Preventing File Upload Vulnerabilities on Your WordPress Site
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world, powering over 40% of all websites. However, this popularity also makes it a prime target for hackers. Even the smallest vulnerabilities on your WordPress site can be exploited by hackers and used to hijack your entire website. This can cause severe damage through the actions of stealing data, sending spam, or even defacing pages. That’s also not to mention that you risk having your site blacklisted by Google if it’s determined your site is badly compromised.
One of the most common security risks that WordPress sites face today is file upload vulnerabilities. The primary forms of upload vulnerabilities are local and remote. Local vulnerabilities are where an application has a security vulnerability that allows users with bad intentions to upload and execute malicious files. Meanwhile, remote vulnerabilities are when the user input of an application is used to fetch remote files from the internet and then have that file stored locally.
To prevent file upload vulnerabilities on your WordPress site, here are three things you can do:
1. Always Run the Latest Version of WordPress
One of the biggest reasons site owners experience problems with hackers or general cyberattacks is because they are running an older version of WordPress. By updating your WordPress to the latest version whenever possible, you can make it much more difficult for hackers to penetrate your site.
Every time a new WordPress update is released, holes are patched and overall security is improved. Running an older version of WordPress means that you are running a version that hackers have become accustomed to. Cyberattacks are able to happen because those responsible for them take the time to probe sites for weaknesses. Unfortunately, not all of those weaknesses are due to the plugins you have installed on your site. Some of those weaknesses are completely out of your control, which is why WordPress constantly comes out with new versions. These versions account for those weaknesses that are out of your control and patch them so that you don’t need to worry about the integrity of your site.
2. Update Plugins and Themes
As with updating WordPress to the latest version, you’re going to want to ensure that any plugins or themes are updated as well. Outdated plugins can often be used as a method for local file upload vulnerabilities. This is especially true for contact forms, comments, and other plugins that allow for frontend submissions.
Plugin and theme developers spend a large amount of time probing their own work to determine if there are security concerns. And should they find one, they will patch the issue with an update. By keeping all plugins and themes associated with your site secure, you can significantly reduce the risk of file upload vulnerabilities.
In a study of the 1,386 most popular WordPress plugins, it was found that 104 received updates less than a week before the study, and 244 received updates less than a month before. Developers are always striving to improve their plugins, so take advantage of these updates.
3. Install a Top WordPress Security Plugin
WordPress security plugins act as a firewall that protect the other plugins on your website and prevent the chances of a data breach. For example, WordFence includes a built-in firewall to stop malicious traffic from reaching your site. There may be a number of potential vulnerabilities in the plugins you use, but if hackers can’t get through the security barrier, they will never be able to exploit those holes.
Some plugins offer benefits such as scanners or cleaners that can detect and prevent issues before they become serious. One great example is MalCare, which offers a powerful site scanner that won’t slow down your site. These kinds of security plugins completely automate the scanning and cleaning process. So you can sit back and focus on running your site, rather than spending your time being worried about hackers.
File upload vulnerabilities are a major threat to your WordPress site because they can give hackers the ability to upload malware, take over your blog or site, upload spam, or completely deface your website as well. To prevent file uploading vulnerabilities, always run the latest version of WordPress, update plugins and themes, and install a top WordPress security plugin. By taking these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks and protect your site from potential damage.