WordPress Website - 5 Nov 2022
Is Your WordPress Website Safe from Threats?
It is virtually impossible to run a successful WordPress website without investing in data security.
Regardless if your website sells sewing patterns to a small niche market or you’re a worldwide retailer of pricey footwear- security is a critical component of any WordPress site. Without adequate security, you leave your website and user information vulnerable to cyber-attacks. You can be sure if there is a weakness to exploit, then a potential hacker may discover it.
Website attacks are, unfortunately, far more common than you might think, and as the most popular open-source platform out there, WordPress is one of the chief targets. Throughout 2020, Wordfence – WordPress’s in-house team of software engineers and security analysts reported blocking an astonishing 2,800 WordPress attacks per second. That’s over 90 billion malicious login attempts in a single year!
Your WordPress Security Needs to Be a Priority, Not an Afterthought!
Website compromises can have long-lasting negative consequences, in some cases, your business may not recover. That’s why all companies should prioritize their website security regardless of size or industry.
Reputation is Hard-Won and Easily Lost
It takes a lot of time and effort to build up your business’s reputation and you can spend years developing markets and building your consumer base only for a security breach to send you back to square one.
You Have a Responsibility to Secure User Information
Once a user’s personal and financial information is out there, there is no limit to what malicious actors can do with it. This sensitive information is used or sold to the highest bidder to perpetrate identity theft, account takeovers, or targeted phishing scams, costing businesses and consumers billions of dollars annually.
You Also Need to Safeguard Your Data
Consumers are not the only ones vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Security breaches leave you at risk for data leaks, ransomware, server crashes, and denial of service attacks, the consequences of which could damage your reputation and your business severely compromised.
Security is an Easy SEO Boost
On the bright side, improved WordPress security can help protect sensitive data while also boosting your SEO. Web browsers like Google love secure websites; if you’re not already following website security best practices increasing your security could land you higher on SERPs.
How Do Hackers Attack?
Now that you know a little more about what can happen if you come under attack let’s go over a few of the ways malicious actors go about gaining access to your sensitive data.
Brute-Force Login Attempts
A brute-force attack is one of the simplest yet most common types of hacks. There are several variations of this type of attack, but they all involve a hacker attempting to gain access to your information by guessing your password. Automated hacking software has made brute-force attacks even easier for hackers.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and SQL Injections
XSS and SQL attacks both target websites by injecting them with malicious code, often through means as basic as filling out a user content form. XSS attacks redirect users to malicious websites or applications where hackers can steal their data while SQL injections run behind the scenes on a website viewing or compromising sensitive information. Both types of attacks can wreak havoc on compromised websites.
Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks
DoS attacks aim to disrupt website availability by overloading servers with traffic, triggering a crash. DDoS (distributed denial of service) take this one step further by attacking servers from more than one machine at a time.
While WordPress has taken steps to secure websites against backdoor attacks, they are still worth mentioning. Hackers use cleverly concealed code among source files to create a “backdoor,” thereby granting them access to your website without needing your login information.
Steps You Can Take to Shore Up Your WordPress Security
With all the danger out there, it is helpful to know what you can do to help mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack on your website. The following sections will take you through simple ways to improve your WordPress security.
1. Make Sure you Have an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is an easy-to-get yet highly effective tool that facilitates an encrypted connection between your website and its visitors. You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate by looking at its URL; if a website URL begins with “HTTPS://,” it is secured with SSL. If the URL is missing the “s,” it does not have an SSL certificate. Many hosting services provide SSL for free, but if not, you can buy an SSL certificate.
2. Beef Up Login Procedures
Yes, if you allow permit them, people will still use “password” as their password. One way that you can help secure your WordPress site is by securing your login procedures. Best practices strongly suggest that you:
• Use and require other users to set strong passwords with a WordPress security plugin
• Enable two-factor authentication. This forces users to verify their login on a second trusted device.
• Don’t use the default “admin” as the name for your admin login; if you have already set up your admin user with the default “/wp-admin,” create a new administrator account with a different username and remove the existing one.
• Limit login attempts; this will help discourage brute-force attacks.
• Add a captcha to help confirm you’re dealing with a real person and block spammers and bots.
3. Install One or More WordPress Security Plug-Ins
Verified WordPress security plugins are a great way to increase the security of your website. Some are free while others are paid, but they all will help prevent the likelihood of your website falling victim to a cyber-attack with minimal effort on your part. A few WordPress security plugins worth exploring include:
• iThemes Security – detects and blocks suspicious activity, increases password strength
• Wordfence – malware and firewall scanner
• All-In-One WordPress Security
• Jetpack – a multifaceted tool that includes robust security features for small websites
4. Keep Your WordPress Updated
When the WordPress core team learns of a security flaw or other vulnerability, they quickly release updates to address the issue. However, the flip side of that progress is that current weaknesses are exposed, making them more of a target for hackers. To avoid having known vulnerabilities exploited, ensure you are always running the most up-to-date version of WordPress. Auto-updates are great, but you must continue to monitor your plugins to ensure they still function correctly after an update.
5. Only Use Trusted WordPress Themes and Plugins
Because WordPress is an open-source platform, hundreds of themes and plugins are available from various sources. But, while many of these themes and plugins might look cool, if they are not from a trusted developer, you’re better off not using them. Remember, just like you need to keep your WordPress up to date, you also have to periodically update your themes and plugins to ensure website security.
These Are the Basics, But Security Can Go Further
This blog covered some of the reasons why WordPress security is so important to your website and gave examples of how you can be proactive about your website security without too much technical know-how. If you want to drive deeper into more advanced website security features or would like to learn more about website security in general, the team at Nirvana is always available to help.