Common WordPress Vulnerabilities & their Solutions

W3Techs indicate that WordPress powers 43% of the websites on the internet.

This open-source CMS (Content Management System) platform is very safe and secure and hence extremely popular amongst web owners. Its flexibility and scalability to make varied websites easily are loved by site owners who choose WP over other platforms. This popularity also makes it a hot target for cyber-criminals.

The openness of WordPress (WP) has raised many security issues which need to be addressed as well as fixed. Though the WordPress security personnel work 24/7 on keeping the platform secure from hackers and intruders, end-users also need to install varied WP security plugins to ensure site security.

It’s advisable to ascertain that all the loopholes are fixed, all the security vulnerabilities are addressed and all the end-points are sealed.

In this article, we have discussed some basic WP vulnerabilities and their fixations for a secured web environment.

So, without further ado, let’s get rolling.

Common WordPress Vulnerabilities & their Solutions:

Cheap WP Hosting:

When it’s cheap, it’s risky. The same stands true for web hosts too. Cheap and incorrect hosting may give rise to security vulnerabilities and can endanger your website.

When multiple sites are hosted on the same hosting account, a single exploit in any website can lead to multiple exploits and loopholes in all the sites, which can open the gateways for hackers.

Solution:

Ensure that you don’t fall for cheap hosting services to save finances. Prioritizing on-site security, avoid shared hosting servers which not only offer limited bandwidth and impact site speed but are unsecured too.

Use of VPS (Virtual Private Server) is advisable, which segregates varied hosted sites.

Vulnerable WP Login Fields & Credentials:

One of the most common WP vulnerabilities lies in the login page. Hackers are smart enough to perform brute force attacks and skip the authentications to enter the website.

Once they succeed in their attempt by entering the admin interface area, they can easily install malware or steal information.

Solutions:

  • Limit login attempts to prevent intruder entry into your system. The use of WP plugins like WPS Limit Login and Loginizer can help serve the purpose, since the system blocks the respective IP address, after specific login attempts.
  • Use strong and complex passwords to prevent brute-force attacks.
  • Use MFA (multi-factor authentication) or 2FA (two-factor authentication) to add another security layer to your site for preventing successful cyber-attacks.

Outdated Core Software:

The main benefit of using the WP platform for your site is that WP developers constantly keep on rolling security updates regularly to patch vulnerabilities. Many times, users don’t realize the importance of these updates and tend to keep them lingering by clicking “Update Later”.

Such outdated core software makes your site vulnerable since all the critical security patches are postponed. Outdated software, outdated themes, and plugins all simplify hacker entry into your networks.

Solution:

WP automatically updates itself in case of minor updates, but when major security updates are done, the user has to manually update them.

Install the updates as soon as a notification is visible in the Dashboard > Updates Tab > click Check Again.

Update all WP themes and plugins too for tight security.

Undefined User Roles:

When your website is stationed on WP, there are 6 pre-defined user roles like super admin, administrator, subscriber, etc. Specific tasks are assigned to each role and specific permissions are allotted to only the concerned ones, to restrict other users.

These roles are meant to give access to people based on their level. But many web owners never bother to assign the roles and hence each user is permitted admin rights. So, when an intruder gains access to your site, they get admin rights to steal or modify data.

Solution:

Being the main admin, limit the user permissions by assigning only the necessary ones as per the defined user roles. Assign read-only rights to the staff, to prevent human errors as well as intruders.

PHP Exploits:

PHP exploits apart from WP exploits can also affect your site and network. A non-updated PHP library can also cause an issue.

Solution:

Delete unused PHP libraries by opting for VPS and patch up that security lapse.

Installing Software from Suspicious Sources:

To save money, many web owners make the mistake of installing premium software/plugins from risky sites. When such pirated software are installed on the website, they are bound to make your site vulnerable and impact site security.

These software or plugins pave way for hackers thus giving them access to your site and data.

Your website may be used for compromising other sites, sending spammy content, phishing, DDoS attacks, or other nasty practices.

Solution:

Download software from reliable and trustworthy sources to prevent such mishaps.

Absence of Security Certificates:

Digital security certificates like SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates are very crucial for site security. Their absence on the site will show all the data transmitted between client and server in plain text, which can easily be compromised or stolen by hackers.

Solution:

Install an SSL certificate on your WordPress site, which will encrypt all the site information commuted between the client and the server.

All the sensitive data like passwords, other financial information, etc. will be encrypted (coded format), thus preventing hacker intervention.

Any secured site should show HTTPS in the URL. You can go with different SSL certificates from resellers available at low price and if you have multiple domain then Cheap Multi Domain SSL Certificate is recommended for your website.

256-bit SSL encryption, quick installation, unlimited re-issuances and server licenses, 99% mobile-browser compatibility, and a warranty of $10,000 are some additional benefits that this domain validation SSL certificate has to offer.

SQL Injections:

Weak security layers can invite varied exploits and one such exploit used by hackers is SQL injections. In this WP vulnerability, the intruder bypasses the security layers to access the WP site and database.

This entry may be via visitor forms or other input data, wherein they may enter malicious code to reach your admin gateway.

Once they gain access to the admin area, they can alter, delete, or add compromised codes to the site data.

Solution:

Monitor user inputs and restrict symbols or special characters in the input data. This will prevent compromised codes and bots from entering your network.

Use WP Form Plugin since it is secure and prevents third-party attacks.

XSS (Cross-site Scripting):

In XSS attacks, the hacker plants compromised codes into the site via web pages. Once they gain front-end access to your site, it’s easy for them to gain detailed/additional visitor information, steal information, or misuse the information for fulfilling their evil motives.

Outdated WP themes and WP plugins are the main culprits of such attacks.

Solution:

Keep your site updated always. Be it site software, themes, or plugins, update them regularly to patch the security lapses.

The use of WAF (web application firewall) is also recommended, which not only inspects the traffic but also wards off intruders from entering networks.

Install the WP WAF plugin to secure your site against such attacks.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks:

A DDoS attack is an evil attempt to derange the network traffic by sending huge spammy traffic to the server. This in turn leads to server crashes and impacts all the sites present on it.

These attacks usually target hosting servers to fulfill their motto.

Solution:

Using a reliable and trustworthy hosting provider can help prevent collateral damages by curbing DDoS attacks. Back up your WP site for preventing all damages caused by cyber-attacks.

Use an Anti-DDoS security solution (Protection against DDoS plugin) to address such attacks.

Few More WP Vulnerabilities:

  • Phishing: Hackers use compromised links, and when a visitor clicks those links, they become a victim of a phishing attack.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: Intruders use faulty plugins to install malware into the system.

Solution:

Updated themes and plugins can help in curbing these attacks.

Wrapping Up:

Your website can never be 100% free from vulnerability. But the use of strong passwords and installation of SSL certificate security can help in preventing intruder-entry into your system.

System software, themes, and plugins are the core areas where WP vulnerabilities exist, and hence keep them updated regularly.

Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and it’s advisable to monitor your site’s security all the time to prevent intrusions.

Hope the above-mentioned security solutions help in keeping your WP site safe from hackers. Best Wishes!!

Read: Top 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins

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