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Have you ever wondered why WordPress (WP) is a primary target for attacks? Well, news has it that WordPress powers over 40% of the web.
In fact, WordPress hosts one in every five sites on the internet. It’s not a surprise that WP is now a major target for both experienced hackers and script-kiddies.
So, the hackers already know that they'll have won big time once they break into a web server. WordPress sites are usually hosted on a web server. Some hosting companies may fail to secure their hosting platforms properly. So, all websites hosted on their servers will be highly vulnerable to hackings.
And, who knows, one of these sites could be yours. But, most definitely, no one can ever wish to experience such attacks on their website. The well-secured servers can block many common attacks on WP sites.
But, the best remedy to keeping your site safe is to understand the widespread WordPress attacks. Moreso, you need to know the different steps to take to curb these attacks.
In our article below, we’ll discuss the types of WordPress attacks and the necessary mitigation steps. But, first, let’s find out the importance of securing your WordPress website.
Let’s delve in.
Table of Contents
Why Must You Secure Your WordPress Website?
Indeed, cyberattack cases are now on the rise. We learn from fraud prevention specialists that in 2020, there was a 20% increase in fraud as a digital behavior.
It’s also this time that the fraud specialists recorded the highest-ever number of bot attacks. From the statistics above, there was a detection of 1.3 billion bot attacks.
It helps to know that hackers are too intelligent. They’ll always come up with new strategies.
Indeed, it’s true that WordPress has highly-experienced developers. They work hard to guarantee the platform’s security.
But, website owners will always use various WordPress plugins. Most of them also use third-party themes. This adds extra code to your website. And, unfortunately, it implies high possibilities for hackers exploiting your site.
One reason why WordPress is so popular is its freedom to allow users to add many functions. Users do this with the help of plugins.
They get to choose from about 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository. And there are still many other third-party plugins available.
But, sometimes, the many plugin choices cause potential issues. Out-of-date plugins and rogue plugins make your WP site vulnerable. They can provide a vector through which hackers can access your site.
So, once cybercriminals access your website, they can cause a lot of chaos. They might restructure the site by:
- Adding inappropriate content
- Removing important data
- Defrauding your customers.
Worse is, if you hadn’t formulated a backup plan, you might end up in misery. The hackers can delete your entire site. Thus, you’re left hopeless since the chances of retrieving your content are very slim.
You don’t want to imagine falling victim to malicious activity. And one that could lead to a loss of revenue, customer trust, and conversions. What’s even worse is that malicious activities can make search engines block your site. If this happens, your content disappears completely from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
So, this means that you lose your organic traffic. And, even if you’ll ever recover your site, restoring your search engine status can be very difficult.
Fortunately, when you have a viable ISP Proxy, you’ve got increased protection for your website’s activities. These are IPs that originate from service providers. Such IPs are hosted on a data center, hence giving you more security.
Furthermore, they appear more residential compared to the traditional Datacenter IPs. These proxy servers reduce your chance of experiencing a breach. They add an extra layer of security between your website server and outside traffic.
Proxy servers act as a buffer. They can interact with the internet and send requests from computers outside your network.
So, hackers might use every strategy to access your proxy. But, they’ll have trouble accessing the server that runs the web software that stores your data.
Let’s now find out the common types of WordPress attacks and mitigation measures.
What are the 3 Common Types of WordPress Attacks and Mitigation Steps?
1. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
XSS attacks are formulated to collect data from your clients. This can be particularly catastrophic if your website deals with delicate information like payment details.
A successful XSS attack may also redirect your visitors to a different website of the hacker’s choice. This is likely to affect your web traffic negatively. And, if the attack redirects your customers to a malicious website, your reputation is ruined.
Nonetheless, you can protect your site against Cross-Site Scripting attacks by using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) such as the Wordfence plugin.
The application firewall helps to filter out all malicious requests before reaching your website.
You should also avoid or restrict HTML in inputs. You might indeed need HTML to generate rich content. But, you should limit it to trusted users only.
If you engage in styling and formatting an input, you must consider alternative ways of content generation. One of the ways is Markdown.
2. Malicious Redirect Attacks
Hackers use malicious redirect attacks to change some of your website file codes. They do this by using a wayward plugin or theme to break into your server.
Unfortunately, most website owners don’t recognize that they’re infected with malicious redirects. They only get to know when they start receiving calls, messages, and emails from suspicious clients.
So, what happens that the clients become suspicious? Usually, instead of accessing the site, they expected to, it loads other shady content. If the issue persists, it makes clients suspect that something is unusually wrong.
How do you avoid malicious redirects?
- By disabling unlimited login attempts
- Ensuring you use strong passwords
- Use a scanning plugin to scan your website from time to time, and stay alert to any highlights you receive.
3. Receiving Bad Bots
Hackers are very good at using skimming tactics. Most of them use bots as spies. Before attacking your website, they use bots to find out about your website's defenses and performance.
The bad bots can drag down your website’s performance. It can also steal the site’s bandwidth and content.
The most common malicious bots include:
- DDoS or DoS- They use an extensive amount of bots to overload the server resources, hence stopping services from working
- Spambots- They promote unwanted commercial content to redirect your web traffic to a different website
- Hacker bots- They attack a website’s infrastructure and then distribute malware
You can hinder the bad bots from accessing your site. It’s even safer to block the bots at the firewall. By blocking them, you won’t need to deal with extreme server stress. You’ll also manage to save on hosting costs and your bandwidth. Hence, you can even speed up your site.
So, how do you get started:
Employ the iThemes Security Plugin
iThemes Security plugin adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress site. By using it, you get a real-time WP security log. It gathers all security events on your site, including any bot activity.
Security logs are beneficial as an overall website security strategy. It allows you to:
- Spot and stop any malicious behavior
- Identify activities that can inform you of a breach.
- Assess the extent of the damage.
- Assist in the repair of a hacked site
So far, WordPress is the most popular website host. Thus, there are high chances that any given site that’s hacked will have some original link to WordPress.
Nonetheless, by following the proper mitigation steps, WordPress sites can be very secure. It’s indeed crucial to take the necessary steps to prevent security vulnerabilities. You do this before hackers take advantage of your WP site.
Thankfully, the discussion above on the popular types of WordPress attacks and mitigation measures should help you.