One of the biggest horrors that a site owner can experience is having his or her site hacked. Not only does this causes delays in the business, but this exposes information (both yours and your customers’) that can be used for various malicious acts. And even after you regain control of your site, you are bound to lose the trust of affected customers. Being hacked is genuinely horrifying.
With that in mind, it is vital to be aware of WordPress site vulnerabilities. Your knowledge of these vulnerabilities gives you the upper hand. Here are 9 of the most common WordPress site vulnerabilities, and how you can address them:
Out of Date WordPress Version
Like everything around you, vulnerabilities evolve. To keep up, software developers ensure that they stay one step ahead to protect their patrons. WordPress does just that. All the updates provided should not be taken for granted because these include improvements not only in functionality but also in security. Don’t make the mistake of not updating your WordPress version. Doing that will expose you to risks you do would not want to experience.
SQL injection refers to a technique used by hackers to infiltrate your site by injecting malicious codes into your site’s SQL statements. This can enable them to have access to your database, exposing all stored information.
To prevent SQL injection, you should control user input, and how this affects your queries. Makes sure that your codes are written with keeping your database protected in mind.
Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
Another technique used by hackers is cross-site scripting or XSS, which is the injection of malicious scripts usually through a web application. The lack of validation of user input is also the main culprit to this kind of attack. There are many types of XSS attacks, causing varying levels of consequences which range from pure disturbance to a full-scale account takeover.
Knowing this, you should take the validation of user input very seriously. Being too lax in this area exposes you not only to this threat but a lot more. Implement stricter rules in your programming, and ensure that anything that your users would key in should be validated before being accepted.
Low-End Host Provider
Your choice of hosting provider plays an important role not only on your site’s performance but also in other aspects such as your site’s security. Since hosting entails costs, a lot of websites, especially those that are running on a tight budget, end up availing the services of cheap providers. Of course, the costs of a provider justifies the quality of services that it can give its users, so a low-end provider will have to make compromises to operate at low costs. Sometimes, this compromise is on security.
As a responsible site owner, you should always be serious about security. If you are just starting with your site, make sure that you weigh your options. Never put security on second priority when you evaluate your shortlist. But if you already have a host running your site, assess if the security level is acceptable, and when it’s not, negotiate for fortifying your site’s security. It may lead to increased cost, but again, security is vital.
Weak Login Credentials
One of the most common mistakes of website owners is also a common mistake that most people commit: opting for weak login credentials. It is true that simple credentials are easy to remember, but such is also easy to guess, giving hackers the ability to steer the command of your site out of your hands.
To prevent your site from being hijacked, make sure that your admin user account, as well as its password, is hard enough so that it can be a challenge to be guessed. Never settle for the default admin user account, and do not use passwords that are very obvious.
Installing Untrusted Plugins of Your WordPress Site
A great thing about WordPress is the abundance of countless plugins that can help your site function to your satisfaction, and to that of your users. While there are a lot of plugins that can be trusted, there are also some that are not. Going for untrusted plugins exposes you to risks that can put your site and your users in danger.
It is therefore advisable to only make use of trusted plugins. Make sure to scrutinize a plugin before you install it. Furthermore, make sure that you diligently update your plugins as even plugins can be targeted by hackers to gain access to your site.
Similar to plugins, there is also a wide range of themes that you can use for your WordPress site. Themes also carry the same risks so make sure that you also use the same level of scrutiny when choosing the theme that you would implement for your site. It is always best to be a bit of a cynic than to fall victim to the tricks of hackers.
Not Monitoring your Logs
Your site activities are recorded, giving you the ability to review what has happened for a specific time. It also gives you the power to detect any strange activity. A lot, however, fail to utilize this power, especially those that have not experienced a hack firsthand.
It is fortunate that your site has not been hacked yet but don’t be lax. Make sure to spend the effort in monitoring your logs so that you will be able to foil a possible hack.
Malware Vulnerabilities on your Computer
Finally, the computer for which you administer your site may also pose threats to your WordPress site. It is especially true in the case of malware that may be present on your computer. Protect both your computer and your website by employing reliable anti-malware tools.
Free Your WordPress Site of These 9 Common Vulnerabilities Now
These nine vulnerabilities are prevalent, and these are where most hacks become successful. It is essential that you address these vulnerabilities to secure your site and protect not only you but your site’s users. Follow the tips mentioned above on how you can face these vulnerabilities now.
Author Bio: Kenneth Sytian is the CEO of Sytian Productions, one of the leading web design services in the Philippines. He has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. He is considered one of the top influencers in web design and development.