WordPress is by far the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. According to the latest statistics, WordPress is used by over 75 million websites in the world (more than 25% of all websites). (1) This CMS is easy to use, doesn’t’ require HTML editing, provides full control of the content, and search engines simply love WordPress sites. Another great thing about WordPress is that this content management system is updated on a regular basis. So, even though this CMS is excellent, this doesn’t mean that it is perfect and just like any other CMS it has some vulnerabilities. That’s why the management of WordPress is constantly working on improvements.
Unfortunately, there are many hackers that are taking advantage of these vulnerabilities. In many cases, these cyber attacks are causing significant damage to website owners and some of the websites are ruined forever. In order to understand the dangers of leaving your WordPress website unmanaged, we will now highlight a few common vulnerabilities on WordPress websites.
WP sites vulnerabilities
Malicious software, or simply malware, represents a code created by hackers with one goal in mind – to get access to a website and collect sensitive information. When the WordPress website is hacked, in most cases this means that the files on the website were infected with malware. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of malware out there – from drive-by downloads and malicious redirects to so-called pharma hacks and backdoors.
Malicious SQL injections
The WordPress site relies on a MySQL database to work properly. That’s why many hackers choose to manipulate this database. Namely, they are looking for a way to access the WP database with SQL injections. In this way, they can make a new user account that has the same privileges as the regular admin user account. They will use this opportunity to insert new files on your website (probably links to spam and malicious sites).
Brute force attacks
This is a so-called trial and error technique of typing hundreds of username and password combos quickly until the hacker hits the right combination. They are using the WP login screen to gain access to the database. Generally speaking, WordPress doesn’t have a limit on login attempts. Hackers are using this default setting to launch bot attacks.
XSS, or cross-site scripting, represents nearly 85% of all security vulnerabilities not only on WordPress but on all CMS solutions and other website development solutions. The hackers are tricking users to load certain websites that don’t have secure JS scripts. The scripts are loading in the background and hackers are stealing data from the browser. Obviously, they can steal your passwords too and get access to your WordPress website.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the many vulnerabilities on WordPress websites. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid this platform because there are no completely safe platforms and WP is among the safest ones. There is a solution for every problem that we have mentioned, but in order to fix these problems and prevent them in the future, you will need knowledge, experience, and expertise.
If you are still not sure why you should invest in your WordPress website’s security, you should read more about the downsides of being infected.
The negative effects of WordPress website infections/attacks
As previously mentioned, hackers are well aware of the vulnerabilities found in WordPress platform. If your website is powered by WordPress you must become familiar with the possible consequences of these attacks.
Redirecting to malicious sites
Hackers often target popular websites to inject redirection links to their own fake, malicious sites. Their websites usually have content that is similar to the one found on the hacked website. In this way, visitors won’t notice the difference and they will click on the links found there or even make financial transactions. On the other hand, your WordPress website is left without visitors. If this situation remains for a longer period of time, you can expect to lose reputation and traffic too.
Getting blacklisted by Google
Google and other popular search engines have strict rules about the ranking of websites in the search engine result pages. It is not uncommon for Google to blacklist suspicious websites. In case your website is dealing with a hacker attack, and you are not taking care of it for days, it is very likely that Google with gets your website blacklist. In other words, when people are looking for your website or the keywords you have used in your content, Google won’t show your website. That’s quite logical because Google doesn’t want to promote suspicious websites. Did you know that more than half of web traffic comes from search engines? (2) Without a presence on search engines, your WP website will be doomed.
Warning signs on search engines
There are many websites that provide special reports about suspicious sites. They label them as risky. You certainly don’t want to end up on a review website like this. What is even worse is that the majority of popular search engines are providing warning signs to users when they notice malicious software on your website. They warn them whenever they click on your website. We don’t have to talk a lot about the consequences – your reputation will be ruined.
How to solve the problem and protect your website?
There are many things that you can do to stay safe – you can use stronger passwords, install security plugins, enable two-factor authentication, update your WP site on a regular basis and run malware scans from time to time.
However, according to many experts, the best idea is to hire a professional company that can remove malware from the WordPress website. These professional companies, like Mobolo, can also provide regular maintenance ensuring that your website is working properly and safely. If you are planning on running a successful WordPress powered website, using professional help for your website’s security is a must.