Last updated - April 20, 2018
Is your WordPress website secure? Website security must be one of the highest priorities of website owners. Most of the WordPress updates deal with security issues, but there is still a lot to improve in terms of security. Recent studies show that Google blacklists around 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing. If you don’t want this to happen with your website, be serious about your website security and be prepared to defend some of the most common attacks. In this article, we will guide you through some of most common WordPress website attacks and ‘The best security solutions for WordPress’.
Even though the WordPress software is monitored by hundreds of developers daily, you can do a lot to improve the security of your WordPress website and protect it from hackers. You don’t need to be a coding expert or even tech-savvy for doing this.
Ransomware is unique among cybercrime because in order for the attack to be successful, it requires the victim to become a willing accomplice after the fact
― James Scott
Why is security important for your website?
Your customers get the first impression of your business through your website. So it is your commitment to keeping it secure. If your website is not secure you might be losing some critical business relationships. Security threats can affect you in many ways. Hackers can steal the confidential information of your users like username and password. They can install malicious software on your site, keep a track on your transactions and loot money from you. In recent times, we have seen how many had to pay ransomware hackers just to regain the access to their own website.
Google recently reported that more than 50 million users are warned about security issues that may contain malware or steal information. If you are running a business through your website and particularly if you are having financial transactions through your website, you must be very careful. Hackers are around you waiting to loot your money. If you are not paying enough attention, all your business, money and website might be in their hands one fine morning.
Common attacks affecting today’s websites
New methods for web-based attacks are coming out every day. Thus taking proper measures for defending them is of high priority. Here are some common attacks affecting today’s websites.
- SQL injection: It is a code based injection technique which is used to attack data driven applications. SQL injection must exploit the security vulnerability in an application’s software.
- Cross-site scripting: XSS enables attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages that are viewed by other users. It is also commonly referred to as a malicious payload.
- Inclusion Vulnerabilities: Malicious users can find functionality within a web application and use the underlying mechanics to execute their code.
- Brute Force attack: Trial and error method by automated software used to get information such as password or PIN number
There are many more methods to attack a website and new ones are emerging daily. So better be prepared and update yourself. Now let us see some solutions for this.
Best security solutions for WordPress
Here are the best security solutions for WordPress that will protect your website from various risks. Let’s see how these factors help your website security.
1. Set up website lockdown and ban users
We all know brute force attack. The hackers generate random passwords and try to log in to your website. By default, WordPress allows you enter different passwords as many times as wanted. This increases the chance of brute force attacks on your site. You must set up a website lockdown and ban users to reduce these kinds of risks.
There are many plugins available in the market to enable website lockdown and ban users. By using these plugins you can easily set up the number of wrong attempts a user can enter. After that, the user will be banned from logging in to the system.
2. Keep WordPress updated
WordPress is an open source software that is monitored and updated on a daily basis. Hundreds of WordPress developers are working daily to improve the security. So it is very important to keep your WordPress updated. You must frequently check for updates in order to get the latest versions.
These WordPress updates play a crucial role in the security of your website. Whenever they find a risk factor, WordPress developers will work on it and release a new update with a fix. So if you are not using the updated version there is a high chance for your website to get attacked.
3. Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA is a two-step verification that gives an extra layer of security to your website. It not only requires a password and username but also an extra piece of information such as a token that should be only known to the user.
Two Factor Authentication (2FA) on the login page is one of the good security measures. Here the user provides login details for two different components and the website owner decides what those are. It can be anything such as secret code, secret question or a set of characters etc.
4. Use email as login
The first layer of security of your WordPress website security is your username and password. Thus using secure username and password is very important for your security. If the hackers get your username it is considerably more easy for them to guess your password also.
By default, you must give username to log in. Here, using an email ID instead of just a username is considered more secure. The reason is very simple. Usernames are easy to predict but not email IDs. Any WordPress account which is created using a unique email address is a valid identifier for logging in.
5. Setup a WordPress backup
Backup allows you to quickly restore any changes made to your system. No website is 100% secure. Recent times we saw many examples, even government websites are being hacked. So without a doubt, your website can also be hacked and your confidential data can be looted.
Keeping a backup ready is very important in order to prevent any changes made to your site. Hackers can steal your pieces of information in less time. So finding out the cause and solving the risk is not a valid option in these cases. If you have the backup ready, you can easily revert and nullify the changes happened.
6. Rename login URL
Changing a login URL is an easy task to do but it has got an important role in the security of your website. By default, you can easily access the login page via wp-login.php or wp-admin added to the end of your site’s main URL. If the hackers know your direct URL, they can easily try brute force.
The hackers will be having a GWD (Guess Work Database) in which they will have username and passwords of millions of combinations. So if you have restricted the login attempts, swapped the username with email IDs, and changed the login URL, 99% of chance for brute force attacks can be eliminated.
7. SSL data encryption
SSL, also known as Secure Socket Layer is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. Implementing SSL certificate can help you in securing the admin panel. SSL ensures secure data connection between the browser and server. This makes it difficult for hackers to spoof your information.
Getting SSL certificate for your website is really simple. You can buy it from dedicated companies or ask your hosting firm to hook you up with one. SSL certification not only help you in website security, it also helps in website’s rankings at Google. Google ranks the websites with SSL higher and thus you can increase your website traffic.
8. Secure your database
Constant monitoring of your files helps in added security of your website. All the data and other information are stored in your database so constant monitoring of the database is very important. There must be a frequent backup, so that while monitoring if you find some changes you can quickly revert those.
Some of the steps to secure your database include: changing the WordPress database table prefix, set a strong password for your database, be careful while adding users and setting rights for them, maintain the frequent backups.
9. Set permissions carefully
You might be running a website that requires adding multiple users to the admin panel. This could make your website more vulnerable to threats. Different users may add different passwords. There might be a chance for them to use weak passwords. This is where constant monitoring is required. The website owner should make sure that all the users whom you add are using a strong password following the password guidelines.
By default, while creating a user you get options to set roles for various users. Make sure that you give proper rights and permissions to your users. Know what permissions do each role have before assigning it to specific users. This will reduce the chance of a security threat from one of your users.
10. Enable Web Application Firewall (WAF)
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an application firewall for HTTP applications which defines a set of rules for an HTTP conversation. It can generally reduce attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. Proxies generally protect clients whereas WAF protects servers.
Using a WAF is the easiest way to secure your WordPress website. The WAF analyzes bi-directional website traffic and blocks many of the malicious traffic before it reaches your website, thus acting as a protection layer to your website.
No website is 100% secure, there will be some loopholes somewhere through which your security can be broken. Hackers are all around you waiting for an opportunity to breach into your website. They can make all your hard work go in vain overnight. So make sure you are ready to cope with such situations. More security measures you take, the harder it becomes for hackers to break in. All the above-mentioned steps will help you make your website more secure.
There’s no silver bullet solution with cyber security, a layered defense is the only viable defense
Hackers find new methods daily and the security mechanism also improves. So keep yourself up to date. Read more related articles here at learnwoo.