There are over 27 million live WordPress websites. While it’s awesome to be part of such a large, active community, the Content Management System’s (CMS) popularity also makes it a prime target for Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.
Fortunately, just because hackers focus on WordPress doesn’t mean their breach attempts are destined to succeed. By using the right tools and techniques, you can harden your site against XSS attacks.
In this post, we’ll discuss what XSS is and why WordPress is uniquely vulnerable to these kinds of intrusions. Then we’ll share four strategies that you can implement to help protect your site against them. Let’s get started!
An introduction to XSS attacks
XSS attacks are often designed to collect data from your visitors, such as their passwords or payment information. However, the attacks can also change how your site looks or functions. For example, cybercriminals might redirect your users to an entirely different website.
This kind of redirect may result in your traffic plummeting, as the hacker steals 100 percent of your visitors. The rerouting can also be a launchpad to further attacks. For example, a nefarious redirect may send your traffic to a scammy website.
Some bad actors may even mimic your site, in an attempt to trick your customers into sharing personal information and payment details. This can be particularly disastrous for your reputation.
XSS attacks are a huge problem for many different CMSs. However, WordPress is uniquely vulnerable because many websites on the platform use plugins. These extensions add code to your site, which may introduce XSS vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. In its 2021 report, WP White Security discovered almost 4,000 known WordPress plugin vulnerabilities, including ones that could result in successful XSS attacks.
With so many loopholes to exploit, it’s perhaps not surprising that Wordfence identified 330 million attempted XSS attacks in 2020. With cybercriminals actively trying to leverage known and unknown weaknesses, it’s important to do everything you can to protect your website.
How to protect your WordPress website against XSS attacks (4 key tips)
XSS may be one of the most common methods hackers use to infiltrate websites, but there are ways to bolster your site’s security. Let’s look at four techniques that you can implement today.
1. Keep up-to-date on the latest vulnerabilities
By continuously monitoring your themes and plugins for known weaknesses, you can maximize your chances of discovering problems early. Then you can take steps to address these security loopholes before hackers have a chance to exploit them.
WPScan maintains a Vulnerability Database of known WordPress
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.