hCaptcha for WordPress Vulnerability – Authenticated (Contributor+) Stored Cross-Site Scripting via cf7-hcaptcha Shortcode – CVE-2024-4014 | WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Report 

Plugin Name: hCaptcha for WordPress

Key Information:

  • Software Type: Plugin
  • Software Slug: hcaptcha-for-forms-and-more
  • Software Status: Active
  • Software Author: hcaptcha
  • Software Downloads: 867,958
  • Active Installs: 50,000
  • Last Updated: May 3, 2024
  • Patched Versions: 4.0.1
  • Affected Versions: <= 4.0.0

Vulnerability Details:

  • Name: hCaptcha for WordPress <= 4.0.0
  • Title: Authenticated (Contributor+) Stored Cross-Site Scripting via cf7-hcaptcha Shortcode
  • Type: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:L/I:L/A:N
  • CVE: CVE-2024-4014
  • CVSS Score: 6.4
  • Publicly Published: April 19, 2024
  • Researcher: haidv35 - VCS
  • Description: The hCaptcha for WordPress plugin is vulnerable to Stored Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) via the plugin's cf7-hcaptcha shortcode in all versions up to, and including, 4.0.0. This vulnerability arises from insufficient input sanitization and output escaping on user-supplied attributes, allowing authenticated attackers with contributor-level access and above to inject arbitrary web scripts that execute when a user accesses an injected page.


The hCaptcha for WordPress plugin has a vulnerability in versions up to and including 4.0.0 that exposes sites to Stored Cross-Site Scripting attacks through the cf7-hcaptcha shortcode. This vulnerability has been patched in version 4.0.1.

Detailed Overview:

This vulnerability identified by researcher haidv35 from VCS involves the cf7-hcaptcha shortcode, where user inputs are not adequately sanitized or escaped, leading to potential XSS attacks. Such attacks could allow malicious scripts to be stored and later executed, which can compromise the security of the site and its users. The impact includes unauthorized access to user data and manipulation of website content. Thankfully, the patch in version 4.0.1 addresses these issues, reinforcing the importance of keeping software up to date.

Advice for Users:

  • Immediate Action: Update to version 4.0.1 of the hCaptcha for WordPress plugin immediately to mitigate this vulnerability.
  • Check for Signs of Vulnerability: Monitor your website for any unusual behavior or content that seems out of place, which might indicate that your site has been compromised.
  • Alternate Plugins: While the current vulnerability has been patched, always have alternatives in mind that could serve as replacements should the need arise.
  • Stay Updated: Ensure that all software components of your WordPress site, including plugins, are regularly updated to the latest versions to safeguard against vulnerabilities.


The rapid response from the developers of hCaptcha for WordPress to patch the vulnerability highlights the critical importance of maintaining up-to-date software on your WordPress installations. Users are advised to upgrade to version 4.0.1 or later to secure their sites effectively against potential exploits.


Detailed Report: 

In the vast expanse of the internet, your website acts as a beacon for your brand, attracting customers and readers alike. However, this beacon can quickly become a target for cyber threats if not properly safeguarded. A prime example of such a threat is the recent vulnerability discovered in the hCaptcha for WordPress plugin—CVE-2024-4014. This vulnerability, which affected versions up to 4.0.0, was a severe security flaw that allowed authenticated users to perform stored cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks via the plugin’s cf7-hcaptcha shortcode.

The impact of such vulnerabilities is not just technical but can have real-world consequences for your business, leading to unauthorized access, data theft, and loss of customer trust. With over 50,000 active installs and significant reliance across numerous sites, the prompt patching of this vulnerability in version 4.0.1 underscores a vital lesson: the importance of keeping your digital tools up-to-date cannot be overstated.

For website owners, staying vigilant and proactive in updating your website’s components, including plugins like hCaptcha, is crucial. Such actions are not merely preventative measures but essential practices to ensure the security and integrity of your online presence. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the specifics of this vulnerability, its potential impacts, and how you can safeguard your site against similar threats.

Vulnerability Overview:

CVE-2024-4014 introduces a significant risk, specifically through stored cross-site scripting (XSS) via the cf7-hcaptcha shortcode. This vulnerability arose due to insufficient input sanitization and output escaping, enabling authenticated attackers with contributor-level access and above to inject harmful scripts. These scripts could execute whenever a user accessed an injected page, leading to potential unauthorized data access and manipulation of website content.

Risks and Potential Impacts:

The implications of such a vulnerability are far-reaching, impacting not just the operational aspects of a website but also its credibility and the security of user data. Stored XSS attacks could lead to the stealing of cookies, session hijacking, and even persistent defacement of the website, which could erode user trust and damage a brand’s reputation.

Remediation and Advice for Users:

To address this vulnerability, it is crucial to:

  1. Immediately update the hCaptcha plugin to the latest version (4.0.1) which contains the necessary security patches.
  2. Regularly scan your website for signs of compromise, including unusual admin activity or unexpected changes to web content.
  3. Consider alternative captcha plugins if recurring security issues become a concern, ensuring these alternatives are reputable and well-supported.
  4. Maintain all website components updated to minimize vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of exploits.


The swift response by hCaptcha’s developers to address CVE-2024-4014 by releasing a patched version of the software exemplifies the critical importance of timely software updates. For small business owners managing WordPress sites, regularly updating your digital assets is not just a technical task but a fundamental business necessity. It protects not only your data but also preserves the trust and security of your users. Engaging with managed WordPress hosting services or dedicated security professionals can also be a prudent investment, ensuring that your site remains secure and up-to-date without requiring constant oversight from your side.

Staying Secure

Staying on top of WordPress security can feel overwhelming for small business owners without dedicated IT staff. At Your WP Guy, we exist to shoulder that burden for you. Our WordPress experts can fully audit, secure, maintain and support your site - so you can focus on growing your business with peace of mind.

Don't tackle security risks alone. Let us help you assess any impact from this vulnerability, update your plugins, and implement ongoing maintenance to avoid future threats. We treat your website like it's our own - because we know how critical it is for reaching your customers.

Get in touch for a free consultation today on making WordPress security stress-free. Call 678-995-5169 or book a call here. Our knowledgeable team is ready to help you safeguard your online presence.



hCaptcha for WordPress Vulnerability – Authenticated (Contributor+) Stored Cross-Site Scripting via cf7-hcaptcha Shortcode – CVE-2024-4014 | WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Report FAQs

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