Since WordPress sites are known to have a low barrier to entry for hackers, they are routinely exploited. Either the developer lacked sufficient knowledge of security measures to implement them, or the user made use of one of the numerous plugins that were accessible. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that hackers, both skilled and novice, find WordPress to be a particularly popular target because it powers one in five websites on the Internet.
This is the reason why we have spent some time describing certain procedures that can be performed to fix the fundamental security holes or malpractices that are regularly present in millions of WordPress sites and can help prevent a WordPress hack. These measures can be implemented to help prevent a hack on a WordPress site.
Maintaining the Most Recent Release of WordPress.
Operating with the most recent version of any software is perhaps the first and most evident precaution that should be performed for security purposes. The fact that more than 86 percent of WordPress installations use out-of-date versions of WordPress demonstrates, however, that this particular subject still needs to be emphasized. Every version of WordPress not only adds new features but also, and maybe more crucially, adds bug fixes and security fixes, which help your WordPress site remain secure against common vulnerabilities that are easy to attack.
Maintaining the Most Recent Versions of All Plugins and Themes
Running the most recent version of WordPress is not sufficient on its own; the plugins and themes used on your website may still include vulnerabilities that could undermine the security of your WordPress site, which could then become the target of a hack that targets WordPress sites. The plugin known as “Slider Revolution” is a great example of how using outdated plugins and themes can put your website’s security at risk. It just so happens that a significant number of the WordPress themes that are available for purchase on the Envato Market make use of the very popular Slider Revolution plugin for WordPress. Because of the security flaw in the plugin, unauthorized users were able to acquire database credentials, which might then potentially lead to the complete breach of the WordPress website through the database. As a result, it is critical for you to guarantee that all of the themes and plugins you are utilizing are running the most recent versions available for them. You may ensure that your website is protected with the most recent security upgrades by maintaining the most recent versions of its plugins and themes.
When Picking Plugins and Themes, Exercise Caution and Selectivity
WordPress gives you access to thousands of plugins and themes, which you can use to extend the functionality of your site and modify it. Increasing the capabilities of your website and the degree to which it can be customized is essential, nevertheless, this should not be done at the expense of the website’s security. Even if your WordPress installation, plugins, and themes are all updated to the most recent versions, it does not mean that a website is not susceptible to being attacked. Attackers are able to learn what plugins are installed on your WordPress site through the process of plugin enumeration. You will automatically be able to reduce the attack surface of your site if you refrain from installing any plugins that aren’t absolutely necessary. Use discretion while deciding which plugins and themes to install on your site. Read up on a plugin or theme first before you install it, preferably in places other than the website of the plugin’s or theme’s developer. Because of this, malicious software like the Tools Pack malware plugin cannot be installed on your computer.
Take Action Against Inactive Users
Maintaining a WordPress site with idle users increases the attack surface available to hackers. Unfortunately, the majority of users have a tendency to select insecure passwords for their accounts, this is especially true of administrators and anyone who is in a position to edit the site’s content. Users are one of the potential weakest points of any website. If you absolutely must keep inactive users in your WordPress database, you should alter their role to ‘Subscriber’ in order to restrict any actions that could be made by those users.
The disclosure of this information could render a site susceptible to assaults since it would provide information that an attacker could use to exploit a vulnerability in a WordPress plugin, theme, or even the web server itself. This vulnerability could be exploited if the information is disclosed. Directory listing is enabled on a number of WordPress sites, despite the fact that disabling directory listing is not a security feature that is unique to WordPress and that it is the default setting for Apache HTTP Server installations. You will need to add the following configuration to the. htaccess file that is associated with your WordPress website. This will allow you to disable directory listing in Apache HTTP Server.
Keys to the Complex Security System
WordPress makes use of a collection of Security Keys that are lengthy, random, and complex in nature. These keys are constructed using a number of distinct encryption keys in addition to a number of different cryptographic salts. The information that is saved in the users’ cookies is encrypted more securely thanks to the usage of Security Keys. WordPress makes use of a total of eight different keys for its security system. A Security Key performs a job very similar to that of an extremely robust password or passphrase, and it needs to include components that make it more difficult to produce enough alternatives to crack. To further reinforce the security of the created result, WordPress Security Keys make use of cryptographic salts in addition to their other security measures. You have the option of generating your own random keys on your own, or you may utilize the key generator that is available online through WordPress. You just need to make a copy of your wp-config.php file and then paste in the keys that were provided by the generator.
Access to the WP-admin Directory Should Be Restricted.
Protecting the administrative section of your WordPress installation with a password and adding an extra layer of HTTP authentication is an efficient way to thwart attackers who are attempting to guess users’ credentials. In addition, even if an attacker is successful in stealing a user’s password, they will still be unable to access the WordPress login form until they have circumvented HTTP authentication. You can accomplish this with Apache HTTP Server by making a.htpasswd file and adding a few configuration directives as outlined in the following paragraphs. The web server will authenticate users by utilizing the information stored in the. htpasswd file, which contains combinations of usernames and password hashes. Either by typing the htpasswd command on the command line or by utilizing an online password file generator, you can make a.htpasswd file.
You will need to activate the directive that is explained further down in this section on the wp-admin directory and reference the. htpasswd file that was produced earlier in order to allow basic HTTP authentication on the WordPress administration area. Insert the following lines into the appropriate Directory> section of your server’s Apache configuration file or into an.htaccess file located inside the wp-admin directory of your website’s root directory. The AuthType directive details the particular authentication method that is being used. In this particular instance, the configuration of Basic authentication is taking place. The complete directory path to the. htpasswd file is specified by the AuthUserFile directive. This file is the file that will be used to store password hashes, which will subsequently be utilized by the server to authenticate users. The server will use these hashes to authenticate users. When the user authenticates themselves, the browser will display whatever arbitrary message is contained within the AuthName directive to the user. The Require valid-user option does nothing more than instruct Apache to authenticate any user who meets the requirements.
Turn off the ability to edit Files.
Inside the WordPress admin interface, WordPress gives administrative users the ability to alter PHP files that are associated with plugins and themes by default. Due to the fact that this functionality permits code execution on the server, it is typically the first thing that an attacker will seek if they are successful in gaining access to an administrative account. The following constant, when entered into wp-config.php will turn off the ability to modify posts from within the administrative interface.
Protect Against the Listing of WordPress Usernames
It is feasible to count WordPress users through the usage of an author’s archive page in a number of different WordPress blogs. This function is only available when WordPress permalinks are turned on, and the user has at least one post that has been published. You may obtain additional information regarding WordPress Username Enumeration by reading the article titled WordPress Username Enumeration Using HTTP Fuzzer. You may stop WordPress Username Enumeration by adding the following rule to the. htaccess file of your WordPress site.
Turning on secure HTTPS connections for all logins and wp-admin
HTTPS is not a protocol in and of itself; rather, it is HTTP encased in TLS/SSL. This distinction is important to note when discussing HTTPS. Websites and web applications receive data encryption while it is being delivered, as well as authentication to authenticate the identity of a host, thanks to Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is also more generally known as SSL.HTTPS is commonly associated with online shopping carts and banking done over the internet however, in truth, it should be utilized whenever a user is transmitting sensitive information to the web server and vice versa. Depending on how much traffic a site gets, TLS/SSL could use a large number of the server’s resources. As a consequence of this, it is not necessary for the majority of websites to deliver the entirety of the website through HTTPS. On the other hand, the login form and admin section of a WordPress site is undoubtedly the most critical parts of the site. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that TLS and SSL not only be deployed but also enforced in these kinds of areas. WordPress offers a straightforward approach for mandating the use of TLS/SSL on both the wp-login and wp-admin pages. You can accomplish this by declaring two constants in the wp-config.php file that is located on your website. Define the following constant in wp-config.php to ensure that sensitive data that is being transmitted is encrypted whenever the WordPress administrative panel is being used.
Put restrictions on direct access to the PHP files of plugins and themes.
The practice of allowing direct access to PHP files might be risky for a variety of different reasons. Because the file would be calling functions that would have been defined in other files, some plugins and theme files may contain PHP scripts that are not intended to be called directly. This is because the file would be calling the functions directly. Because of this, the PHP interpreter might show errors or warnings, which could result in the revealing of sensitive information. When code is broken up into smaller files (which will later be included and used together with other code), one of the reasons for restricting direct access to PHP files is to prevent attackers from sidestepping or circumventing security measures. This is another reason for restricting direct access to PHP files.
The code for several plugins and themes is broken up into multiple smaller files, and then these files are included in bigger pieces of code. On rare occasions, an attacker may be able to bypass many layers of protection by directly calling one of the smaller files, such as those used to verify user input. The majority of the time, this happens since the validation would not be performed in other files and also not in the smaller modules that were indicated. In addition, if the register globals directive is enabled on the server, an attacker with direct access to a PHP file may be able to carry out several malicious actions. These actions may include the ability to define PHP variables from Get/Post requests and the ability to bypass various protection mechanisms. You can whitelist files and directories that require direct access to PHP files in the event that there is an exception to the rule. The vast majority of plugins and themes do not require a user to make HTTP queries to PHP files directly. Any direct queries to PHP files will have their destination changed to a page of your choosing as soon as the following rule is applied.
Prevent files written in PHP from being executed.
Because WordPress websites must enable users to post new content, the upload directory used by WordPress must be able to accept user-supplied data. To such an extent, the wp-content/uploads directory of your site ought to be regarded as a potential point of entry. The uploading of PHP files represents the most significant potential risk. Users of WordPress won’t be able to upload PHP files through the administrator panel. However, it’s possible that a plugin or theme will enable file uploads without making use of the WordPress APIs that are designed specifically for that purpose. Because of this, there is a risk that a PHP file containing malicious code will be uploaded and, as a result, executed on the server. Using the following rule, you can prevent the web server from delivering any PHP files located in the wp-content/uploads directory.
Protect Your System’s Debugger Logs
Enabling debug logs allows developers or system administrators to record any PHP issues that take place while they are working on WordPress plugins or themes, as well as while they are deploying a WordPress website. WP_debug is a constant that is declared in the wp-config.php file, and it is used by WordPress. This constant is utilized throughout WordPress as the activating mechanism for the debug mode.
Following the advice shown above should get you well on your way to averting a hack of your WordPress site. The processes of WordPress Security include scanning for more than 1200 vulnerable WordPress Plugins and Misconfigurations, testing for weak WordPress admin passwords, WordPress username enumeration, Identifying Hidden Malware as plugins, and a number of other processes.