Plugins are a huge part of why WordPress is the world’s leading Content Management System (CMS). However, they also add code to your website, providing more opportunities for vulnerability exploits.
Thankfully, there are ways to protect your WordPress site against malicious activity. With the right tools and techniques, you can defend against the 4.3 billion attempts to exploit vulnerabilities that take place every year.
In this article, we’ll look at what vulnerability exploits are and why they’ve been making headlines recently. We’ll then share three steps you can take to protect your WordPress site against related attacks. Let’s dive on in!
Understanding vulnerability exploits (and why they’re bad news for your WordPress website)
Recently, four major vulnerabilities were discovered in the popular form building plugin, Ninja Forms. A malicious third party could potentially use these loopholes to perform all manner of malicious activities.
Some possible attacks in the case of Ninja Forms included setting up redirects so anyone who attempts to access your site is forwarded to a malicious page instead. There, the hacker might infect the visitor’s browser with malware, or attempt to steal their private information such as payment details. All of these actions could be disastrous for your reputation and result in a loss of trust amongst your audience.
Malicious parties might even use these vulnerabilities to deface your website or delete it entirely. If you haven’t created regular backups, you could potentially lose all your content with no hope of ever restoring it.
Thankfully, Ninja Forms acted fast and patched all the identified vulnerabilities with the release of version 126.96.36.199. However, this does highlight the threat that plugins can pose to your website, with evidence to suggest that almost all WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plugins.
Plugins can expose your site to a wide range of threats. However, vulnerability exploits are particularly common. According to a recent report, there were 4.3 billion attempts to take advantage of weak code from over 9.7 million unique IP addresses in 2020.
Vulnerability exploits are so common, that when WordFence examined four million websites it discovered that all of them had experienced at least one vulnerability exploit attempt. If you’re using any WordPress plugins, it’s vital that you take steps to protect your site against such attacks.
How to protect yourself against vulnerability exploits (3 key practices)
At the time of this writing, there are almost 4,000 known WordPress plugin vulnerabilities in the WPScan database. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to protect your site against vulnerability exploits, and ensure you’re using plugins safely. Here are three best practices to follow to keep your site secure.
1. Keep your plugins up to date
When a vulnerability is discovered, the plugin’s developer will often rush to fix the problem
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.