21 Mar Top 10 WordPress Security Issues You Should Know in 2021
Imagine you have a perfect weekend getaway and head to the office, only to find out that the door lock is broken. It’s one of the worst feelings imaginable and with a lot of expensive equipment stolen; it can be quite a lot of pain.
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However, if you spend money on good security, you can be assured that such incidents do not occur. The same extends to the cyber world as well, where theft is much more commonplace. If you run a website and have tended to it for a long time, you know how much pain you’d feel if it was hacked. WordPress, one of the most commonly used content websites is one that tends to take a lot of hits because of poor management from the client end.
We’ve created a list of the common WordPress security issues and have offered tips on how to fix them:
- Not Updating WordPress or its Add-ons
Running a website is no easy task. Once you set it up, you’ve got to manage the same. When websites aren’t managed properly, disasters strikes.
There are two main reasons why website owners do not keep their sites up to date. One is because they feel that hackers would not target smaller sites. This is untrue because hackers prefer targeting smaller websites as they’re easier to get into. Another reason is incompatibility as WordPress websites can break if updated. If done properly, they will add a layer of security.
- Buying/Using Poor Add-ons
WordPress themes and plugins are what combine to create WordPress add-ons. These add-ons, just like the core, should go through quality control or a stringent security check. Poor WordPress add-ons can make websites vulnerable to hackers.
Bad or poor plugins or themes leave the site vulnerable to attacks so keep a few measures in mind when choosing a WordPress plugin or theme:
- Get the WordPress plugins and themes from reputed sources
- Do not purchase plugins or themes on huge discounts or unknown websites as they can cause serious security risks
- Choose plugins and themes with good reviews and ratings
- Also sure that the WordPress add-on updated regularly
- Bad Login Practices
WordPress sites get their WordPress login pages attacked the most. The WordPress admin uses the login page as the gateway for anyone who has complete access to the site. There are many login mistakes – from weak credentials and staying logged in when you’re away from the website.
With it comes to WordPress login protection, keep note of some these flawed login practices:
- Using easy-to-guess usernames and passwords such as “admin” or “password123” Use a password manager to make the job easier for you
- Having the same username and display name can make it easier to guess the login credentials. Try a different username to make it easier for yourself
- Other measures including setting passwords to expire and restricting the dashboard access for a specific time
- Making Contributors on Sites “Admins”
User roles can be assigned to users on the site by the site owners. Avoid giving every user complete power over the website. Based on the Principle of Least Privilege, WordPress allows website owners to choose among five roles:
- Admin or Super Admin – Has ultimate control and decides the content that goes out regularly
- Editor – Has control over publishing content
- Author – Has the power to modify or publish content on the site without controlling others
- Contributor – Can read, delete or edit content but cannot publish
- Subscriber – Capable of only reading content and does not have other rights
- Being a Theme/Plugin Hoarder
Even if you’re trying out new themes and plugins, make sure you delete the ones you don’t plan to use. Keeping them can put the site at risk. Vulnerable plugins can get the site compromised, so it’s better to delete unused plugins as soon as possible. Older user accounts, the ones that are no longer active can be used to gain access into the website. Hence getting rid of them is a good idea.
- Not Using Firewalls
WordPress firewalls act as security guards to your websites and blocks any suspicious IP addresses trying to access your site. Not using firewalls can lead to a hack that can infect your website with malware. Common WordPress infections include:
- Pharma attacks
- Drive-by downloads
- Malicious redirects
Stay vigilant of these WordPress infections and protect yourself from any malicious activity by using a WordPress firewall.
- Remaining on Shared Hosting
Many web host providers generally offer a certain degree of security to the websites. The two most popular type of hosting is shared and managed hosting. While managed hosting is considered a more secure and better option, shared hosting is more preferred as it’s not as expensive. With shared hosting, when one website is compromised, other sites are also exposed to the same threat.
On shared hosting, you also get a decent level of customer support, but this cannot be compared to the support that managed hosts provide. If you’re starting out, then shared hosting is a good option.
If you are using WordPress like 85ideas.com, the best option might be Managed WordPress Hosting, which provides a better web hosting experience with superior speed, security, and support for WordPress sites.
- Not Scanning Sites Regularly
Research shows that a website gets hacked at least 44 times a day. If Google finds a website falling under the hacked list, they immediately blacklist the site. This is done in order to protect Google users from accessing sites that can harm them.
Make sure you scan your sites regularly. This includes locations such as WordPress plugins, themes, core files, themes, databases and .htaccess files. When there are a wide array of places, make sure you check for:
- Signature/Pattern Matching – Matching files against websites against known malware patterns. If there’s a match, you receive an alert about an infection being found.
- Malicious Keywords – Phrases such as ‘base64_decode’ and ‘eval’ are associated with malware. Keep an eye on the same.
There are plenty of scanners that uses the methods that we just mentioned to scan a website. MalCare security service comes with a scanner that goes beyond these methods to identify new and hard to detect malware.
- Having an Unreliable Backup Solution
Losing websites can be a very painful and harrowing experience. WordPress backup services will, however, help you recover part or the entire site back to normal in case there is any data loss.
Finding the right backup service is important, so here are a few things to consider to safeguard yourself:
- Having the service available to back up every part of the site including themes, files, pages, posts, settings and other configurations
- Storage of the backups must be safe and generally not on the hosting server
- Have multiple backup versions in different locations. You can store the backups on a Google Drive or even Dropbox to be on the safer side
- Real-time backups are crucial for E-commerce site owners as they store every order and save you from financial loss when disaster strikes
- Not Taking Steps to Harden Website Security
Taking a few steps to harden website can improve security. Plugins like MalCare make it easier for users to take small measures:
- Blocking PHP execution in untrusted folders
- Disabling file editor
- Blocking plugin/theme installation
- Changing security keys and
- Resetting all passwords and activation keys for all the users
We hope that noting these security flaws helps you understand that any website – big or small – is vulnerable to hack attempts. Keeping the site secure ensures your site is impenetrable.