It is not strange that WordPress websites would be at such a high risk of attacks from malicious hackers, as WordPress not only powers over 24% of all the websites available on the internet but is also believed to be given special treatment by Big Old G, giving it an additional layer of credibility and respect other providers don’t enjoy.
Mischievous computer experts target such websites, be it for the fact that WordPress is more likely to be used by high rollers or the fact that their open source code gives the pernicious person a tad too much info, enabling them easier access to some of the places on your site you don’t want them to lay their dirty fingers upon.
In this write-up, we will explore such vulnerabilities, the ways they have been exploited, the pre-measurements you as a WordPress user can take and lastly, give you the ability to detect and report pages that have already been infected.
The Top Five Vulnerabilities Your WordPress Site Is Susceptible To
#5: WordPress is Open-Source
Firstly, as already mentioned before, WordPress uses an open-source code and with that in mind, a hacker can easily learn a lot about your website as the data is available for everyone to see.
How could this be an issue?
Let’s say for example that your WordPress site hasn’t been updated in the last three months and some individual or group managed to somehow find an exploit to the current version of WordPress you have installed: I believe that you can already imagine the horrid repercussions you would face if that were to happen, as these people that dabble in such shady business practices are unusually cunning.
They use bots to scan and search out a large number of sites that haven’t been updated in a while, giving them a quick report on all the potential victims in their wake.
#4: Default Username – Admin
The second issue I have with WordPress is the common name being given to all the administrative accounts for your website; you might have already guessed it, ‘Admin’.
Previous versions even went as far as guiding the hacker by openly telling them if the username exists or not, inviting more and more attacks on the site, as the malevolent entity that wishes to capitalize on your hard work are being motivated to do so.
Although this was patched out, the username problem has still not been fixed, with webmasters being advised to use ‘secure’ passwords in order to protect themselves. It smells foul, doesn’t it?
It does and it gets much worse as having a confirmed WordPress credential means that at least 80% of the job is done, with all that’s being left is to guess the password.
‘Not in a million years will they manage to figure out my secret combination!’ Is the mainstream thought, a destructive and harmful one, as hackers don’t spend years sitting on the computer and trying to come up with a secret formula, they use Brute-Force Attacks!
Brute forcing your way into a website is much easier than thought, as it allows you to filter through millions of possible passwords in a short span of time, increasing the chance that one of these, might be the key to your treasure.
#3 All WordPress database starts with prefix “wp_”
The third red flag on all WordPress websites surely must be the default attachment common to every page on the platform and that is ‘wp_’.
This just begs to be abused and it is, unless the user is tech savvy and manages to change the prefix.
The most common way of doing that is when installing a fresh WordPress page, allowing you to set custom flairs which are going to surprise and deter the hacker from harming you, as they are used to being spoonfed by WordPress.
If you already own an existing site, it would be best to hire someone to do so for you, as it requires a certain level of expertise and one mistake while playing with your database could mean temporary or even permanent downtime for your precious site!
#2: WordPress is Run on PHP
Additionally, a fact of interest being that WordPress is run on PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), which has accounted for over 30% of all the liabilities on websites since 1996, according to Wikipedia.
To add insult to injury, all commands are executed not on your personal computer but on another server independent of the user, taking the cards out of your hands and playing right into the hackers spill.
This gives scoundrels a chance to use SQL injections, granting them access to your site without your knowledge by revealing sensitive information.
Commands are set to be sent out in a spammy and precise manner, forcing the server side database to respond in a way which puts your entire site at risk.
#1: Nothing You Can Do Once Your Website is Exploited
Last but not least, as you may have already noticed, once an exploit is found in WordPress, there is little one can do to protect themselves or their data at all.
The dreaded ‘zero day’ has destroyed many companies who were taken by surprise as they had to watch all of their hard work squashed and burned to smithereens in mere seconds, as exploits that are able to harm one ‘template’ or ‘plugin’ automatically grant the hacker unsolicited access to each and every site using such infected malware.
This must be the saddest part of going with WordPress, as a wrong choice in themes can mean the difference between life and death.
If by any chance, your theme of choice were to be affected, all the websites in possession of the aforementioned theme would fall down like dominoes, there being little one can do as the ‘core’ of your website has been marginalized.
How To Scan Your WordPress Website For Vulnerabilities
We see it as our duty to show you how to scan your existing website for such possible exploits, as an entity might already be cutting through your defenses, without a hint ever to be revealed to you.
With over 7,5 million WordPress websites being affected by attacks every waking hour of the day, one is sure not to be excluded from such a merciless raffle.
Beyond the obvious precautions one can take, such as not having ‘password’ as your password or using vulnerable plugins known for causing problems, it would be best to hire a professional company to do so for you unless you are an expert in the field.
Most of us will shy away from such an offer as soon as we hear about a company doing favors for us, the first thing dancing around our mind being the hefty toll one would have to pay for such an honor but it is not all that bleak as it seems and here is why:
Most services are not free but they provide such value to your security and the general well-being of your users that this should be the one field in which you should absolutely NOT cut corners with, even if you have to spend a bit more than originally planned.
Once the scan is complete (usually lasting between an hour to a few days, depending on the depth of the scan itself and possible problems with your site, as well as the relative size of the pages) you are graced with a report that lists down literally EVERYTHING that could be wrong with your site.
Think about it this way:
These companies approach your site as if they were hackers trying to gain access but instead of going that extra mile, they report to you instead with their findings;
Most of them boiling down to:
- Was I able to do it?
- If yes, how?
- What can I change?
- How can you change it?
- Most vulnerable aspects.
Services like these will cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but you are lucky to find this website because we provide the same kind of service for a cheaper price. Just click the link below to find out more about our website vulnerability scanning service.
You should never perform security scans as a last resort and we hope that you now recognize the necessity of having a check done regularly on your site, not just to ensure that the website is safe and sound but that user enjoyment and feeling of tranquility is at an all time high.
Top 3 Tips To Make Your WordPress Site More Secure
Your doctor has probably pestered you with this adage for at least once in your life, ”Better Safe Than Sorry!” but in this case, it holds water and that is why we will share with you the top three things you can do NOW to make your WordPress site even more secure!
Secure Tip #1: Stay Up-To-Date!
This cannot be stressed enough!
WordPress is constantly on the lookout for possible exploits in their code and once an update hits, it is not without reason:
You can be assured that at least a couple of bugs or glitches have been patched that could otherwise have been used to harm your site.
It is paramount for your own safety and security to always make sure to update your plugins, themes and any other tools you might have at your disposal as this is the most surefire way to stay protected and offer the best you can to your visitors!
Secure Tip #2: Your Hosting Provider Matters!
I have a personal vendetta against shitty hosting providers, as one can do everything right and do their best to protect themselves but what is beyond their power and surveillance is the preservation of their website by their hosting providers.
When on the lookout for a reputable provider, make sure to have these questions popping up on each step of your quest:
- Do their prices match up to their promises?
- How do they treat their customers?
- Is customer service outsourced and unwilling or unable to assist you in your inquiries?
These are all common sense but still, you have to make sure to check each and every one of them as it is easy to be swayed by empty promises and huge promotions.
Our personal recommendation goes to SiteGround, as I am a witness of the quality (WPisLIFE is currently hosted on SiteGround), and they offer impeccable customer service, a 24/7 hotline and a money-back guarantee if problems were to arise.
Secure Tip #3: Remove Archaic Programs/Scripts From Your Site!
Most of the times, when searching for an upgrade, we discard the old tool we had used and opt for the better one, as any normal human would.
What has the potential to become a huge problem afterward is the fact that we most often forget to completely remove such programs and scripts from our site, letting them rot to death.
A bane for all websites becomes even bigger as the malicious program in your code is now not only there, but undetected, as you have long forgotten about it!
Given the very logical case when it comes to security and abandoned programs, that being that their security is lax at best, one would do best to guarantee that ANY unused tool is immediately and permanently removed from the list, as to not be a hurdle sometime in the future.
As you can see, having a WordPress website is no easy feat and one should never underestimate the susceptibility of their site to be infected and the amount of exposure your site enjoys purely stemming from the fact that it is bonded with WordPress.
This may sound a bit skeptical, but WordPress more than compensates for their vulnerabilities, otherwise, they wouldn’t have stayed at the top of the food chain when it comes to platform providers.
To summarize, most if not all weaknesses of your WordPress page can be alleviated with a bit of hard work, proper monetary investment (no cheapskates allowed!) and taking general care of your site and having it update whenever possible.
Most hackers thrive on your laziness and goodwill, they bask in the riches of those who think that it won’t happen to them so my biggest and last tip to all of my readers would be to stay informed and alert, as your passwords, usernames, sensitive information and the site itself could be in grave danger if not properly secured.