WordPress is definitely the leading content management system (CMS) that powers nearly one-third of websites over the internet today. At least half of all the millions of WordPress websites use the free WordPress.com platform while others are self-hosted. All of these websites in various measures share the same length and breadth of security vulnerabilities that are by default common to this platform.
Here we are going to explain these common and default security vulnerabilities of the WordPress platform and their appropriate remedies. Fortunately, WordPress plugin development companies continue to come with helpful plugins for these security fixes. Plugin or no-plugin, we can explain these fixes in both ways. Let’s start.
The Website Showing The WordPress Version
The free WordPress site using the WordPress.com domain platform is configured in a way so that it shows openly that the site is based on WordPress. But that’s not all, the free WordPress website also shows the version you are using and this exposes your website to several security vulnerabilities and threats.
It is important to fix this issue. Well, to help you hide this you can opt for the Hide My WP Plugin. This will completely hide the default WordPress declaration from all pages and you can prevent unwanted exposure to potential security threats and hackers who are searching for soft targets among the WordPress websites.
Exposure For The Location of The Admin Area
Another default security issue is the common location of the admin area or admin login page that everyone knows. When the location is known to everyone, it is not entirely uncommon for the people with malicious intent to carry out a brute force attack on the website.
This threat should be fixed to prevent hackers and people with malicious intent from reaching the admin page. This can be done in two different ways. One way to do this is to change the physical location of the admin page address by using just a few code lines or by using a security plugin that changes the IP address to prevent detecting the login or admin area. For the second method, you have plenty of useful plugins like iThemes Security Pro, Sucuri, Wordfence, and several others.
Vulnerable or Weak Password
Since passwords still offer the first line of security cover for any WordPress website, it is important to use stronger passwords to protect the website from all kinds of security threats and malicious intrusions. Make sure your WordPress website requires using complex passwords needing at least 12 characters comprising alphanumeric values and special characters.
Since hackers use bots to try dozens of passwords in a few seconds, it is important to take extra measures protecting the passwords. Make sure the website tells admin and the users to change passwords every once in a while or before the passwords really get old. Moreover, don’t allow using the same password within a span of six months or a year. Make sure the same passwords are not used in other platforms and apps.
Since WordPress is a platform that uses PHP code and it works by creating a WYSIWYG environment, inserting the URLs is easier and this is often carried out with malicious intent and we call this security threat SQL injection.
To prevent this default security threat that every WordPress website is exposed to update the website to the latest WordPress version. Another trusted way to prevent this happening is to take help from resources such as WordPress Security Scan that can easily detect deep lying URLs trying to fetch data. Make sure you keep using the latest version of the PHP and update all the plugins and themes that often becomes the source of SQL injections and similar security threats.
Since MySQL is the common database across WordPress websites, it becomes a frequent target for hackers. The hackers already know the default database prefix which is wp_. To prevent hackers from making any intrusions, it is important you change this prefix for the WordPress database. Make sure you take prior backups of the database before incorporating such changes to prevent any loss of data in the process.
Open Firewall Settings Exposed To Bot Attacks
The firewall settings that by default comes with the WordPress are very open that can even be targeted by the bots. You can easily fix this issue by implementing the 5G blacklist firewall rules. You can just copy these rules into the .htaccess file or you can install a plugin meant for this action. Alternatively, you can always grab a great security plugin that automatically brings in the rules in the .htaccess file.
Persistent And Suspicious WordPress Login Attempts
A WordPress website by default allows unlimited login attempts without flagging the same as a security issue. Such persistent attempts can very well indicate the security flaws and hacking attempts and to prevent this happening you can limit the login attempts for your WordPress website.
One of the easiest ways to get this done is by using the Limit Login Attempts plugin. In the case of some hosting solutions, the feature is already included in the package. If you have opted for the security measure of allowing only your IP address to access the login page, you are already protected from this threat.
Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks are another type of security attacks carried out by the hacker. It involves trying admin as a username and a multitude of password combinations. This security threat is pretty easy to handle compared to others.
Use the already mentioned plugin for limiting plugin attempts. If you have already fixed your own IP address only for having access to the login page, the brute force attacks are completely averted.
Hijacking An Open User
For WordPress websites where multiple people need to log in as admins and access the admin area, the website is likely to have bigger security risks than normal WordPress websites with a single admin role. In the case of multiple people working on your website, someone leaving the seat with the admin area kept open for others to see can invite unwanted security threats from the vicinity. Such threats are mainly common in shared workplaces.
To prevent this from happening, use the Inactive Logout plugin that will automatically log you off when you are inactive for some time. Apart from using such plugins, it is important to sensitize the people working in the shared workplace about such threats and the need for logging out before leaving for a coffee break.
So, though WordPress by default comes with several security vulnerabilities and threat perceptions, addressing them is not difficult if you know the fixes. Apart from the above fixes, it is always advisable to use a quality security plugin for maintaining the overall health of the website.
Yakshit Bose is the Senior Developer at leading Custom WordPress Development Services Company CMARIX Technolabs Pvt. Ltd. He is an experienced, WordPress developer. He likes to share his thoughts on Web development, CMS development, and Technology News.