This is what happens at the network level when a browser visits an infected site.

Attackers have hijacked thousands of websites running the WordPress content management system and are using them to infect unsuspecting visitors with potent malware exploits, researchers said Thursday.

The campaign began 15 days ago, but over the past 48 hours the number of compromised sites has spiked, from about 1,000 per day on Tuesday to close to 6,000 on Thursday, Daniel Cid, CTO of security firm Sucuri, said in a blog post. The hijacked sites are being used to redirect visitors to a server hosting attack code made available through the Nuclear exploit kit, which is sold on the black market. The server tries a variety of different exploits depending on the operating system and available apps used by the visitor.

“If you think about it, the compromised websites are just means for the criminals to get access to as many endpoint desktops as they can,” Cid wrote. “What’s the easiest way to reach out to endpoints? Websites, of course.”

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Active malware campaign uses thousands of WordPress sites to infect visitors