WordPress (WP), which is an open-source CMS platform is not a new name anymore. It’s a dream for every business owner to make their website, and such dreams are fulfilled by WordPress.
The main reason why business owners choose WordPress amongst the other CMS platforms for making their dream websites is the ease and simplicity of making websites on this platform.
W3Techs indicate that out of the 1.3 billion websites stationed on the internet, WordPress powers almost 43% of the websites.
But this ideal CMS platform has multiple security issues, which makes it a desirable entry gate for hackers too. WP has many default security mechanisms to secure the platform, but modifications made by end-users like installation of themes and plugins, etc. during the website creation process, invite hackers to their site.
Over the years, WP is resolving many security issues, but there are many more which need to be addressed being a site owner.
Some owners think of resorting to other CMS platforms for their site security, but let me tell you that none of them provide 100% security. Rather, it would be wise to address WP vulnerabilities for your site and data security.
This blog is specifically for all those site owners who have built their sites on the WordPress platform.
Let’s check out the basic WP vulnerabilities and their fixations for a better and more secure digital environment.
The Most Common WP Vulnerabilities And Their Solutions:
1. Cheap WordPress Hosting
Budget plays a pivotal role in choosing a web host. Many site owners make this grave mistake of selecting a cheap web host to save their money.
- The server resources are limited.
- The site performance and speed are affected, which impacts your site visitors and SEO too.
- Constant downtime due to cheap hosting indirectly affects your business.
- Customer support is not up to the mark, which can leave your issues unresolved.
- Inconvenient backups may pose a risk (loss of current site data) in case of emergencies.
- Unreliable and lack of server security can pose a threat to your site.
Rather than opting for cheap hosting, select a hosting provider that offers strong site security, sufficient backup options, ample server space, and efficient technical support at all times.
2. Poor WordPress Logins & Passwords
Poor WordPress Logins is also a sign of vulnerable site. Using simple or weak passwords either for site login or for the admin area poses a huge risk to your site and its data since it enhances site vulnerability and successful hacker attacks.
Use a complex and strong password by installing a PPWP Pro Plugin- Password Protect WordPress Pro plugin and secure your site.
PPWP Pro Plugin Features:
- Strong & Powerful Passwords
- Content Protection
- Easy to Use
- Quick Access Links by Bypassing Password Secured Content
- Unlocking Secured Content with the Master Password
PPWP Pro Plugin Extensions include file password protection, group protection, WooCommerce integration, password less authentication, etc.
Tip: Never share your passwords with others and modify/alter the default admin name for strong security.
3. Outdated WordPress Core, Themes, And Plugins:
Outdated WP core makes your site vulnerable. The same stands true for themes and plugins also. Research indicates that 52% of the WP vulnerabilities were caused due to WP plugins. Intruders love to penetrate your site via site themes and plugins since, in a majority of the cases, they are not updated.
When your WP site is outdated, or the themes and plugins are not updated, the security vulnerabilities stay unaddressed, which makes intruder penetration an easy task. WP web developers keep on releasing security updates to patch these security lapses, but when updates are postponed, your site is in danger.
Update your WordPress core, and all the themes and plugins installed on your site regularly. If security patches are not released regularly (monthly), go for other solutions, like changing the theme or plugin.
4. PHP Exploits
Apart from these exploits, there are chances that your PHP library is compromised or not updated. PHP code vulnerabilities may cause security breaches.
They are usually caused by human error, i.e. when a web developer has written an erroneous code. Such PHP exploits also need to be quickly addressed for maintaining site security.
All unused or unwanted elements on the site should be removed and the same stands true for the PHP library too.
Check out all the PHP errors made in the code by turning error logging in “On” mode. The same can be addressed by logging in to the cPanel.
5. Installing Software from Non-Reliable Sources
There are multiple security software and other premium products in the market. Some of the pirated sites sell these products at enticing rates.
Don’t fall in for such attractions, because such software might be compromised or may contain malware. They may permit hackers to gain complete access to your site, thus causing damages.
Be it anti-virus software or any other security software, ensure to download and install the same from reliable sources.
6. Install SSL Security Certificate
Digital certificates like SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates are used for securing browser-server communications with an encryption protection.
When your WordPress site is deprived of such security certificates, all the data communications between the client and the server are visible in plain text.
Thus, hackers can easily read all the login credentials to penetrate and access the site and misuse the site data for their evil motives.
If the WP website owner wants to secure their website, then they must buy an SSL Certificates for site. They can go with the well-known SSL Cert authorities and their product like GlobalSign certificate, Thawte SSL Certificate, Rapid SSL and DigiCert SSL certificate.
They need to select the type of SSL certificate like single domain, multi-domain, or wildcard SSL certificate based on their business needs.
7. Brute-Force Attacks
Sometimes the site security is strong enough to sustain hacker attacks. In such cases, hackers use the brute-force method (trial-error method), to find the perfect combination for accessing the site.
The main disadvantage of WP is that it permits unlimited limit login attempts, which allows bots to successfully land on your WP login page.
Brute-force attempts can lead to server crash even when they are unsuccessful since they overload the system. Your account may be suspended too, in case your site is stationed on a shared hosting plan.
Use of a strong password with a combination of alphanumeric characters, special characters, symbols, etc. should be implemented. The higher the password complexity, the more secure the site.
Implementation of 2FA (two-factor authentication) is also advisable since it enhances security.
8. SQL Injections
Hackers take help of all sorts of malicious ways to penetrate networks. One such method is via SQL Injections, wherein the hacker injects malicious SQL codes to enter the WP MySQL database. Once the attack is successful, hackers pilfer the WP login credentials.
The best prevention against such attacks is to monitor and control user-input tunnels since they are the main culprits causing these attacks.
Check the codes regularly for better security. Install the Sucuri plugin which offers malware scanning, SEO spam scanning, etc.
An in-built firewall, removal of compromised code, and optimizing site speed are some of the positive features offered by this plugin.
Malware and malicious go hand in hand. Attackers use this malicious code to gain access to site-sensitive data. The entry gates for this hacking attack are unused/outdated themes and plugins.
When a site owner misses out on updating these elements regularly, it causes serious negative repercussions.
In some cases, the entire website needs to be reinstalled if the malware infection has reached the WP core.
Updating the themes and plugins regularly is the ideal solution to prevent this security breach.
Another way to secure the site is to install these elements from reliable sources to avoid such mishaps.
WordPress offers varied free security scanners like IsItWP Security Scanner, which scans your site for malware and other security lapses.
10. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and SQL injections are almost similar, the only difference is that XSS is a client-side attack. Here the hacker inserts infectious code into the website, thus targeting the site visitor rather than the site database.
When a visitor visits your website infected by malware, it infects the visitor’s browser and networks too.
The main motto of XSS attacks is to steal information from such visitors.
Ensure to get rid of all XSS vulnerabilities by updating your site regularly.
You need to install the “Prevent XSS Vulnerability” plugin for improved security.
11. DDoS Attack
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack is a malevolent attempt made by the attacker to crash the site server. The hacker uses varied machines to send large volumes of traffic to your server, thus burdening it.
This not only disrupts the server traffic but also burdens it with excessive load, thus crashing the same.
Your site speed is impacted and it becomes unreachable to your users.
Intrusion detection systems (IDS) like the SolarWinds Event Manager, which covers both the network and the host intrusions are ideal to prevent such attacks. Even firewalls help in scanning the network traffic and create a barrier between your network and intruders.
Ensure that your hosting provider offers server security and alerts of suspicious activities before they cause collateral damages.
Appropriate installation of WP plugins and themes from reliable sources for strong security, and keeping them updated at all times, is the best prevention against hacker attacks.
Proper backup to external devices or cloud storage is vital in case of emergencies. Using a strong password along with 2FA for layered security, limiting server permissions and login attempts, monitoring user inputs, modifying the default admin names and other prefixes for tables, etc. are a few more ideal solutions for ensuring the security of your WP site.
WordPress is an ideal platform for blogging, and hence many intruders pry on sites stationed on such platforms. They look out for security lapses which make their hacking process an easy task.