WordPress Vulnerabilities

Top 5 WordPress Vulnerabilities And How To Fix Them

in wordpress on March 5, 2021
   

In this article, I have listed the top 5 WordPress vulnerabilities and how to fix them. So keep reading.

No software, web application, or anything that is based on a bunch of lines of code is invulnerable. Vulnerabilities are a part of everything in the computer world. They cannot be eliminated but can be remediated.

The process of mitigating vulnerabilities in a software or web application by patching them or fixing them otherwise is known as vulnerability remediation.

WordPress Vulnerabilities And Their Remediation

WordPress has truly revolutionized how the internet works. It is the platform that made it possible for anyone to create a website. However, how good WordPress might be, it is still not free of vulnerabilities.

Let’s see the top 5 WordPress vulnerabilities and the vulnerability remediation process for them.

1. SQL Injection And URL Hacking

WordPress is a platform based on databases. It runs by executing server-side scripts in PHP. Because of this inherent design “flaw”, it is vulnerable to attack by malicious URL insertion. As the commands to WordPress are sent by URL parameters, this feature can be exploited by hackers. They can make up parameters that can be misinterpreted by WordPress and it can execute them without authorization.

The other part of this vulnerability depends on SQL injection.

WordPress uses the MySQL database that runs on the SQL programming language. Hackers can simply embed any malicious command in a URL which can cause the database to act in some way it is not supposed to. This can lead to revealing sensitive information about the database which can, in turn, enable the hackers to enter and modify the content of the website.

Some hackers can also attack by causing the website to execute malicious PHP commands which can also have the same results.

Vulnerability Remediation Process for URL Hacking and SQL Injection

The theory behind preventing anything like this from happening is to set a strict set of access rules. To be on the safer side, you need to host your WordPress application on an Apache server. You can then use a file provided by Apache called .htaccess to define the access rules. Defining the correct set of rules is the vulnerability remediation for this weakness.

2. Access To Sensitive Files

Typically in WordPress installs there are a number of files that you cannot allow outsiders to access. These files include the WordPress configuration file, install script, and even the “readme” and these must be kept private and confidential. The innate design of WordPress offers little protection for these files making them vulnerable to be attacked.

How To Prevent This From Being Exploited?

The theory here is more or less the same as that for preventing URL hacking and SQL injection. You need to add such commands to the Apache .htaccess file as would block unauthorized access to sensitive installation files. You can use the following code to prevent something like this from happening.

Options All -Indexes

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

Order allow, deny
Deny from all

3. Default Admin User Account

Another WordPress vulnerability that is commonly exploited by hackers is guessing the credentials for the admin account. WordPress comes with a default admin account that has the username “admin.” If this is not changed during the installation process, someone can use it to gain admin privileges of the website.

Preventing This Vulnerability from Being Exploited

It is not wise to have anything on a WordPress site that can be guessed by hackers. This gives them a headstart and you don’t want that. It is true that a hacker will still have to guess or use brute force to undo the password but changing the “admin” username will make the website less vulnerable.

The best way around this is to make a new user account with an unpredictable username and password and assign it the admin privileges. Then you can delete the default admin account to prevent anyone from gaining access to your account.

4. Default Prefix For Database Tables

The WordPress database operates using a number of tables. The default prefix for WordPress installs is “wp_” and if you use it as is, it can be a starting point for the hackers. This is also the case of facilitated guesswork as to the previous example of WordPress vulnerability.

How to Prevent this Vulnerability from Being Exploited?

When you are installing WordPress, you have the option of choosing any database table prefix of your preference. If you want to make the WordPress install impregnable, it is advisable to use something unique.

Most of the hackers use pre-packaged codes to hack into WordPress websites and using a prefix for tables that is not the default one means that such codes wouldn’t work on your website. However, skilled hackers can still find a way around this but it can stop the majority of them.

5. Brute-Force Login Attempts

Hackers generally use automated scripts to hack WordPress websites. These scripts run automatically and attempt thousands or even millions of combinations of usernames and passwords to gain access to the admin account. This can slow the website down and can very likely lead to the site being hacked.

How to Prevent Brute-Force Attacks?

The first line of defense for your WordPress website against a brute force attack is your password. A long password with a combination of letters, numbers, and characters is hard to crack. However, malware can sometimes render the password ineffective.

Another remediation process for this vulnerability is installing a Login Limiter on your WordPress website. This can prevent an IP address and/or a username from trying new passwords after a set number of failed attempts.

Conclusion

WordPress can be very easily compromised by hackers by exploiting one of the many vulnerabilities built into the platform’s innate design. To secure your website, it is paramount to not use anything that can be guessed and to restrict any access to sensitive resources including databases and other information.

Also, if you like this article on the top 5 WordPress vulnerabilities and how to fix them, then please share it with your friends and social media followers.

   
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