WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. According to statistics, WordPress powers 26.4% web and enjoying a market share of almost 60%.

It’s an only close competitor is Joomla, which comes at a distant second with 6% market share.

These stats clearly show the domination of WordPress in content management system space.

Every coin has two sides. Despite its advantages, WordPress also has some shortcomings that you should know about before choosing WordPress as the content management system for your website.

One of the biggest drawbacks of WordPress is its poor security.

Security has always been a pain in the neck for WordPress users. Even though WordPress is doing their bit to secure their platform but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can consider WordPress as a hackerproof content management system.

In this article, you will learn about five common types of WordPress security issues and how you can keep yourself safe from them.

5 Common WordPress Security Issues

Here are five common WordPress security attacks that can bring your website down to its knees.

  1. Malware

The word “Malware” is derived from the combination of two words malicious and software.

It is basically a malicious code used to get unauthorized access to a website or data.

When it comes to malware infected WordPress websites, a malicious code has been injected by hackers to gain access to website files.

So, how can I tell whether my WordPress website is infected by malware or not? Just look at the recently changed file and you can easily detect a malware infection.

Malware can come in different shapes and sizes. Some of the common types of malware affected WordPress are as follows:

  • Malicious redirects
  • Backdoor attacks
  • Driven by downloads
  • Pharma hacks

The good news is that you can not only spot these types of malware but can also wipe them out as well.

Just delete the file which has been infected by malware, install a new version of WordPress and restore your website from a backup.

Make sure you take backup of your data before following this procedure.

  1. SQL Injection

WordPress websites use a MySQL database. Attackers inject malicious codes in SQL queries and send it towards your database.

When the server responds to such queries, it gets compromised and give easy access to data to hackers.

When hackers managed to intrude into your system, they can create a new admin user, which give them complete control over your website.

Hackers can also use SQL injection technique to insert new data into your database, which might include malicious links and spammy websites.

  1. Cross Site Scripting

If you do a closer inspection of WordPress security vulnerabilities, you will come to know that most of them are caused due to WordPress plugins.

In fact, 52% of security vulnerabilities in WordPress came from plugins. One of the most common vulnerabilities found in WordPress plugins is cross-site scripting.

Hackers tricks users into loading a web page that has insecure JavaScript code inserted.  

When the malicious script loads in the background, cybercriminals can easily steal data from your browser.

The best example of cross-site scripting could be a hijacked form that is secretly placed on your website and the data entered into that form is being stolen.

  1. File Inclusion Exploits

The code that runs your WordPress website is usually written in PHP and the same goes true for plugins and themes.

Attackers are always looking for loopholes in your website’s PHP code and when they find one, they resort to file inclusion exploits.

They use these loopholes to load and execute remote files which give them unauthorized access to your website.

Such type of attacks is very common as it let hackers get access to your wp-config.php file, which is one of the most important file during WordPress installation.

  1. Brute Force Attack

In a brute force attack, attackers use a trial and error method and use different combinations of username and passwords while exhausting all the possibilities or until they break into your account.

Even if the attacker fails to get access to your account, brute force attacks can bring your server down to its knees, as hundreds of login attempts can overload the system.

If you are on a shared hosting plan, the hosting provider will suspend your account as soon as their system overloads.

How to Overcome Security Issues?

Here are some of the steps you can take to overcome security issues.

  1. Use Strong Passwords

One of the easiest ways to keep your WordPress website secure is to use stronger passwords.

Use different combinations of numbers, symbols, alphabet, upper case and lower case in your passwords to make it harder to crack for hackers.

Keep changing your passwords frequently so that it becomes impossible for hackers to guess it.

  1. Keep Everything Up To Date

You will be surprised to know that only 27.2% websites have upgraded to latest version of WordPress.

With most users still using the older version, it is easier for hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities in the older versions and get access to private data.

Install the latest WordPress version as soon as possible and also keep the plugins and themes updated to minimize the risk of WordPress security attacks.

3. Stay Away From Non-Reliable Sources

Most WordPress don’t care about the authenticity and safety of the source while downloading plugins and buying themes for their WordPress website.

This is the reason why they come under malicious attacks. Try to download and install WordPress themes from reputable and reliable sources such as WordPress.org’s own repository.

Always purchase themes from companies who have been in business for a long time now.

4. Web Hosting

Choosing a shared hosting plan for your WordPress website is a risky option.

The server your website is hosted on is shared amongst multiple websites.

What this means is that if one website comes under security, your website will also be at risk.

That is why it is highly recommended that you go for dedicated server hosting for your website.

On a dedicated server, your website is the only one hosted on the server, resources are dedicated for your website and there is less of a security risk.

Which is the most dangerous security attack that impacted your WordPress website? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.

Atif Shahab Qureshi

Atif Shahab is Community activist specializing in Project management, Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Big Data, AI, Data Science, PHP, and WordPress Communities. He is a fan of classical music and loves traveling with friends. When he is not doing anything, he looks after his plants in his homegrown garden and spends time with his pets. Stay Connected with him on Twitter.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Knowing about these common WordPress Security issues is vital. It’s nice that you have shared these issues and the solutions. It’s essential that you must do frequent site check-up to avoid these issues.

  2. Thanks for sharing your great knowledge on protecting the WordPress website from the hackers. This is very helpful for business people like me.

  3. WordPress security is such a vital part of the whole blogging business that no one can allow themselves to be unprepared.

    Sooner or later any decent blog will get on the hacker’s radar, the only question is whether you are ready or not.

    This article is very clear and mentions some good techniques to fight online threads.

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