WordPress Security 2021 : Is Your Site Vulnerable?

Affiliate disclosure: In full transparency – some of the links on our website are affiliate links, if you use them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no additional cost for you (none whatsoever!).

Is WordPress secure? Do you keep on asking this question to yourself?

There are no vulnerabilities in the core of WordPress. Some of the world’s most dedicated and efficient engineers develop and maintain WordPress.

The WordPress platform cannot be isolated. A plugin, a theme, a username, and a password are available. By doing so, the CMS can be hacked.

Over the past decade, we have been securing WordPress sites against hackers. Every day, MalCare prevents 250,000+ websites from being hacked and attacked by malicious hackers.

A theme, plugin, or user credentials do not make WordPress vulnerable in and of itself. Weak credentials and outdated themes cause problems.

We’ll discuss these topics in this article:

  1. Hacks and vulnerabilities that are most common
  2. Your site should be protected against them by taking the following steps.

Our WordPress Security Plugin will protect your site against WordPress security issues. A firewall will protect your site and daily scans will be run. Furthermore, it will help implement a variety of hardening measures without breaking your website.

12 Most Common WordPress Security Issues And Vulnerabilities

The following categories can be used to classify WordPress security issues:

  1. The most common WordPress vulnerabilities
  2. Hacks common to WordPress

In order to hack your website, hackers exploit vulnerabilities on it. By patching vulnerabilities, hackers were less likely to be attacked. Your site may be vulnerable to these 5 major vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities in WordPress Most Common

1. Incompatible plugins and themes

Wordpress Security

Image Credits : Pexels

Since nearly a decade, we have specialized in WordPress security. Based on our experience dealing with hundreds of thousands of hacked websites, we know outdated themes and plugins are to blame for many of them.

Themes and plugins for WordPress can develop vulnerabilities, just as any other software can. A patch is quickly released by developers to fix the problem. A website owner who delays or fails to update his/her site leaves it vulnerable to a hack.

Consider Contact Form 7, which ranks among the top three form plugins in the world. Hackers were able to access your website due to a vulnerability that it developed. Even though a patch was released very quickly, many sites suffered a breach because they delayed, or outright ignored, the update. The site was restored back to normal after we cleaned it up.

2. Nulled WordPress Plugins & Themes

Nulled WordPress

Image Credits : Pexels

It is very tempting to use themes and plugins that have been void. The premium features are yours for free after all. Yet, these plugins and themes are not free.

In spite of what you might think, nulled themes and plugins are not distributed to help you. It is rather an exploitative motive.
Plugins and themes that are pirated include backdoors. You unknowingly create a window for hackers to open on your website when you install it.

As long as the pirated theme or plugin remains on your site, your site remains vulnerable. Every time it is hacked, it gets hacked again.
Additionally, pirated plugins and themes aren’t updated by their developers. Your website is also left vulnerable as a result.
There are thousands of wp-feed.php infections caused by pirated WordPress themes and plugins.

3. Poor WordPress Login Security

Security login wordpress

Image Credits : Pexels

Because it allows hackers to access your WordPress site, you login page is a common target.
A hacker can use bots to try out hundreds of combinations of usernames and passwords in a few minutes to crack your login credentials. A brute force attack is what this is.

It goes without saying that weak credentials are easy to crack, like admin, user, password123, and [email protected]

It will slow down your server if hundreds of attempts to log in are made on your site even if brute force is unsuccessful. WP-config.php preloads the entire website upon loading the WordPress login page.

You’ll surely experience a slowdown from that. You may encounter a 503 error if there is a system overload.

4. Poor Hosting Environment

Hosting

Image Credits : Pexels

Your website can also be vulnerable due to poor hosting services. A hosting provider is a chair’s legs. People sit on it. If your leg is infected by termites, imagine how painful it is. A chair collapses under this pressure.

The hosting of your website is also crucial to its stability. You will not be able to maintain your website if the hosting is damaged.
It is especially common for obscure hosting companies to have poor hosting conditions. You might put your website at risk of being hacked or crashed if you do not select the best hosting company.

In any case, your website can still be vulnerable even if you use a popular hosting provider. Hosts are prone to security issues with their services. In a shared environment, if one site is hacked, its impact will ripple out to the other sites.

5. Wrong practices regarding user roles in WordPress

Wrong reading Practices

Image Credits : Pexels

It is possible to choose from six different WordPress user roles. For each role, the following permissions are granted:

  • Administrator
  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber

Administrators have unrestricted access to the site and are the most powerful amongst them. It isn’t possible for just about anyone to have this kind of power. We see a lot of websites where all users are administrators.

One user can cause havoc on your site if they decide to take advantage of the power granted to them. If you ever delete their accounts, they can also install a backdoor on your site and setup ghost admins.

Or, they can make quick money silently using your data and site. Hackers have been known to change the bank account associated with the WooCommerce payment gateway and drain the store’s cash.

It’s also possible to lose total control of your site if some of the users use weak credentials.

The five most common vulnerabilities in WordPress are listed here.

A WordPress website can be attacked in a number of different ways due to such vulnerabilities. In the next section, we will discuss some common ones.

7 WordPress Hacks You Need to Be Aware Of

1. SQL Injection

An exploitable vulnerability present on your site is usually the basis behind WordPress hacks. Hackers exploit form plugin input fields to launch SQL injection attacks. Your site’s database will be injected with malicious PHP scripts to steal data or gain access to your site.

2. Pharma Hack

Pharma Hack

Image Credits: Pexels

The same vulnerabilities can be exploited to perform pharma hacks including themes, plugins, or weak credentials.

After infecting your ranking pages with spammy keywords and pop-up ads, hackers may install viruses such as favicon.ico malware. It is intended to rank the pharmaceutical drugs sold on your website based on its SEO credentials. They use pop ads to redirect visitors to their stores so they can sell the products.

An SEO spam attack is also known as this type of hacking.

3. Japanese Keyword Hack

Japanese

Image Credits : Pexels

Pharma hacks are very much like Japanese keyword hacks. A site is infiltrated by exploiting vulnerable plugins and themes. Next, you have spammy Japanese words and affiliate links injected into your pages.

After your site is ranked for Japanese, you’ll start attracting visitors who want to click on those malicious affiliate links and buy the products the hackers are selling.

4. Cross-Site Scripting Attack

A cross-site scripting attack involves exploiting a vulnerability in a plugin or theme to carry out a hack.
Imagine a vulnerable comment plugin that allows hackers to insert malicious links into the comments section. The link will give access to the cookies of anyone who clicks on it. Hackers access your website by stealing the browser cookie of your site’s user.
Session hijacking and cookie theft attacks are a type of hack, you need to aware of!

5. Phishing

Hackers use phishing attacks to gain access to websites by exploiting vulnerabilities (like outdated plugins or themes or weak credentials).
Spam emails will then be sent to your customers by hackers using the resources on your site. A hoax site, such as an e-banking site, lures people into clicking on the link.

Once visitors have shared sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, hackers can steal it.

6. Privilege Escalation

Escalation

Image Credits : Pexels

An attacker uses brute force to access your site by guessing your user credentials. Could they hijack a Contributor or Subscriber with low privileges?

With that kind of account, they wouldn’t be able to do anything. An administrator account is required. When that happens, they escalate privileges.

In order to gain full control of the site, hackers exploit vulnerabilities in plugins.

7. WP-VCD.php Hack

By exploiting pirated or outdated WordPress themes and plugins, hackers can access your site and take control.
Sites like yours are used for storing illegal files, such as cracked software, pirated films, and TV shows. As a result, your website becomes extremely slow due to the hogging of resources. Hosting providers even suspend websites when they realize that they are using excessive amounts of resources.

The most common WordPress hacks have come to an end. Unless you take the following security measures, your website is likely to suffer from one of these attacks.

How to Fix the Most Common WordPress Security Issues?

We went over the types of hacks that WordPress websites can experience as well as common vulnerabilities that WordPress websites face.
Here are some patching instructions. By doing this, hackers are much less likely to succeed.

1. Install a WordPress Security Plugin

The security plugin market offers many options, but they are not all effective. There are many people who make a lot of noise but lack the ability to deliver.

We are not selling B.S. at MalCare. The plugin provides the site with security measures that are not only effective, but actually prevent hackers from accessing the site.

Your security holes will be sealed with this program.

  • Maintaining your site with the plugin is easy.
  • You’ll receive an alert when malware is found on your site.
  • It will enable you to take WordPress-recommended measures to harden your site.
  • The firewall will separate bad traffic from certain countries and devices as well. Site access is blocked before hackers or bots can access your site.

2. Keep Your Website Updated

Updating your security is crucial. We can’t stress this enough. In the earlier section, we mentioned that most hack attacks are caused by outdated themes and plugins. This occurs when the site is not updated as soon as possible. Sites that have this vulnerability are vulnerable to hacking.

Discover how to keep your WordPress site secure. To ensure that updates to your WordPress site do not break it, follow this guide.

3. Stop Using Pirated Plugins & Themes

Backdoors are distributed by pirating themes and plugins. Websites can be accessed without your knowledge.
Some of these sites share resources and provide assistance. Plugins and themes can be uploaded pirated. Uploads of plugins and themes, containing malware, are not vetted by WordPress and hackers take advantage of this.

It’s crucial that you don’t use pirated themes or plugins.

Even when you get a pirated theme or plugin from a trusted friend, they won’t be updated. Keeping your website up to date is essential.

4. Implement Login Security Measures

Your login page is constantly targeted by brute force attacks by hackers. The page can be protected in a few ways. Here are those:
Take note of any usernames or passwords you use on your site and enforce strong credentials. Passwords and usernames must be unique.
You may want to implement a CAPTCHA protection system to limit users’ failed login attempts. You can automatically enable CAPTCHA protection if you are using a security plugin, such as MalCare.

Implement Two Factor Authentication –

Before you can access your WordPress admin dashboard, you will be asked to input a code sent to your registered telephone number.
A two-factor authentication method is used by services like Facebook and Gmail to ensure that the correct user is logging in.

5. Implement Proper User Roles

Every user should not have admin rights. Those with such power should only be trusted with a few people.
Ask yourself what kind of permissions all of your site users need to function on a daily basis.
WordPress users have the following powers:

  • Administrator –
  • Controls the entire website and has access to all its features
  • Editor – Posts can be managed and published
  • Author – Only able to manage their own posts
  • Contributor – Posts can be written and drafted, but cannot be published
  • Subscriber – Managing their profile is all they are able to do

Make smart decisions about role selection.
These vulnerabilities are all covered here. By taking the above measures, we greatly reduce the chances of a hack. A site’s security must be hardened for complete security.

Impact of a Hacked Website

Your website might suffer terrible repercussions if it is hacked. Hacks of WordPress websites can lead to a variety of problems, including:

  • Those malicious sites are redirected to yours by hackers. It results in a rapid rise in bounce rates and a decline in time spent on the website.
  • Sites slow down as a result of pop-up ads on your pages or illegal files stored on the server.
  • Sites that load slowly are not welcome. The back button will be hit quickly by visitors. Search engines will notice that visitors leave your site pretty quickly, and they will interpret this as an indication of a bad website, one that doesn’t meet visitor expectations. Your site will no longer be ranked by search engines.
  • It’s a waste of time, money, and effort to upgrade your SEO technique.
  • Upon discovering that your site is compromised, Google and your hosting provider may issue misleading warnings to visitors, blacklist your site, and suspend your account.
  • Hacking websites are expensive to fix.

What Next?

Are you worried that your site might be hacked?
Furthermore, if your website has indeed been hacked, you should use a powerful site security plugin to remove the malware.

Also read:

Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson has been a freelance writer for a long while. She is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Digiexe, a digital marketing marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing & affiliate marketing too. She likes sharing her knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from ecommerce, startups, social media marketing, make money online, affiliate marketing to human capital management, and much more. She has been writing for several authoritative SEO, Make Money Online & digital marketing blogs like : DesignSkew, Crazythemes.com, Oldgeekjobs & Need4Hosting.info.

Leave a Comment

Best CBD