How to find WordPress Vulnerabilities?
WordPress is an open source platform that has become one of the most common targets for hackers. To protect your website, you need to implement security measures to thwart any attempts by malicious entities. Fortunately, there are tools available in the market for finding WordPress vulnerabilities.
The popularity of WordPress as a website framework has made it a favorite target for hackers and malware. While the folks at WordPress continue to release security updates, the platform isn’t entirely foolproof. Here are some of the possible vulnerabilities of WordPress websites:
1. SQL Injection
SQL injections are URL-embedded commands that will make your database behave differently. It will expose sensitive information about the database, allowing hackers to change the actual content of your website.
2. Access To Files
Hackers will try to access private files such as the configuration files, scripts, and readme files. These are typical contents of a default WordPress installation.
3. Default Admin User Account
Hackers will try to penetrate into your admin user account by trying to guess your password so it is advisable to either change your default password or remove the “admin” username entirely.
4. Default Prefix
Just like passwords, hackers will try to guess the default name of your MySQL tables so they can manipulate your database. Some will use scripts with different combinations to predict database table names.
5. Brute Force Attack with Automated Scripts
Hackers may attempt to crack your administrator page using a wide range of combinations of usernames and passwords. This may cause your website to slow down due to several login attempts.
6- Getting Access through badly written Plugins of Themes
Hackers may also try to enter your site by exploiting the badly written plugins and themes, experts suggest getting both from renowned authors. Always download plugins from WordPress plugins repository and use a software like TemplateToaster to design your custom, secure and standard-compliant WordPress themes.
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Recommended Security Measures
Securing your website is a must to keep it protected from hackers who may attempt to penetrate your security in order to carry out their schemes. With new threats coming up practically every day, it’s your job to defend your WordPress website from these threats and hacking attempts.
Here are the most common security measures you can implement on your website:
1. Using strong usernames and passwords
Since WordPress 3.0, users now have the ability to use their own admin usernames during setup. Not changing the default admin username and password is a recipe for disaster as it would leave your admin panel open to hackers who may try to brute force their way into your website.
Try to use strong and unique passwords. There are many strong password generation tools that you can consider for this.
2. Limiting login attempts
Aside from using a strong username and password, another security measure you must do is to limit the number of log-in attempts allowed within a certain period of time. Hackers usually have several username/password combinations and will do their best to use them to crack your password. Limiting the possible attempts they can hack your site can help avoid your site being compromised.
3. Backing up your files
Backing up your files is another great way to secure your website. In the event that there is a security breach, you can always retrieve your files and folders.
4. Keeping WordPress updated
Not updating your WordPress version spells the difference between a vulnerable website and a secure one. Whenever you receive notifications of an update, always grab the opportunity and give yourself some peace of mind when it comes to the security of your website.
The good news is that there is a bevy of tools that can help test your website from potential attacks. While they still need some fine tuning, they can prove effective in detecting any signs of threat.
Specific Vulnerability Tools
WP Scan is an Open Source tool for Linux and Mac OS. It allows the user to find usernames from a WordPress database, scan used plugins and detect used themes on a server. It can be integrated with known vulnerability databases and filter results to show codes that are prone to attack.
Plecost is an open source WordPress fingerprinting tool for analyzing installed plugins as well as common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) codes. It is a Python script so all you have to do is add the files to the server and follow the instructions on the project website.
General Vulnerability Tools
Using general purpose vulnerability tools can give your website and system the protection that it needs from hackers.
Nikto checks your website and system for outdated software, configuration files, hidden directories, and much more. It is designed for testing servers and for triggering red flags with a wide range of intrusion detection systems. The tool can also brute force any part of the target website ensuring that it follows security best practices.
It is compatible with any system that supports Perl and can work on any Linux, UNIX, and Mac OS. It can also be configured to run on Windows provided they have ActiveState or Strawberry Perl.
Wikto is designed to run on Windows environment and offers convenience. Although it runs on Windows, it is packed with a lot of powerful features such as fuzzy logic error code checking, back-end miner, Google assisted directory mining and real time HTTP request/response monitoring.
Its most powerful feature is centralized Google hacking integration, which uses searches to reveal sensitive information.
There are some plug-ins that you can install in your WordPress website to help you detect and address vulnerabilities.
Exploit Scanner checks for signs of malicious activity. While it does not directly repair issues, it can provide a detailed log for troubleshooting.
This plugin checks for viruses, worms, rootkits, and other forms of malware that can hit your website. Just make sure to keep it updated.
This plug-in sets the number of maximum login attempts and duration of lockouts in between.
This plug-in blocks any malicious queries made on your website. It checks for “eval(“ or “base64” strings, as well as suspiciously long request strings.
Securing your WordPress website is necessary considering the open source platform that it has. You do not want hackers to be getting access to your most important files and folders. With these tools, you can put a stop to any attempts of hacking and give yourself a peace of mind knowing that your website is secured from hacker attacks.
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