The most common WordPress security issues are before or after your site is compromised. The goal of the hack is to gain unauthorized access to your WordPress site at the administrator-level, either on the frontend (your WordPress dashboard) or server-side (by including scripts or malicious files)
Here are the five most popular WordPress security issues you should know about:
Brute Force Attacks: Brute force attacks on WordPress refer to the trial and error process of entering multiple combinations of usernames and passwords until a right combination is identified. The Brute Force Attack method is the easiest way to access your website: your WordPress login page.
By default, WordPress does not limit login attempts, so bots can use the brute force attack method to target your WordPress login page. Even if a brute force attack is unsuccessful, it can still damage your server because login attempts can overload your system and slow down your site. When you are subject to a brute force attack, due to system overload, some hosts may suspend your account, especially if you are on a shared hosting plan.
File Inclusion Exploits: Later brute-force attacks, vulnerabilities in the PHP code of your WordPress website are the next most common security issues that can be exploited by attackers. (PHP is the code that runs your plugin and theme as well as your WordPress website.
File inclusion exploits occur when unsafe code is used to load remote files, allowing attackers to access your website. Exploit file inclusion is one of the most common ways for an intruder to access the wp-config.php file of your WordPress website, one of the most critical data in your WordPress installation.
SQL Injections: To run your WordPress website, you use a MySQL server. An SQL injection occurs when an intruder accesses all your website data and your WordPress server.
An attacker can create a new administrator-level user account with SQL Injection, which can then be used to login to your WordPress website and gain full access. You can also use SQL Injection to insert new information into your server, including links to malicious websites or spam pages.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Cross-site scripting or XSS attacks constitute 84 percent of all security vulnerabilities throughout the network. The most common vulnerability found in WordPress plugins is cross-site scripting.
Malware: Malware, small for malicious software, is code used to gain unauthorized website access and collect sensitive data. A compromised WordPress page usually states that malware has been inserted into the files on your website, so if you suspect malware on your site, take a look at the recently modified files.
Although there are thousands of forms of malware infection on the Internet, not all of them are susceptible to WordPress. The four most common infections of WordPress malware are:
- Drive-by downloads
- Pharma hacks
- Malicious redirects
Each of these types of malware can be easily identified and can be restored by either manually deleting a malicious file, installing a new version of WordPress, or restoring your WordPress page from a previous, non-infected backup.