WordPress has been a popular content management system (CMS) for over a decade, with many of the internet’s largest blogs and small individual sites using it to publish text, image, and video content. However, like every other internet-based system, WordPress is also a target of hacking attempts and other forms of cybercrime. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common WordPress attacks and provide suggestions for how to defend against them to keep your website secure.
Common WordPress Attacks
1. SQL Injection: WordPress relies on a database layer that stores metadata information, user information, content information, and site configuration data. A hacker carries out a SQL injection attack by using a request parameter to run a customized database command. This can allow them to view extra information from the database or change data.
3. Command Injection: With a command injection attack, a hacker enters malicious information in a text field or URL, similar to a SQL injection. The code will contain a command that only operating systems will recognize, such as the “ls” command. If executed, this will display a list of all files and directories on the host server.
4. File Inclusion: Common web coding languages like PHP and Java allow programmers to refer to external files and scripts from within their code. In certain situations, a hacker can manipulate a website’s URL to compromise the “include” section of the code and gain access to other parts of the application server.
Tips for Protection
1. Use a Secure Host and Firewall: The hosted option is preferred for maintaining a secure WordPress system. The top WordPress hosts on the market will offer SSL encryption and other forms of security protection. When configuring a hosted WordPress environment, it’s critical to enable an internal firewall that will protect connections between your application server and other network layers.
2. Keep Themes and Plugins Updated: Plugins and themes should always be downloaded directly from the WordPress.org website. External plug-ins and themes can be risky, as they include code that will be run on your application server. Only trust add-ons that come from a reputable source and developer. In addition, you should update plugins and themes on a regular basis, as developers will release security improvements.
3. Install a Virus Scanner and VPN: If you are running WordPress in a local environment or have full server access through your hosting provider, then you need to be sure to have a robust virus-scanner running on your operating system. When connecting to your WordPress environment from a remote location, you should always use a virtual private network (VPN) client, which will ensure that all data communications between your local computer and the server are fully encrypted.
4. Lockdown Against Brute Force Attacks: Check out the All in One WP Security and Firewall. It’s free and allows you to set a hard limit on login attempts. For example, after three attempts the plugin locks the site down against further logins by that IP address for a preset length of time. You’ll also receive an email notification that the lockdown feature has been triggered.
5. Two-Factor Authentication: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) turns logging into your Website website into a two-step process. As usual, you log in the regular way but then will find yourself prompted to enter an additional code sent to your phone.
While there is no such thing as a 100% secure website, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your website. Using a good firewall, keeping your themes and plugins up to date and periodically running a virus scan can make a huge difference. It might help to think of website security as an eternal iterative process. Only by keeping yourself knowledgeable about the latest threats and how to repel them will you be able to maintain cybersecurity and online privacy.