5 Common WordPress Security Problems
Regardless of whether you already have a WordPress-powered website or are still thinking about getting one, you need to be aware of potential security issues you may encounter and how to deal with them. With the existing popularity of WordPress and the predictions that the number of websites using it will only increase in the future, the aspect of security is also becoming more important than ever. So, let’s take a look at some security vulnerabilities and steps you should take to secure and protect your WP site.
How secure is WordPress?
It basically depends on you. It can be extremely secure if you know how to manage it or really vulnerable if you don’t follow the best practices. With around one-third of all websites powered by WP, it’s understandable that security problems are unavoidable since not all users are careful enough and security-conscious when it comes to their websites. If a user uses a weak password or is not concerned about the website’s domain name security, for example, significant issues are likely to arise.
Namely, WordPress runs on open-source code and has a team devoted only to finding, identifying, and troubleshooting security issues that arise in the core code. When a vulnerability is discovered, fixes are immediately pushed out to patch the issue, which is why you need to keep WordPress updated to the latest version at all times.
Now is the time to see what the most common security issues are.
Brute force attacks
This is a trial-and-error method of entering multiple usernames and password combinations until a successful combination is discovered. The method exploits the simplest way to access your website: your login page. Since WordPress doesn’t limit login attempts, bots can attack your page using this method as much as they like. Even if they don’t yield any result, they can still overload your system and slow down your site. Some hosts may suspend your account while you’re under a brute force attack, especially if you’re on a shared hosting plan.
File inclusion exploits
Your WP PHP code (the code that runs your website, along with your plugins and themes) is the next most common security issue. File inclusion exploits occur when vulnerable code is used to load remote files that hackers use to gain access to your site’s wp-config.php file, one of the most important files in your WordPress installation.
A MySQL database is used to power your WP website. SQL injections occur when a hacker gains access to your WP database and to all of your website data. Using a SQL injection, an attacker can create a new admin-level user account to log in and get full access to your website. They can also insert new data into your database, such as links to malicious and spam websites.
Cross-site scripting (XSS)
Malware, i.e. malicious software, is code used to gain unauthorized access to a website to gather sensitive data. A hacked WordPress site usually means malware has been injected into the website’s files, so if you suspect malware on your site, take a look at recently changed files. However, WP is not vulnerable to all types of malware infections
The human factor is one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity in general. WordPress security is no different. Make sure that everyone who has access to sensitive information is completely aware of common security risks. There are many useful online cyber security courses, that can help you stay informed and obtain relevant knowledge about website management and security.
What should be done?
To begin with, make sure you use a strong admin password, which includes multiple types of characters, symbols, or numbers. Also, make the password specific to your WP site and don’t use it elsewhere. Next, ensure that your WP, plugins, and themes are regularly updated since version updates usually contain patches for security issues in the code, which is why you need to run the latest version of all software installed on your WP site at all times.
You should also avoid using plugins and themes from untrustworthy sources because poorly-written or insecure code is one of the typical ways hackers can exploit your site. With plugins and themes being potential sources of security vulnerabilities, you should only download them from reputable sources, such as the WordPress.org repository, or from premium companies that have been in business for a while.
Finally, you have to make sure that the server where your WP website resides is secure enough and that the host takes all measures to protect websites on the server levels. Shared hosting could be a problem since many websites are stored on a single server and if only one of them is hacked, attackers might also gain access to other sites and their data.
These are just some of the crucial security issues related to WordPress, but they should not make you give up the idea of using it. After all, running a website requires your constant attention, since new problems arise constantly and you have no other option but to stay on top of all issues and do everything you can to keep your website secure from attacks as much as possible and there is really a lot you can do.
Guest Poster – Elaine Bennett
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping Australian startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey..