The web is a dangerous place because behind each website are users, resources, and information that criminals need to take advantage of. The hackers search for WordPress security vulnerabilities to attack or infect the websites. It’s dangerous because criminals only have to be lucky once, but you, as a website owner, have to do the proper thing on a daily basis to keep your website safe from hackers.
As you all know that, WordPress powers 52% of the internet and thus, it’s very clear that the WordPress platform will be facing the highest number of web security problems. Most of the users trust this excellent platform, and that’s why they have designed their business sites on it.
In this post, we’ll define some of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities, alongside steps you’ll take to secure and protect your WordPress website from hackers.
Top 10 Most Common WordPress Security Vulnerabilities
Following are the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities.
Brute Force Attack
Brute force attack is the attack that involves the multiple attempts using thousands of combinations to guess the right password and username. This attack is a bit difficult to perform, but many hackers try to attempt it on WordPress websites. In brute force attack, a human or bot try hundreds of combinations per second because WordPress does not block the user to try multiple failed attempts. And a weak password is the feast for the brute force attack.
In order to avoid a brute force attack, you need to create a strong password for your WordPress website. You can create a long password with upper case letters, lower case letters, special characters, and numbers, doing that makes it difficult for the hacker to guess the password. You can also use Two Factor Authentication to log in to your website.
SQL injection is one of the oldest methods used by hackers to destroy the database using an input field. After injecting SQL hackers exploit database and gain access to the WordPress admin panel. Hackers use SQL injection to gain information.
You can use Sucuri SiteCheck or WPScan plugin to check your website whether it has SQL injection or not. You should check your WordPress website for SQL injection regularly.
Malware on the website can cause minor to major damages to the website if not fixed on time. Sometimes malware affects the website core so bad that you need to re-install your whole WordPress website. Malicious code is added to the website through an outdated or infected theme or plugin. This infected code can insert malware redirect or even extract data from the website.
Any malicious code issues can be easily identified by searching the newly modified file and then deleting it from the WordPress site. Another way to solve this problem is to install the latest version of WordPress or restore the WordPress site from the latest backup. Both of these methods help you minimize WordPress security vulnerabilities.
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To avoid this type of attack, use the correct data validation on the WordPress website. Use output sanitization to ensure that the correct data type is inserted. Plugins can also be used to prevent XSS vulnerability.
Distributed Denial of Services known as DDoS attack is the advanced version of DoS (Denial of Service). In this attack large number of requests is made to the web server which makes the server run slowly and ultimately crashes. Everyone who has ever used the internet for browsing may have seen this infamous DDoS attack.
DDoS attacks are difficult to prevent using traditional methods. Web hosting plays an important role in protecting your WordPress website from such attacks. Reliable hosting servers take server security very seriously, and they notify the customer’s about such suspicious activity before any damage.
Old WordPress and PHP version
Running older versions of WordPress and PHP can cause incompatibility problems. Because WordPress works in PHP, an updated version is required for proper operation. Outdated versions of WordPress are more vulnerable to security risks. Over time, hackers find a way to use their core and ultimately perform an attack on websites that still use outdated versions. The WordPress team releases corrections and new versions with updated security features.
It is very easy to fix this WordPress security vulnerability. All you have to do is keep your WordPress installation updated, always use the latest version. And also upgrade PHP after testing the WordPress website for compatibility. Keep one thing in mind always take a backup before updating WordPress and PHP.
Server Hosting Vulnerability
Specter and Meltdown vulnerabilities are an excellent example of a critical vulnerability in modern server hardware. Specter and Meltdown utilize a vulnerability to optimize CPU performance on most business servers. They can be used by a user who can run the code on the server to extract data belonging to other users and the operating system itself, including private keys and other confidential information.
Responsible WordPress hosting providers have fixed operating systems and server firmware to prevent hackers from exploiting these vulnerabilities, but this is a recurring problem that WordPress users should know about.
Invalid File Permissions
The file permissions are a set of rules used by a web server. This will help the server control access to the file on your WordPress site. Now it sometimes happens that the user specifies invalid file states, which allows attackers to gain access of the file and change it according to their need, which can seriously damage your WordPress site.
The best way to solve the problem is to set the correct file permissions for your WordPress site. File permission on the WordPress site should be 755 or 750 for all directories, 644 or 640 for files and 600 for wp-config.php.
By adjusting these permissions, you can restrict access to the WordPress site, helping you protect your website from hackers.
Use of Regular FTP
Most WordPress site owners make a mistake with regular FTP. Now, what happens to regular FTP – your password is sent to the server unencrypted. Most hosting providers support an FTP connection with different types of protocols: simple FTP, SFTP or SSH. That way, anyone who can hack a server can have easy access to your WordPress website.
Instead of using FTP, you can choose the SFTP or SSH option. You do not need to change the FTP client for this purpose. Just change the protocol to “SFTP-SSH” when you connect to your site. Using this protocol, you can send the password to the server in encrypted form, minimizing the risk of security issues.
Forget to Secure wp-config.php File
The wp-config.php file contains credentials for logging into the WordPress database. If any unauthorized person accesses this file, he/she may steal your information and damage your site. Therefore, it is necessary that you take every precaution to protect this file.
The easiest way to protect the wp-config.php file is by editing the .htaccess and restricting the access. You can do that by adding the following code to the .htaccess file:
- <files wp-config.php>
- Order allow,deny
- deny from all
We have talked about the top 10 WordPress security vulnerabilities and their best possible solutions. Updating WordPress, themes, and plugins play an important role in keeping the WordPress website secure. And having a strong password is also essential for the website because weak passwords give easy access to your WordPress website to the hackers.