Simple Membership Vulnerability- Unauthenticated Stored Self-Based Cross-Site Scripting – CVE-2024-1985 |WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Report

Plugin Name: Simple Membership

Key Information:

  • Software Type: Plugin
  • Software Slug: simple-membership
  • Software Status: Active
  • Software Author: mra13
  • Software Downloads: 2,421,375
  • Active Installs: 50,000
  • Last Updated: March 7, 2024
  • Patched Versions: 4.4.3
  • Affected Versions: <= 4.4.2

Vulnerability Details:

  • Name: Simple Membership <= 4.4.2
  • Title: Unauthenticated Stored Self-Based Cross-Site Scripting
  • Type: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:H/PR:N/UI:R/S:C/C:L/I:L/A:N
  • CVE: CVE-2024-1985
  • CVSS Score: 4.7
  • Publicly Published: March 5, 2024
  • Researcher: stealthcopter
  • Description: The vulnerability in the Simple Membership plugin stems from inadequate input sanitization and output escaping, particularly in the 'Display Name' parameter, in versions up to and including 4.4.2. This flaw allows unauthenticated attackers to execute arbitrary web scripts on pages, contingent upon social engineering tactics to deceive a user into logging in with an account containing the malicious payload.


The Simple Membership plugin for WordPress has encountered a security issue in versions up to 4.4.2, where attackers could leverage Stored Cross-Site Scripting through the 'Display Name' field. This vulnerability, addressed in version 4.4.3, required specific conditions for exploitation, including user interaction.

Detailed Overview:

This vulnerability, identified by the researcher known as stealthcopter, underscores the intricate nature of web security, where even seemingly minor inputs like a 'Display Name' field can become vectors for XSS attacks. The self-based nature of this XSS means the attacker would need to convince an admin or a user with sufficient privileges to adopt a malicious display name, highlighting the role of social engineering in exploiting web vulnerabilities. The limited impact due to these requirements does not diminish the need for prompt remediation.

Advice for Users:

  • Immediate Action: Update the Simple Membership plugin to version 4.4.3 immediately to mitigate the vulnerability.
  • Check for Signs of Vulnerability: Administrators should scrutinize user profiles for unusual 'Display Names' or other fields that might contain suspicious scripts, especially if unexpected behavior is observed on the site.
  • Alternate Plugins: While the patched version addresses this issue, users may consider alternative membership plugins if they seek additional features or different security protocols.
  • Stay Updated: Keeping all WordPress components up to date is crucial. Regularly check for updates and apply them promptly to ensure the security and functionality of your site.


The resolution of CVE-2024-1985 in the Simple Membership plugin exemplifies the ongoing challenge of maintaining secure web applications. It serves as a reminder of the potential for even well-intentioned features to be exploited and the critical importance of regular software updates. By adhering to best practices for web security, including timely updates and user education on social engineering tactics, WordPress site administrators can better protect their sites and users from potential threats.


In today's digital ecosystem, the security of a website is paramount, particularly when it comes to plugins that enhance functionality but can also introduce vulnerabilities. The recent discovery of a significant vulnerability within the Simple Membership plugin for WordPress, designated as CVE-2024-1985, casts a spotlight on the ongoing battle between functionality and security. This vulnerability, an Unauthenticated Stored Self-Based Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) flaw, reveals the intricate ways in which threat actors can exploit seemingly innocuous features, like a 'Display Name' field, to compromise the integrity and security of countless websites.

Plugin Overview:

Simple Membership, a plugin developed by mra13, is a staple for WordPress sites requiring membership management capabilities. With over 2.4 million downloads and 50,000 active installations, its role in content access control is significant. As of March 7, 2024, the plugin was last updated to version 4.4.3, addressing the vulnerabilities present in versions up to 4.4.2.

Vulnerability Details:

CVE-2024-1985 unveils a vulnerability where insufficient input sanitization and output escaping within the 'Display Name' parameter can lead to Stored XSS attacks. This vulnerability was made public on March 5, 2024, by a researcher known as stealthcopter, who highlighted the need for user interaction and social engineering for successful exploitation. Despite the high access complexity and the requirement for user interaction, the potential for arbitrary script execution by unauthenticated attackers remains a concern.

Risks and Potential Impacts:

The primary risk of CVE-2024-1985 lies in its capacity to compromise site integrity and user data security. Attackers could leverage this vulnerability to execute malicious scripts, potentially leading to unauthorized data access or manipulation. While the self-based nature of the XSS requires a user to log in with an account containing the malicious payload, the threat posed to site administrators and members is non-negligible, underlining the critical nature of this security flaw.

Remediation and User Guidance:

To mitigate the risks associated with CVE-2024-1985, users of the Simple Membership plugin must promptly update to version 4.4.3, which contains the necessary security enhancements. Administrators should also conduct thorough reviews of user profiles, particularly focusing on 'Display Names' and other modifiable fields for signs of suspicious activity. While the patched version rectifies this specific vulnerability, exploring alternative membership plugins with robust security features may provide additional peace of mind.

Historical Context:

The Simple Membership plugin has encountered 17 vulnerabilities since July 14, 2016, each serving as a reminder of the persistent security challenges within the plugin ecosystem. These instances underscore the importance of ongoing vigilance and the need for regular updates to safeguard against emerging threats.


The resolution of CVE-2024-1985 in the Simple Membership plugin is a testament to the continuous efforts required to maintain secure web applications. For small business owners managing WordPress sites, this incident underscores the critical importance of staying informed about potential vulnerabilities and implementing timely updates. Adhering to best practices for web security, including regular software updates and user education on potential social engineering tactics, is essential in protecting your digital assets and maintaining the trust of your users in an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape.

Staying Secure

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Simple Membership Vulnerability- Unauthenticated Stored Self-Based Cross-Site Scripting – CVE-2024-1985 |WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Report FAQs

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