What Are the Most Common WordPress Security Attacks?

WordPress is a great platform, but it is also a very vulnerable one due to its immense popularity. As we covered yesterday, WordPress services a plurality of websites worldwide – which makes it a prime target for hackers looking to exploit widespread vulnerabilities. The WordPress team does a good job of patching up sudden vulnerabilities and providing updates, but some website owners do not update properly and/or ignore a variety of other concerns. Yesterday, we discussed how to stop would-be hackers; today, we’ll discuss the most common security attacks you can expect on your website.

Exploits via Bugs

By far the most common point of entry for hackers, the bugs that are present in each version of WordPress (and subsequently addressed) can make it very easy  for people to gain access to your website. Every time WordPress releases an update, its patch notes describe bugs that have been fixed by the update. Nefarious people use this information to engineer ways to access your website, which is why pinging servers with the latest version of WordPress is absolutely essential.

Password Guessing

The next most common way people can illegitimately gain access to your website is by guessing your password. This can be either through simple human intuition or by brute force, but weak passwords make it easy for hackers to compromise your website. If at all possible, using two-factor authentication for logging in is the ideal way to prevent this attack. In lieu of this, however, opting for a secure password with at least 12 characters – including upper/lower case letters, symbols and numbers – will protect you the vast majority of the time.

Malicious Comments

We all want people to interact with our blogs and websites. Unfortunately, abuse of the comment system is a prime attack method. In more minor cases, people will spam your website with faulty ads and backlinks to their websites – which can harm your reputation with search engines. In other, more serious cases, weaknesses in your comment system might allow hackers to inject code into WordPress and gain control of one or more functions. Opting for comment approval is wise here.

Compromised Plugins

The great thing about WordPress is the wide variety of plugins available to everyone. This is also a security liability, however. Always be sure to carefully research and read reviews for any plugin before downloading. You might otherwise inadvertently download a plugin that functions as a trojan horse, allowing access to your website through it. A general rule of thumb is to look at both the rating and the number of reviews for any plugin via its download page on WordPress. Additionally, be sure to disable any plugins on your website not currently in use to further minimize this risk.

Now that you know which security threats are the most common forms of attack, you can be aware, take charge and prevent these situations from occurring. WordPress has an immense amount of power but it requires common sense to function as intended. What are some other potential security issues with your website that you’ve observed or considered? Tell us below and let’s share our feedback for a stronger and more secure community.

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