WordPress is undoubtedly the most dominant website development platform and CMS. As per statistics, WordPress powers 43% of the 2 billion existing websites. With such a gigantic number to its credit, it definitely has certain loopholes that the open source community tries to resolve on regular basis. Let us talk about the common WordPress security issues and their technical solutions. With our tips, any WordPress site can be converted into a highly secure version.
As per the numbers, ‘In 2021, 50% of the infected WordPress sites were running on obsolete software. An important point to note here is that if the core software of the website is vulnerable then the site becomes an open ground for cyber threats.
This could be the case with any platform and WordPress is no exception. Therefore, website owners and enterprises should keep updating their sites with the latest patches and updates released by the WordPress team.
By updating the core files, you add higher levels of security to your site. Apart from enabling the auto-update feature through the dashboard, do make it a point to add ‘software version updating’ an integral part of the task list.
WPScan estimated that 97% of the WordPress security issues cropped up from obsolete themes and extensions in 2021. As WordPress is open-source software, engineers come up with diverse custom templates, themes, and plugins, which require updates on a regular basis. If not updated, they become the entry points to threats for the whole website.
Make sure that your development and support team applies every update released by the developers of the extensions and themes, which are incorporated into your site. This will minimize security problems by a huge margin.
Malware is couplets of malicious code and software that can be embedded in any website’s files by hackers. These pieces of code can steal data and visitor information, which is a big loophole in the website. As per the data of Sucuri, nearly 61.65% of websites were affected by malware in 2021 while 39.53% of sites were diagnosed with malicious code in 2019.
As a proactive measure, make your website go through malware scans on a frequent basis. Install plugins that check malware and fix them instantly or choose hosting platforms that have built-in scans for malicious code.
This malware is slipped into a website to get customers’ payment details. It is a big problem and may spoil the reputation of a site if it comes in the open. This kind of software was detected in 34.5% of WordPress sites in 2021. This should be a huge concern for eCommerce websites running on WordPress.
As a solution, Victor Santoyo from the WordPress team suggests website owners use the Sucuri SiteCheck tool that monitors every portion of the website for malware content and even gives details about the information that these codes try to eject.
One of the prime WordPress security issues is that of unauthorized logins. Hackers can use bots that can guess login password combinations at the rate of a billion per second. Such bots can be a real threat to most B2C websites. This calls for urgency to protect customer data, login information, and privacy aspect.
The first duty of website owners towards their customers is to create a secure, custom login page. It is vital to change the default settings and wp-admin file. Again, as an added security it is helpful to make customers aware of choosing a strong password.
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Although SQL is a relatively secure language, hackers can actually mold it with scripts that can manipulate your database. Such SQL code can make changes in the database and even enter new accounts, delete existing entries, and leak content. If an attacker is able to view your database, the website and customer data are certainly on the brink of a massive threat.
As most data gets entered through visitor information forms, it is best to rule out the attack at this very point. For this, use extensions like WordPress form plugin or WordPress security plugin that restricts the entry of malware through submission forms. Additionally, use a captcha to stop bots that try to enter your site through SQL.
These threats involve purposely populating your website’s high-ranking pages with keywords and ad pop-ups. By doing this, attackers can sell their own products through your website. It does not harm the core website code but still manages to exploit the popularity of your site to make profits for others.
To resolve this, your SEO team should keep a close watch on the analytics data to ensure if there is an abrupt increase in traffic or SERP rankings, especially when it happens without any effort from your end. Check if your site is gaining ranks for something that does not fall in your domain.
Check if there are any unusual keywords on the ranking pages. This must be done proactively to prevent SEO crawlers from misinterpreting your website for performing spamming activities. Otherwise, there are huge chances of getting your website banned by search engines.
Add SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to encrypt data exchanged between your website and the browser of users or visitors. Also, add plugins that work as anti-spam tools to block malware, SEO spam, etc.
Attackers can simply insert unhealthy code into the backend of your website. This can also be done through obsolete extensions and themes. Attackers target these portions of your website to divert traffic to damaged websites or even plant forms that redirect visitors’ information to databases other than yours.
The best way to sort this out is to keep your website up-to-date with the latest versions of each component. Make sure that every part of the website including themes and plugins is updated on a regular basis.
Keep a strict eye on any third-party software as well as equip the site with a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The Firewall will restrict any unauthorized entry into the website by keeping an eye on the traffic.
Hackers can easily exploit your website by embedding numerous spam links through outdated software, themes, plugins, and more. They can flood your database with fraudulent entries and corrupt it. An enormous amount of such entries will bring down your website, which is a big loss especially if you are an eCommerce platform.
This can be prevented by blocking automated scripts or bots by implanting technology like ReCAPTCHA, which differentiates between humans and bots. This action prevents the submission of susceptible forms and hence, stops probable attackers from entering the website.
Again, we cannot underestimate the power of keeping the website updated. As a reminder, your support team needs to keep the site and its components aligned with the latest versions.
This is probably the worst way of entering the website. In this case, the attackers enter the supply chain of the software business. They either buy a corrupt extension or alter the code of an existing one with the malware. Once this manipulated plugin gets installed on your website, it becomes vulnerable to threats. It can capture customers’ information and data without your knowledge.
The best way to avoid this situation is by using security plugins that combat any unexpected activity on the website. Again, update the site, themes, and plugins recurrently to spot any such software.
As WordPress is open source, its developers keep checking any malfunctioning plugins and block them. It is solely the site owner’s responsibility to cross-check the reviews of every component they purchase for the website.
There are many more ways to create a top-performing, safe WordPress website. We will discuss more WordPress development in the coming days. If you are using a WordPress website, this information may help you safeguard it. Hopefully, you can apply a few of the measures to restrain WordPress security issues on your website.
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