In today’s digital age, website security is of paramount importance. WordPress, being one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) globally, is also a prime target for cyber threats.
Hackers don’t usually choose which websites to hack; in most cases, sites they choose to hack are done randomly, so it’s probably nothing personal against you. The hackers use scripts that extensively search websites all day and all night for common vulnerabilities. According to a study, in 2021, more than 75% of the websites scanned contained vulnerabilities.
What could make your website stand out to hackers? Not routinely updating your WordPress core files, theme and plugins. Also, don’t forget to keep on top of your server software, such as; OS updates, PHP, MySQL, and other server packages.
What do hackers want?
- They will hijack your traffic
They will direct your traffic coming from search engines to their website and steal their credit card information from unfortunate people. Furthermore, they will think it’s your business and not know any different.
- Hijack your mail server
They will upload a script, through a vulnerability in a plugin ( mostly due to lack of updates ) and send out thousands of emails until your site gets shutdown by your hosting provider.
- You may have seen a message pop-up on a website saying about “update your flash player” well that is more than likely an infected website with malware.
- The most common one is SQL injection, where code injected into your website grants access to your database, which could steal information, such as; personal details and credit card information.
They may just damage your reputation, and even your website rankings, by simply breaking your website due to the database tables being erased.
Help prevent this from happening?
Keep WordPress Updated: One of the simplest yet most effective security measures is to keep your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins up to date. Regular updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates or regularly check for updates in the WordPress dashboard to ensure you’re using the latest versions.
Strong Passwords: Never underestimate the power of a strong password. Use a password what provides a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, with a minimal of 12 characters.
Avoid using common passwords or easily guessable information such as your name or birthdate. Consider using a password generator and a password manager to securely store complex passwords for your WordPress site.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implementing two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress login process. By requiring a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, you significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access even if your password is compromised. Enable a reputable 2FA plugin like WP 2FA to bolster your website’s security.
Limit Login Attempts: Brute force attacks, where hackers attempt to guess your login credentials, are a common threat. Mitigate this risk by limiting the number of login attempts allowed. Plugins like Login Lockdown or Wordfence Security can help you restrict access after a certain number of failed login attempts.
Secure Hosting: Choose a reliable hosting provider that prioritizes website security. Ensure they have strong server-side security measures, including firewalls, malware scanning, and regular backups. Consider opting for managed WordPress hosting, as they often offer additional security features and lower server contention, who don’t overload their servers.
Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF): A web application firewall acts as a shield between your WordPress site and potential threats. It monitors and filters incoming traffic, blocking suspicious requests, and known attack patterns. Plugins like Sucuri or Wordfence provide comprehensive WAF solutions for WordPress.
Regular Backups: Backing up your WordPress website regularly is essential for quick recovery in case of a security breach or data loss. Use reliable backup plugins such as UpdraftPlus to automate the backup process and store your backups securely on external storage or cloud services.
Malware Scanning and Cleanup: Malware can infect your WordPress website through vulnerable plugins, themes, or even compromised user accounts. Install a reputable security plugin like MalCare to perform regular malware scans, identify infected files, and remove them promptly to keep your website clean and secure.
Some tips going forward. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like CloudFlare, a hosting provider that provides brute force protection and DDoS protection. You’re responsible for your website, so perform regular site backups, doesn’t matter how much your hosting provider promises about off-site backups, do your own backups, so at least you have a local copy to fall back on.