Which Vulnerabilities Are Most Commonly Found in WordPress?
WordPress has massive popularity on a global scale, giving it unprecedented reach into the homes and devices of billions. Webmasters and brand managers love the ease of us that WordPress offers, with its popularity anchored around being able to install and activate any number of useful plugins and solutions.
Even though WordPress is an absolutely phenomenal tool to have for modern website management, it does have some drawbacks. Because it is such a popular content management solution, many people are interested in finding ways to compromise its functionality for their own gain.
To be aware of what can happen if you’re not careful, let’s look at the most common vulnerabilities found in WordPress installations.
A tried and true staple of any hacker’s toolkit, SQL injections involve introducing various queries into your SQL databases in the hopes of gaining access and/or destroying the databases in the process. This is often a low-level form of attack that requires less skill than many other vulnerabilities that are exploited, but make no mistake: this can be a devastating attack.
Some successful SQL injection attempts may even allow people to gain root access to your WordPress admin panel, making it possible for them to start pinging users and visitors with whatever content they prefer. As such, the use of plugins that can quickly identify a SQL injection attempt – in conjunction with backup solutions that make restoration easy – is the recommended counter-approach.
Perhaps the most popular form of intrusion due to its flexible nature and potential for long-term abuse, malware injections into WordPress installations are a constant threat. Most forms of malware are relatively simple lines of code that extract select information or otherwise manipulate the website into displaying select elements.
Some forms of malware can be severe enough that a complete reinstall will be necessary, but most can be identified and removed through a simple set of plugins. To guard your WordPress installation from these threats, it is important to make sure your plugins and core installation are up-to-date, and to only use features, plugins and themes that come from authoritative sources.
Outdated WordPress Installations
One of the easiest and most common vulnerabilities facing WordPress users is the presence of out-of-date WordPress installations, plugins and themes. With every new release of a particular plugin or update, hackers can utilize previous vulnerabilities and bug reports to attack WordPress instances still running these older versions.
With around 40 percent of all WordPress installations globally currently using an outdated version, this is a major problem (and that doesn’t even include vulnerabilities from out-of-date plugins or themes). These vulnerabilities can allow for any number of potential actions to occur, from pinging users with intrusive ads to a complete theft of all personal data. As such, make sure you are updating all of your WordPress elements as soon as possible (and enabling automatic updates where you can).
While it is impossible to prepare for every eventuality, many of the most common vulnerabilities in WordPress can be mitigated through a few simple behaviors. Keep your website up-to-date, install plugins that look for malicious code and ensure reliable backups of your website are generated frequently. This will help drastically reduce the chances of becoming another victim!