Top 5 WordPress Issues and Vulnerabilities Exploited by Hackers

The Top WordPress IssuesSince the end of 2004, the US National Vulnerability Database has recorded 389 types of WordPress issues and vulnerabilities. With more than 73 million websites, WordPress has become one of the most preferred exploitation destinations for hackers across the globe. While WordPress has been continuously releasing new versions that loop up the security holes, its popularity as a blogging platform has always prompted hackers to come up with new measures to hack information, interrupt service, redirect traffic or other purposes.

WordPress Issues And Their Fix

Although there are several ways in which WordPress issues can be tightened, only a few users follow them, which makes the platform even more vulnerable. The open source nature of WordPress means a lot of damage can be done also through vulnerable WordPress themes and plugins or through automated exploits, which can destroy your website and your reputation. These are the top WordPress issues and vulnerabilities that are being exploited by hackers.

  1. Insecure Plugins and Themes

    WordPress offers many free plug-ins and themes that enhance the functionality of your website with minimum costs. However, you have to be aware of the fact that they may contain vulnerabilities or even hidden malicious code that can compromise your website. It is very important to download plug-ins and themes from trusted developers and also keep them updated at all times to ensure your WordPress plugin security. You can also use web tools that monitor your WordPress sites for vulnerabilities and under the hood hacker activity.

  2. Strong Web Password

    A lot of WordPress issues can be avoided with good habits and a strong password is one of them. A good password protects your site from brute attack and acts as a security gateway for your site. If a hacker is able to hack your administrator account, then he can install scripts that can possibly damage your whole server. Do not use predictable and weak passwords (first name, last name, etc), try to use combination of letters and numerals, which are more difficult to guess.

  3. SQL Injection

    WordPress is a database backed platform that is based on PHP scripts, which makes it vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. This means that hackers can use URL insertion attacks to access your database. Once a hacker get access to your website using an SQL injection technique, he/she can easily steal sensitive information, such as customer data or credit card details, modify your website content or even delete your web files. SQL injections can be difficult to detect as it depends on the hacker imagination and experience. However you can prevent such attacks by changing the default database tables prefix and setting strict rules of accessibility in your .htaccess file hosted on your web server or by your web hosting provider.

  4. Databases Access via a Root Account

    All your WordPress content and web files are stored in one databases. If you are using more than one web application, each application will have its own database. Your WordPress root account provides complete access to all your databases that are saved on the same web server or under the same web hosting account. If a hacker discovers your root account credentials, then he / she can get access to all your databases. Therefore, it is highly recommend to create dedicated accounts to access each individual database, rather than using your root account. For more information, read our article on why should you avoid accessing your WordPress databases using the root account.

  5. Database permissions

    Database permissions allows a web application to access and also modify specific parts of the database. If database permissions are not tightened down, a malicious user can exploit such permissions and modify the database content and structure. Update your database permissions with the right privileges to make sure your website’s database is secure.

Hacking attacks not only make cyber criminals rich and satisfied, they affect your site’s position in terms of search engine rankings. A site infected by spam is not only ranked low, it also gets highlighted, which adversely affects its reputation and business potential.

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  • Two problems:
    1) Filezilla stores passwords in a plain text file, available to hacker. There are exploits that will grab that file and use it to insert an iframe malware into WordPress installs..

    2) Website defender doesn’t seem to look at the theme files for file date or content changes. Which caused a malware attack via the FileZilla vulnerability to not be noticed for two weeks….and not reported by WebsiteDefender.

    Which caused me and my client to not be happy.

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