About 40% of the websites available on the Internet run on WordPress. From giant corporations to small business owners, WordPress is used by almost everyone irrespective of their purpose or ideas. As the world becomes closer due to the Internet, digitalization takes over and it becomes increasingly necessary to be able to scale your business to a global audience.
Although you can build a simple website on WordPress, there are thousands of plugins and themes made available by third party developers which help improve your website’s functioning. With such a large amount of user base and different options for customizations, it makes a site more vulnerable to cyber attacks. While the developers for WordPress try their utmost best to keep the platform secure, it is also the responsibility of the community and website owners to safeguard the platform on their own end.
Hackers attack a website to gain access to confidential data which they use for their own monetary gain. They can use the data they obtain from such attacks to target people individually or upload it on the web for the world to see. There are several ways of doing this and therefore today we will look at some of the most common ways WordPress websites are attacked and what we can do to help protect our websites against these attacks.
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Not the most elegant of the attacks that we will list today but certainly one of the easiest, brute-force attacks are made by using wordlists containing hundreds of thousands of possible username password combinations until the right match is hit. It is trial and error method of getting access to a user’s account by using automated scripts.
Therefore it has become one of the most popular cyber attacks of all time across the Internet. By default, WordPress assigns the username ‘admin’ to all administrator accounts which is a very common and weak security detail.
Failure to change this results in you doing half the work for attackers as now they only have to guess your password. To safeguard yourself even further, you can use a unique combination of letters, numbers and special characters to generate a passphrase which is strong and cannot be easily guessed.
You can limit the number of login attempts required for you website. And as a last defense you can set up 2FA in order to stop hackers from just waltzing into your account.
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks:
Distributed Denial of Service Attacksor put simply DDoS attacks, are attacks where hackers bombard servers with multiple requests at a single time. This causes the server to crash as it is unable to handle the large volume of users. Even big corporations such as Netflix have fallen victims to such attacks.
Usually a botnet is deployed to engage such attacks which makes them pretty well hidden and disguised. As these are pretty well organized, stopping them can prove to be an extremely difficult task. Cloudflare, a popular web host, provides excellent security protocols which helps flag IP addresses for suspicious activity and stops DDoS attacks from executing perfectly.
Cross Site Scripting Attacks:
SQL Injection Attacks:
SQL injection attacks are one of the most common attack practices employed by hackers. In such type of attacks, hackers try to gain access to your website by injecting malicious SQL queries in to your MySQL database. This is usually done by utilising those sections of your website which require user input. This includes access points such as search boxes, contact forms or even your comment section.
Proper configuration of these fields is required to validate and sanitize the data which is sent to your database. However having improper configurations is like giving hackers an open invitation to steal your data. Have your database name set to a unique identifier as opposed to the default one. This can help thwart cyber attacks on your website.
Plugins and Themes:
WordPress provides the option for you to customise you website using different plugins and website. These additional features help your website stand out and enrich the user experience. However they can also act as major security vulnerabilities in some cases. First and foremost, you should always use plugins from a reputed source. Check user reviews before installing any plugin or theme.
Using plugins developed with malicious intent can breach your website and take control over it in the blink of an eye. It is also possible that plugins may have security flaws despite their good reviews. In such cases, developers send out patches in order to fix them. You should always develop the habit to update your plugins and themes as soon as they are released as it helps secure your website from such attacks.
You can also use the Plugin Security Scanner available on your dashboard in order to scan your plugins for security vulnerabilities. If a plugin has not been updated for a long time, it is quite possible that the developer has abandoned it. In such cases it is in your best interests to stop using such plugins as they are not up to date with the latest security measures.
We hope that we were able to impart some insights in to how your WordPress website can be targeted by hackers in order to gain access to your confidential data. We also provided you with tips as to how you can secure website against such attacks. We hope that after reading this article you take the appropriate measures needed in order to safeguard yourself against such malicious attacks and keep your website safe and secure.