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Top 7 WordPress Vulnerabilities and how to solve them

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Aren’t we all tired of wasting time, money, and other resources in making sure our websites are strong enough to sustain brutal attacks online? It is essential to weigh the number of vulnerabilities a website can have. Looking at online reports stating how unreliable WordPress can be when it comes to security is a matter of concern for any user. It makes you question whether using WordPress was a good choice or not. 

But you needn’t worry, let this article be a guide for you in detecting vulnerabilities and how to resolve them.

Top WordPress Vulnerabilities & Their Fixes

Unauthorized logins

When it comes to unauthorized logins, WordPress makes it easier for attackers to perform brute-force attacks on a user’s website. 

Brute-force attacks consist of attackers using a trial-and-error approach to guessing possible combinations of login credentials until the correct one is discovered.

With no limit to login attempts, attackers use bots to guess login credentials and if they’re lucky, all your personal information may be at risk.

unauthorized login in WordPress

These attacks usually happen due to the use of weak usernames and passwords. Weak credentials not only put your website at risk but if you’re using a shared-hosting login, it can also be suspended by Google. 

How to safeguard your site from brute-attacks?

The easiest way to fight against brute-force attacks is by creating strong credentials once and for all. For most bots, attacking sites with weak passwords is a piece of cake but, performing hacks on websites with strong credentials takes time and effort.

With strong username and passwords, you can ensure that your website remains safe from leaking your account details, bank information, and much more.

Strong passwords sure do something but, remembering them is a bigger struggle. Password managers are what we need. These applications do everything from developing, storing, and keeping them safe.

Okay, enough about strong passwords. Let’s look at some additional measures which can prevent unwanted entries.

  • Two-factor authentication Aside from a primary username and password protection, you can use an expirable code. This way users are granted access only after presenting two or more pieces of evidence.
Two-Factor Authentication
  • Reputable WordPress plugins– Using reputed plugins with good review ratings, regular updates, and good backend support is proven to be an effective method in securing your site.

While there are many plugins out there that facilitate in protecting your site, here is the best plugin to fight against brute-force attacks.

Jetpack

If you haven’t installed Jetpack by now, you’re surely missing out on one of the best plugins available for safeguarding your site. Jetpack is an all-in-one plugin that blocks unwanted login attempts from malicious botnets and distributed attacks. Apart from blocking, it provides automated malware scanning.

Jetpack Plugin

Jetpack also allows you to protect yourself against traditional brute force attacks and distributed brute force attacks that use many servers against your site. 

Malware

Malware as the name suggests is malicious software specifically designed by cybercriminals to steal personal information from user devices. 

Malware protection in WordPress Website

Poorly written plugins, outdated core, themes and other software expose security holes for hackers to exploit. These are some of many reasons why malware affects WordPress sites.

Malicious software creates a backdoor to many problems. After installation, the malware starts affecting your website in undiscovered ways until it’s completely down.

How to keep your WordPress site safe from Malware?
  • Reviews and Ratings

Bad reviews and ratings can majorly affect a business. Imagine using websites like Amazon with only bad reviews, the same goes for WordPress plugins. Users should only trust the ones with good reviews and ratings.

  • Incompatibility

While the vast majority of WordPress plugins are compatible, there are some which don’t necessarily work. Incompatibility in plugins and themes may cause a site to crash or the internal server to fail. 

It is recommended by WordPress experts to back up your site, perform a compatibility test on your site before using plugins which might provide a detrimental outcome after installation.

  •  User Downloads

WordPress provides the number of downloads made by users on the page of every plugin. Downloads suggest whether the plugin is reliable or not. Fewer downloads mean a plugin is either a niche in its category or not reliable. 

  • Backend support

After the installation of a plugin, it is essential to inspect whether you are provided good backend support from the developers or not. 

Inspect responses from the support team. If you’re constantly receiving a negative response it’s best to uninstall that plugin, theme, or any other feature from your site. 

WordPress Roles 

While building a WordPress site, you may notice an administrative account made by default. After setting up your account, it is easy to add new users.

Role management in WordPress

Since admins have a larger set of responsibilities to perform, they tend to make this mistake of sharing admin roles with all users.

These mistakes lead to a larger problem which can be fatal for a website. 

How to define user roles?

WordPress offers six types of user roles that are in a hierarchical order and your power decreases as you reach down the hierarchy. 

If you want to define user roles, here’s what you need to do: 

Step 1: Log in to the WordPress dashboard. Go to Menu on the left and select Users> All Users. Here you can assign all user roles.          

wordpress-users

Step 2: Select Edit to visit your user profile 

There you can select a role for the user.

wordpress user roles

SQL Injections

One of the oldest hacks in the book of web hacking is injecting SQL queries to effect or to destroy the database using any web form or input field.

SQL injection in WordPress

Upon successful intrusion, a hacker can manipulate the MySQL database and quite possibly gain access to your WordPress admin or simply change its credentials for further damage. This attack is usually executed by amateur to mediocre hackers who are mostly testing their hacking capabilities.

How to fix SQL Injection?

By using a plugin you can identify if your site has been a victim of an SQL Injection or not. You may use WPScan or Sucuri SiteCheck to check that. 

Also, update your WordPress as well as any theme or plugin which you think can be causing issues. Check their documentation and visit their support forums to report such issues so they can develop a patch.

Running Website on HTTP

You must have noticed a few website URLs starting with HTTP. This HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. 

Websites use this particular technique to build a connection between their site and your website server and browser.

How secure is HTTP? According to some experts, it isn’t. Since the data sent between these servers aren’t secure and if decrypted, it can easily be read and stolen. 

How to secure a site with HTTPS?

To make sure your website is secure, switch to HTTPS. Both HTTP and HTTPS are used by website owners. The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for secure. HTTPS makes both, visitor’s browser and your server secure by encryption of the data.

HTTPS using SSL Certificate in WordPress

This prevents a hacker from stealing or reading your data. To do this, you need an SSL certificate. These certificates are provided by WordPress hosting providers or few trusted vendors which are both free and paid.

Denial of access to sensitive files

Files such as wp-config.php, install.php, and readme.html are sensitive files present in WordPress right after users are done with the installation process. 

The following code prevents access to user directory listings and hides sensitive WordPress files from unauthorized access.

In that case, use .htaccess

Options All -Indexes
Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow,denyDeny from all


Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow,denyDeny from all
Order allow, denyDeny from all

Change WordPress database prefix

Displaying the current WordPress version is an open invitation for hackers to your site. WordPress adds the latest version to the header section of themes. 

A great tip is to never publicly display your WordPress version. Hackers are consistent with finding vulnerabilities and attacks as soon as they find one in the version mentioned. 

The following simple line of code should be included in functions.php file of your theme to hide the WordPress versions.

remove_action( 'wp_head', 'wp_generator' );

Another way to secure your website is by using a WordPress security scanner. 

Vulnerability scanning inspects some potential points of exploitation on a computer network. Every day WordPress counters 50,000 to 180,000 unauthorized login attempts, vulnerability scanners will not only detect security holes but also provide the right measures to prevent them. 

Conclusion

The internet can sometimes be a dangerous place to be in, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a great website, flourishing your business, or simply building an online presence. 

We believe if you’ve implemented the above steps, your website will be safer from brutal attacks. However, safeguarding a website requires constant attention as new tools emerge. 

Vulnerabilities will always be present, what matters is how users detect, resolve, and eliminate them.

We hope this article helps you detect and fix vulnerabilities your site may have.

If you liked this article, let us know in the comments section below

Make sure you follow WP Uber for more informative guides.

WP Uber offers detailed site health reports and customized security solutions for WordPress websites.

Author avatar
Tim Michaels
I am into WordPress and web development for the last 10 years. I use my experience to help people just starting with WordPress. Follow my blog at WP Uber for everything related to WordPress.
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