WordPress has the biggest market share among CMS platforms and is thus a frequent target of hackers. However, it’s not inherently a security risk, as long as you use secure hosting, plugins and themes and update them regularly.
According to Cybint, WordPress sites managed by users that undergo cybersecurity awareness training have 70% fewer successful attacks than those without such training.
1. Automated Attacks
When hackers attack a website, they are looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be found in plugins, themes, or core code. Hackers use automated attacks to quickly scan many sites for these vulnerabilities. This type of attack is cheaper to run than hiring a human hacker and it can detect a vulnerability much faster.
WordPress sites are hacked for multiple reasons, including spam, phishing, credit card skimming, and SEO manipulation. One of the most common reasons is because of poor password security. According to WPManageNinja, 8% of all WordPress sites are hacked because of weak passwords.
Other reasons include installing insecure plugins and not using SSL/TLS. When a site is not using SSL, attackers can view all data that is sent to and from the website. This can include usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information. This can lead to a loss of revenue and a negative impact on your brand reputation.
Thankfully, a few simple changes can make your WordPress website more secure. Always update your theme and plugins and never install plugins from sources other than the official repository. Also, if you are not using a web host that supports SSL/TLS, change your hosting provider.
In 2021, the number of vulnerabilities reported in WordPress core, themes, and plugins was higher than in any previous year. However, the severity of these vulnerabilities decreased significantly, indicating that developers are spending more time fixing bugs than before. This is good news, but vigilance in keeping up with software updates remains essential for WordPress sites.
2. Brute Force Attacks
WordPress powers over one third of the web, making it a target for hackers. It’s a popular platform, and hacking into it isn’t inherently difficult because attackers only need to guess your username and password. However, it is important to keep your site up to date and use strong passwords. According to a recent WPScan report, 52% of all vulnerabilities are caused by out-of-date plugins. This is a significant number because it means that more than half of all hacked websites can be fixed with a simple update.
Brute force attacks are a common form of attack against WordPress sites. It involves using a program to try thousands of combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols until they can guess your login information. Attackers can do this manually or automatically, and it can take as little as a few seconds to crack a weak password. This is a serious problem, as it can cause your website to crash and put your visitors at risk of identity theft or malware infections.
Another type of hack that can affect WordPress is a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. This is when an attacker injects malicious code into your website that can be used to steal information, run a phishing campaign, or other malicious activities. These are the most dangerous types of hacks that can be found on WordPress sites and should be addressed as a matter of priority.
Overall, keeping your website up to date is the best way to avoid hacking incidents. This includes the WordPress core, as well as any plugins and themes that you use. The WordPress website has a built-in option to update your site regularly, but it’s also worth checking the latest versions of any plugins or third party tools that you use on a regular basis.
Malware, which encompasses a wide range of harmful or disruptive programs, is one of the biggest threats to website security. Hackers can use malware to steal data, infect users’ computers with viruses or other malicious software, and damage websites. Fortunately, there are many tools and strategies available to prevent and mitigate malware attacks against WordPress sites.
According to cybersecurity firm Wordfence, more than 4 billion attempts were made in 2020 to exploit vulnerabilities in WordPress core and plugins. That doesn’t include unsuccessful attempts or those thwarted by other security measures on WordPress sites. It’s important to keep your site up-to-date and to apply updates as soon as they’re released. In addition, it’s crucial to avoid using outdated plugins, which can be a target for attackers.
Cybersecurity education has also shown to be effective in reducing malware attacks against WordPress sites. Cybint, a company that provides cyber awareness training for WordPress users, has found that sites managed by users who have undergone cyber security training experience 70% fewer successful attacks than those run by non-trained users. Therefore, implementing cybersecurity awareness training should be an essential part of any comprehensive defense strategy for your WordPress website.
Another way to minimize the risk of being hacked is by ensuring that your passwords are secure. Using complex passwords and implementing two-factor authentication will help protect your site. Finally, a web application firewall (WAF) can also protect your site against many different types of cyberattacks.
As the most popular content management system on the web, WordPress is a favorite target for hackers and other malicious actors. Taking steps to protect your site from attacks is a critical step in ensuring that your site stays online and running smoothly.
4. Unauthorized Login Attempts
As a popular blogging platform, WordPress-based websites are a common entry point for hackers. In fact, a recent study found that blogging platforms are the most commonly exploited platform for hacking. However, implementing multi-factor authentication can help to mitigate this risk. MFA requires the user to verify their identity with multiple independent means of verification, which significantly decreases the chances that an unauthorized attacker will be successful in breaching your site.
It is important to keep in mind that hackers are constantly attempting to access WordPress sites. These attempts are typically used for brute force attacks, where the attacker tries numerous combinations of usernames and passwords until they find one that works. This is why it is important to use a strong password and change your default username.
The most common hacks against wordpress sites include backdoors, SEO spam, and credit card skimming. Backdoors allow hackers to bypass the login channel and gain unauthorized access to your site. Credit card skimming is a technique whereby hackers inject code onto your website that will intercept the credit and debit cards of visitors to your site. These details can then be sold to a criminal network.
According to Sucuri, 4.3% of websites that were scanned by the service were hacked in 2021. This is a very high number when compared to other content management systems, with most not even breaking the 5% mark.
A large proportion of these hacks were the result of plugin vulnerabilities. This is mainly because most plugins are not updated frequently and can have security flaws in them. It is therefore recommended that you only use trusted plugins and update them regularly. 84% of surveyed WordPress websites did not have an active website application firewall (WAF). WAFs are a great way to improve your site’s security by virtually patching known vulnerabilities.
WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS), and its dominant global market share presents a significant attack surface for hackers and cybercriminals. Although WordPress core is solid, what you install in your website via plugins may not be.
Depending on their design, some plugins can provide a number of different vulnerabilities to attackers. For example, they can allow arbitrary file viewing, privilege escalation (allowing users that normally wouldn’t have access to admin tools), uploading of malicious files, and cross-site scripting attacks.
According to a report by WPScan, 52% of all known vulnerabilities in WordPress sites are from plugins versus 37% from core and 11% from themes. Furthermore, over half of hacked websites are running an outdated version of a plugin.
The problem is that many plugins come from shady developers, and even reputable plugins can have security issues. Developing plugins takes a lot of time, money and resources. Full-time professional developers need to be paid, infrastructure and testing facilities rack up bills, and maintaining a good reputation is costly. This is why some plugins are free, while others require payment or have premium versions that offer extra features.
When selecting a plugin for your site, always check user reviews and ratings on third-party websites as well as the WordPress plugin repository. Look for any mentions of security issues. If the plugin has a poor rating or hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s best to find another one. Also, remember that the more popular a plugin is, the more likely it is to have vulnerabilities.