As we have mentioned in previous postings, WordPress has become one of the world’s leading web design tools, with a 27% share of all web sites, and a 65% share of CMS or Content Management System type websites. Because it is an open source product that is free to use, it has become hugely popular. We have been designing in WordPress ourselves for a couple years now, and fine it an excellent web publishing environment. There are over 30,000 plugins and 2,000 themes for WordPress, many of which are free or very reasonably priced.
But this has made WordPress sites an attractive target for cyber-attackers. Many of the plugins a vulnerable to cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.
And since so many WordPress sites are do-it-yourself creations by people who may be using weak passwords, and may have no appreciation for the nuances web site security, this makes WordPress exploits even easier. Once the admin account is compromised, whether through brute force password attacks or clever spear-phishing emails, and attacker can add their own code to the site and turn it into a malware distribution site, or add some pages of there own to create a fake replica site to be used in other phishing campaigns.
One of the areas that we have specialized in is WordPress site security. There are some excellent plugins that add a layer of security. Some of the most highly recommended are Bulletproof, Wordfence, or Sucuri. We are using Sucuri and Wordfence ourselves. Both of these programs have a limited set of options that are free, and a paid for version. Securi is about $200 a year, while WordFence is a mere $40. They both offer a similar security set of features, although Sucuri places a firewall and caching proxy in front of your actual server to speed up load times while protecting your actual server from attack.
If you have a WordPress site, you owe it to yourself to set something like this up. Word of warning: these applications will be sending you email messages whenever you or anyone else logs in or attempts to login to your website. This can become a bit overwhelming. For our WordPress clients, we are monitoring this messages on their behalf. You may want to check with your own hosting provider and see if they offer any sort of security or site monitoring.
Another important consideration is backup. We advise all our clients to use a good WordPress backup plugin so if your site is compromised, it can be restored to its original condition quickly and easily. One of the best is UpdraftPlus, which can backup your site to Dropbox, Google Drive, or email a copy to your inbox.
Procrastination is never your friend, and doubly so in the realm of cybersecurity. Please do not wait until AFTER you are breached to protect your website from attackers. If you do you may find yourself offline for a long period of time while undertaking an expensive website rebuild.
About the Author:I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com