Information Technology

14 Common WordPress Security Problems to Watch Out

14 Common WordPress Security Problems to Watch Out
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
Information Technology
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
March 26, 2024
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
15 min to read
Aleeza Aleem

In this advanced world of web management, WordPress always stands out as one of the most popular CMS (Content Management System). WordPress allows most of the users to maintain their presence, online and thus is loved by millions of users, around the world. However, no matter, how much flexibility and ease of use, it provides, there are always so many security problems, which stop users from using this CMS. With that being said, we will discuss 14 common WordPress security problems today that you should watch out for. 

So, this one of the most important and beloved content management systems comes with a spectrum of threats that cannot be neglected. If you are thinking about HTTP 500 internal server error, well this is something different, while today we will be hitting the WP security problems. And, because it is quite easy even for beginners to use, every WP user must be aware of all the issues and solutions regarding WordPress security. With the help of this guide, you will be able to resolve these problems, for sure, by yourself. 

What is the Importance of Securing Your WordPress Website?

Securing your WordPress website is important because of so many key reasons. Otherwise, you may face different security issues which sometimes are difficult to resolve. It happens when your website is vulnerable and you have not taken any steps for its security. 

What is the Importance of Securing Your WordPress Website

Knowing WordPress Security Issues and How to Fix Them

No matter, if you are the one who is stepping into the website management world, or you are an expert, these WP security issues can occur at any time and thus can easily get you frustrated. It can be more difficult and inconvenient especially when you do not know about these issues and how to fix them. So, let’s dive deep into knowing 14 common WordPress security problems along with their solutions. 

1. Outdated Plugins & Themes

WordPress allows the ease of customization and thus most developers create hundreds of plugins and themes for the designers to use and make their websites appealing. However, any theme or plugin owner should take complete security precautions, because any outdated plugin or theme can expose your website’s security.

Some WP users might neglect to update their website’s theme or plugins which come up with additional security. And, due to this ignorance, these websites become vulnerable to hackers and they use outdated tools as entry points. Thus, a hacker can easily exploit the website’s theme or plugin and can have complete control over the website. 

Solution

Always remember to update your theme and plugins, even if your website is running very smoothly. Never miss any updates because developers usually offer additional security while releasing the new updates of their themes of plugins that you use on your website. 

2. Undefined User Roles

Whenever you create a website, there are basically six roles for the users to choose from, i.e. from administrators to subscribers. However, the administrator role is set by default. Each user role has different permissions so you must assign every user a role according to their tasks. If you do not change the roles, everyone will be automatically assigned as administrator, which means they will also have complete control over your website. 

This does not mean that your team members can harm your website with this control, it will just make your website vulnerable. Thus, hackers would be able to easily enter your site and get complete control over it. That is why, for the website’s security, it is always recommended to assign a role to each user, as an undefined user role may have an effect on your site. 

Solution

Always monitor all the permissions of your website from time to time. And, grant roles to every user so that they can have limited permissions and access to your website. If you are a sole administrator, take all the additional security precautions to prevent hackers from accessing your site. 

3. Denial of Service Attacks

A denial of service attack can block even the site administrators and visitors as well to access the site. This attack can occur by sending so much traffic to a targeted server that it crashes and ultimately your site will be gone. This attack can even bring all the websites hosted on that server, down.

However, it is possible to restore all the websites hosted on that server but it can be difficult to build the reputation of the attacked website, again. A hacker most often will do this attack from multiple machines simultaneously. So it will be difficult to assess the actual source of the traffic and this is known as a distributed denial service of attack. 

Denial of Service Attacks

Solution

You cannot rely on the plugins for safety from this attack, you must need very secure website hosting. Always find a reliable hosting provider that better suits your business needs and provides complete security to your website. 

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Spam

The spammy hack is the most dangerous attack because hacker usually targets what the website owner values the most on the site. The thing that any website owner values the most is of course SEO. With this SEO spammy hack, the hacker takes advantage of the top-ranking pages and fills them with the keywords. 

Any page should not be stuffed with keywords as it can break the reputation of the entire website. But, in this attack, hackers will fill up the pages with spammy keywords, and pop-up ads, and will use these pages to sell the items. Additionally, these attacks are quite difficult to detect, which makes them more dangerous for any website. 

Solution

In order to be safe from this attack, always update plugins, software, or themes on time. Also, you can install a WordPress plugin that can run a malware scan. Pay close attention to the analytics data and identify if there are any sudden changes in the SERP position for no reason. 

5. Phishing

Another attack to which your website can be prone is phishing. The word “phishing” came from actual fishing where people cast a line and wait to get a bite. In this attack, the hacker sends a massive amount of spammy links and hopes that at least one person will click it. With that click, the hacker will be able to access his website very easily. 

You might have received some emails as well regarding the spammy links as a warning. The reason that makes your WP site vulnerable to this attack can be any outdated plugin or theme. So, by not updating anything, you will be compromising your information, as hackers can do phishing attacks, thus entering your website.

Solution

Do not forget to conduct regular updates, use a secure password, and monitor your website’s activity. You can also install some security tools to keep your site safe from these spammy phishing attacks. 

6. Supply Chain Attacks 

Supply chain attacks also take advantage of two of WordPress’s features that every user likes,  themes and plugins. However, there are two reasons for this attack. The first reason can be that a plugin owner might have installed malware on a customer site. And, the second reason can be that hackers purchase a popular plugin and inject spammy code as an update.

In this attack, the hacker will be able to access the backend capabilities of the site. The hacker can even access all the secure files and can wreak the destruction all over the user’s website. He can even then do additional attacks like phishing or SEO spam. 

Solution

Luckily, you can easily fix this issue because WordPress developers can easily identify such fake plugins and themes, and thus can easily ban the effect.  If you are unable to identify them, you can always install WordPress security plugins that can detect any vulnerabilities by doing regular checks. 

7. Hotlinking 

In hotlinking, hackers or you can say different people use your work without your permission and you get no credit for it, at all. It is obviously the worst thing for content creators to experience when they work hard and someone just steals their content. The other websites will embed the content of your site hosted on your server.

So, the money that you are spending on your website to make it appealing to others, will result in the high monthly bills from your hosting provider. However, hotlinking is not like a spammy attack because different is using the content. If your content on the site is licensed and restricted then hotlinking is legal. 

Solution

To save your website’s content from hotlinking, there is an easy and quick fix, that to add discernible watermarks. It is a user-friendly option and is not meticulous for all the parties. People just require an additional step to remove your watermark in order to use your content. 

8. Outdated Core Software

To provide a smooth and seamless user experience, website developers continuously work on ensuring the functionalities and security of the website building platform that they use instead of building a website from scratch. Usually, WordPress developers do the updates every three months. 

And, it is quite necessary for every user to install all the updates to keep your website running smoothly and safely. Most developers think there is no need for updates but this act can make your website vulnerable and the hacker can easily enter your website. 

Solution

You can simply turn the automatic update from the WordPress dashboard on as it provides you with this option. So that, in case you ever forget about the updates, the core files will automatically get updated. 

9. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) 

CSRF - Cross-site request Forgery is a vulnerability through which hackers are allowed to influence the user to take actions that they do not even want to. With CSRF, the attackers can make the users change their emails, change passwords, and even transfer funds. 

In this entire scenario, the attackers can easily take control of the website and can cause massive destruction, bringing the reputation of the site, down. And, it becomes nearly impossible to rebuild the same reputation. 

Solution

Always remember not to install every other plugin without any reason, and keep a close eye on the site’s plugin updates. Additionally, you can save your website from CSRF by installing a WordPress security plugin or by implementing two-factor authentication.

10. Malware

The term malware includes malicious software or such files that can harm your website. The hackers will embed a code on the existing files to steal content and visitors from your website. Additionally, the malware might use "backdoor" files to try illegal access.

Through this attack, hackers can easily get sensitive information from your website, and can even cause other security problems. This is one of the worst WordPress security issues because it's quite easy to inject malware into your site through several channels. 

Solution

You can conduct a security scan to find if there is any potential malware. However, WordPress itself can stop malware. Whenever you upload a file that is not included, you will get an error message. Also, you can install any WordPress security plugin to find and resolve this issue. 

11. Brute Force Attacks 

Brute force attacks are used by malicious attackers to try different character combinations and guess login passwords repeatedly in an effort to gain unauthorized access. By constantly attempting to take advantage of weak passwords or vulnerabilities in login systems, these attackers offer a severe security risk to websites and the users who visit them.

Because passwords that are simple to guess are so widely used, hackers can acquire unauthorized access with startling ease. Once entered, they have the ability to take over your website and carry out a wide range of damaging activities.

Solution

Strict password regulations are essential. Users will have to choose lengthy stringings of letters, numbers, and special characters as a result. Even better is two-factor authentication, which combines passcodes sent to approved email accounts or mobile devices.

12. SQL Injections 

Hackers can insert dangerous SQL queries into website form fields by using SQL injection. These searches run on the website's database when the form is submitted or processed, which can have devastating results. Attackers can use this exploit to get around authentication, take sensitive data out of the database, or even change the database completely. 

SQL injection presents a serious risk to website security because it has the ability to jeopardize the confidentiality and integrity of the data that is stored. It is imperative to implement parameterized queries and strict input validation in order to mitigate this vulnerability and protect.

Solution

Before the website's database is processed and executed further, all forms and text fields need to be "sanitized." Usually, security plugins or the form handle sanitization. This is a multi-step procedure that guarantees there are no malicious SQL statements in the data from the forms.

13. Lack of Two Factor Authentication

Website security is compromised when WordPress does not support Two Factor Authentication (2FA). User accounts are more vulnerable to illegal access through password guessing, phishing scams, and credential stuffing in the absence of this extra degree of authentication.

Hackers might possibly cause havoc on the website by defacing content, stealing confidential data, or injecting harmful code by using weak or stolen passwords to obtain access. By requiring a second form of authentication, such as a unique code sent to a user's mobile device, the implementation of 2FA considerably mitigates these dangers. 

Solution

By implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), you may greatly improve the protection of your website from unwanted access attempts. You may prevent a lot of possible security breaches by asking consumers to submit a second form of verification, like a code texted to their mobile device.

14. Cross-Site Scripting

The term cross-site scripting (XSS) refers to malicious attacks in which an attacker inserts malicious code into a webpage. This code then runs in the browsers of other users who visit the website, giving the attacker the ability to take advantage of or alter data and perform other harmful activities. 

These exploits carry a high risk, as they might lead to virus dissemination, website vandalism, or illegal access to private data. XSS attacks compromise the integrity and security of impacted websites by taking advantage of flaws in web applications.

Solution

Closing as many security gaps as possible on your website is the best defense against cross-site scripting assaults. By doing this, you can be confident that hackers won't be able to uncover any weaknesses in your website and use them to upload dangerous malware.

To Sum Up!

After knowing all these WordPress security issues, and their solutions, now you can easily fix them on your own and can maintain your site, easily. Always remember to take all the necessary precautions and conduct regular updates. You can now detect the issue and can fix it but still, it is recommended to secure your website already by finding an authentic website hosting provider, in the very first place, and then by conducting regular updates. However, if there is any attack occurs on your website, you can now resolve the issue.  

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