Ensure your WordPress site's security with our comprehensive guide! As the leading platform for millions of websites globally, WordPress's flexibility comes with potential vulnerabilities.

Discover The Biggest Security Risks Of WordPress And How To Mitigate Them

If you work with WordPress, you know how flexible the platform is. It’s fairly easy to learn and personalize it to fit your needs. 

WordPress powers millions of websites all over the world, including blogs and e-commerce sites.

It’s one of the most used platforms out there. This popularity has a lot to do with its advantages, but it also makes it a regular target for hackers looking to profit off of other people’s information.

WordPress currently holds 43% of all websites on the internet, and some of them have massive amounts of traffic.

Hackers know that by attacking this platform, they can impact many people and other websites.

That’s why everyone who works with WordPress has to prioritize cybersecurity.

Let’s dive into the potential threats and how to prevent and mitigate damage when using WordPress.

1. Themes And Plugins Can Be Vulnerable

Reports indicate that WordPress has around 60 thousand free plugins on its database. These are the essence of the platform because you can access thousands of personalization options, and you can create unique websites completely adapted to what you want and your style.

However, they can also be extremely vulnerable. Outdated code or poorly coded themes and plugins are easily hacked. Hackers can get into your website without authorization if they know how to exploit the weak points of plugins and themes.

Here’s what you can do to prevent it:

  • Update your plugins and the themes you use regularly, especially if you get a notification. Developers come out with updates for the latest cyberthreats, so make it a habit to check and update everything on your website from time to time.
  • Download themes and plugins from reputable sources. Try to check the reviews and stick to official websites.
  • Don’t crowd your web with plugins. If you no longer use one, delete it instead of letting it linger. It can become an entry point for hackers.

2. Weak Or Easily Guessable Passwords

Weak passwords are a delight for hackers because they can gain unauthorized access to your website with almost no work on their part. You have to be responsible when picking a password, or dealing with the consequences might be even worse than the attack itself.

Mitigate this by:

  • Using strong and unique passwords for every account. It’s simple: combine upper and lowercase letters, add numbers, and even a symbol. Don’t use your birthday, family names, or common phrases.
  • Setting up two-factor authentication. Let’s say a password isn’t your forte. With 2FA, you can still prevent unauthorized access via a unique code whenever someone tries to get into your account.
  • Periodically changing your passwords to reduce even more your website’s exposure to cyber criminals.

3. Forgetting To Update

WordPress itself is constantly releasing updates to patch up security problems, add more features, and improve their performance.

Thanks to this, the latest WordPress update has been downloaded 69 million times, and the number keeps rising.

If you ignore these updates, you significantly increase your chances of a cyberattack. Hackers are capable of closely monitoring websites with lax security measures, and they will take advantage of every vulnerability they find.

This is what you can do:

  • Keep your plugins, themes, and WordPress core updated. Don’t procrastinate on this.
  • Enable automatic updates for the essential components to ensure that you never go weeks or months without crucial security features.
  • Get a VPN to help avoid attacks. What’s VPN doing while you work on your site is encrypting your connection, rendering you pretty much invisible to hackers.

4. Ignoring User Permissions

WordPress lets you create different user roles with different access levels. If you grant too many privileges to users, you can cause a cybersecurity incident. To avoid this, you can:

  • Limit the users’ permissions to a minimum. You can do so by assigning roles like “editor” or “subscriber” to people who need one or the other.
  • Only assign the role of administrator to people you trust, which means team members and trusted coworkers.
  • Review the actions taken by users to manage their permissions quickly if you need to. Address any suspicious activity promptly.

5. Backup Level

If you don’t update regularly, you can lose your website’s content and information in case of a successful cyberattack.

Backups act like a safety net, a last-minute resource that will save you and your team members hours of stress. In the event of a massive data loss, you can always rely on updated backups.

Here’s what to do:

  • Set up automatic backups, either through plugins or other services, to make sure that your data is consistently saved in a secure website or folder.
  • If possible, try to keep backups on a different device, preferably one that’s not connected to the internet, to avoid malware infiltration. Cloud storage works, and having both is the best option.

6. Bad Hosting Providers

The hosting provider you get has a crucial role in the security of your website. If you pick shared hosting, you will save money, but in turn, you will be more exposed to threats coming from other websites in the same hosting.

Select a hosting provider that prioritizes security, especially when dealing with customers’ private data.

You can also select a managed hosting provider, which offers extra security features like firewalls, malware scanning, and security audits. By doing these, you make sure to invest in a data-breach-safe website.

7. Ignoring SSL Encryption

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption means that you’ve invested in the security of the data your website and your visitors exchange. You risk exposing your users to a breach of their information if you don’t pay attention to SSL encryption. This can cost you your reputation as a company, and the users can suffer financial losses that you will have to pay for. 

To avoid this, you should:

  • Install and set up an SSL certificate. Most hosting providers offer these for free, and they are legitimate. Take advantage of this if you’re able to.
  • Use HTTPS for your site, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive data or e-commerce operations.

8. Falling To Brute Force Attacks

A brute force attack is when a hacker gains access to your website by trying different username and password combinations until they succeed.

This leads to unauthorized access, greatly compromising your website’s security.

To avoid this, you should limit login attempts using a secure plugin. You can also set up another plugin to detect and block brute-force attacks.

Artificial Intelligence And The Diverse Cybersecurity Landscape

In the past couple of years, AI has changed the cybersecurity sector for good. AI technology can be used to predict, detect, and stop security threats quicker than ever. 

The advantage is that AI can analyze massive amounts of data, identifying patterns that humans might dismiss. This technology is an invaluable ally in the tech sector.

AI-driven security software can:

  • Spot weird online behavior or patterns that indicate a security breach before it occurs. After detecting it, you can prompt your team to act quickly.
  • Take actions to stop these threats, like blocking IP addresses or stopping malicious processes, which saves time for your team.
  • Enhance password security by detecting weak passwords and updating them whenever you need to.
  • Provide real-time threat intelligence, helping developers stay ahead of the latest cybersecurity threats.

Instead of fearing AI, you have to see its good side and incorporate it. This way, you’ll be able to protect your WordPress site. Don’t forget to have an emergency protocol in case of a cyberattack as well. Everyone has to know what to do if a hacker is successful.

To Sum Up

WordPress is one of the most powerful tools out there, and its possibilities are almost endless. Go ahead and create the website of your dreams with it!

However, when it comes to security, you need to work smartly and involve your team. Security is a shared responsibility. Follow the best practices, educate the people you work with, and reduce the risks associated with having a WordPress site.

Remember: updating regularly, having strong passwords, and using reputable plugins and themes are key if you want your data to stay secure.

Keep enjoying the many advantages of WordPress without forgetting about online safety!