TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker)


Scan all of your theme files for potentially malicious or unwanted code. Be aware of advertisements or dangerous JavaScript inserted into legitimate themes by third party theme download sites.
Future versions will allow to check for other theme vulnerabilities.

Download TAC (Current, v 1.4)

TAC in WordPress.org Plugin Directory


What TAC Does

TAC stands for Theme Authenticity Checker. Currently, TAC searches the source files of every installed theme for signs of malicious code. If such code is found, TAC displays the path to the theme file, the line number, and a small snippet of the suspect code. As of v1.3 TAC also searches for and displays static links.

Then what do you do? Just because the code is there doesn’t mean it’s not supposed to be or even qualifies as a threat, but most theme authors don’t include code outside of the WordPress scope and have no reason to obfuscate the code they make freely available to the web. We recommend contacting the theme author with the code that the script finds, as well as where you downloaded the theme.

The real value of this plugin is that you can quickly determine where code cleanup is needed in order to enjoy your theme.


TAC got its start when we repeatedly found obfuscated malicious code in free WordPress themes available throughout the web. A quick way to scan a theme for undesirable code was needed, so we put together this plugin.

After Googling and exploring on our own we came upon the article by Derek from 5thiryOne regarding this very subject. The deal is that many 3rd party websites are providing free WordPress themes with encoded script slipped in – some even going as far as to claim that decoding the gibberish constitutes breaking copyright law. The encoded script may contain a variety of undesirable payloads, such as promoting third party sites or even hijack attempts.

Frequently Asked Questions
What if I find something?

Contact the theme’s original author to double check if that section of code is supposed to be in the theme in the first place – chances are it shouldn’t as there isn’t a logical reason have obfuscated code in a theme.

If something is malicious or simply unwanted, TAC tells you what file to edit, you can even just click on the file path to be taken straight to the WordPress Theme Editor.

Why does TAC list static links?

First of all, static links aren’t necessarily bad, TAC just lists them so you can quickly see where your theme is linking to.

What about future vulnerabilities?

As we find them we will add them to TAC. If you find one, PLEASE let us know: Contact builtBackwards or post in the WordPress.org Forum


Version 1.4

  • Compatible with WordPress 2.8!
  • Tested in Firefox 3.0.11 and Internet Explorer 8
  • JavaScript hiding/showing of theme details

Version 1.3 (Fixes + New Feature)

  • Changed title to “Theme Authenticity Checker”, same acronym, makes more sense
  • Compatible with WordPress 2.2 – 2.6.1
  • NEW! Checks for embedded Static Links
  • NEW! Direct links for editing suspicious files in the WordPress Theme Editor
  • Improved the CSS
  • Uses its own function to get theme file paths

Version 1.2 (Fixes)

  • Band-aid fixes to theme file paths that were altered by the update to get_themes() in WordPress 2.6
  • This release is only compatible with WordPress 2.6

Version 1.1 (Fixes)

  • Style sheet doesn’t explode any more when certain threats are detected
  • Modified code snippet output to prevent interfering with page structure
  • Improved styling for slightly more appealing output

Version 1.0 (First Release)

  • This is the initial release of TAC.



After downloading and extracting the latest version of TAC…

  1. Upload tac.php to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to Design -> TAC in the WordPress Admin
  4. The results of the scan will be displayed for each theme with the filename and line number of any threats.

300 thoughts on “TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker)

  1. Thanks for the excellent tool. But, when I scan my theme, the preview image isn’t displayed. The path to the image is absolute, so can’t display. How can I fix this bug?

  2. Where is the facebook like module? I tried to look for it,
    but is not anywhere to be found. No biggie, just desired to provide you with a like; this article is worth it.

  3. Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent.

    I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which
    you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.
    I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific

  4. there is no link to TAC v.1.5.1 in admin panel. I tested localserver and web, WP v. 3.8.1 and 3.9. (2 different sites) no link display in admin panel anywhere. (loaded to plugins/tac/ or plugins/tac.php) I’m sure this plugin is very useful, but i dont access it. please quickly is possible to advice. thanks.

  5. Thanks a lot for your plugin. Its highly necessary to check themes before we use them practically in our live environment.
    It becomes more important in present condition where we are getting hundreds of wordpress theme freely.

  6. I have Optimzed Press 2.0 and TAC id’s the /members/ link as bad. I am sure it isn’t but does pose a vulnerability and if so, how is it to be resolved?

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