as “[email protected]”. Fake secondary email addresses and accounts with administrator privileges are also created at this stage.
  • Finally, malicious WordPress plugins are added to handle the files.

You may not realize that your website has been hacked by AnonymousFox, that is until you notice the change of email address and contact, or you may start receiving emails from internet security companies stating that your website has been compromised.


Is AnonymousFox a cPanel security issue?

AnonymousFox hacks cPanel-based websites, such as WordPress. What is cPanel? Is this to blame for this vulnerability?

cPanel is a Linux-based control panel used for web hosting. It has a graphical user interface (GUI) and works like a desktop application, allowing you to perform interactive options without the need to run complex commands. Basically, it allows even those with limited technical skills to control their own sites.


hacker with a face mask.

Although AnonymousFox is not a cPanel issue per se, hackers gain access to WordPress and other CMS-based websites through cPanel, usually by modifying the contact address file and resetting the password.

Everything has its flaws, and that’s also true for cPanel; nevertheless, it has many advantages, mainly a user-friendly interface, many practical features for all skill levels and works on all mainstream browsers.


What damage can AnonymousFox inflict?

The biggest problem with AnonymousFox is that it allows hackers to access a website by exploiting cPanel’s security issues.

It achieves this by modifying the contact address file and then resetting the account password in the cPanel, giving hackers carte blanche to your blog.

A website hacked by AnonymousFox will not only affect you, but also your site visitors. You won’t be able to secure your customer data, and if you host a shopping platform, your customers can fall prey to credit card leaks and other data breaches. These damages can have a serious impact on the reputation of your business.

Related: Effective Tips to Remove Malware from a WordPress Site

How to protect against AnonymousFox

Creating a website on WordPress is easy. The hard part is keeping the hackers at bay.

Most people make the mistake of installing plugins in batches and not updating them. Always keep them updated to install patches for discovered exploits and discard unnecessary ones. The best way to mitigate the deceptive AnonymousFox is to keep an eye on your plugins, especially those that are no longer updated by their developers.


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