As a website owner, it is important to prioritize the security of your WordPress website. Not only can security breaches damage your reputation and lead to lost business, but they can also put your personal information and that of your users at risk.
In this tutorial, we’ll go over some best practices for keeping your WordPress website safe, as well as discuss some common security threats that you should be aware of.
1. WordPress security and safety best practices
By following these best practices and staying aware of common security threats, you can help keep your WordPress website safe and secure.
1.1 Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
One of the most important things you can do to protect your website is to use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. This includes your WordPress login, as well as any other accounts you may have (such as your hosting account or your email).
It is also a good idea to enable two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code sent to your phone or email in addition to your password when logging in.
1.2 Keep your website and plugins up to date
It is important to keep your WordPress website and all of its plugins up to date, as new versions are often released to fix security vulnerabilities.
To ensure that your website is always up to date, you can enable automatic updates in the WordPress dashboard or set up a reminder to manually update your website and plugins on a regular basis.
1.3 Use a security plugin
There are many security plugins available for WordPress that can help protect your website from various threats. Some popular options include Wordfence, Sucuri, SiteGround Security and iThemes Security.
These plugins can scan your website for security vulnerabilities, block malicious traffic, and alert you to any suspicious activity.
1.4 Use SSL to encrypt data
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that encrypts data transmitted between your website and your users’ browsers. This can help protect sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers, from being intercepted by hackers.
To enable SSL on your website, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate from a reputable provider and install it on your server. Some web hosting providers come with free SSL certificates.
1.5 Regularly back up your website
In the event of a security breach or other disaster, having a recent backup of your website can make it much easier to recover and get back up and running quickly.
It is a good idea to set up a regular schedule for backing up your website, such as daily or weekly, and to store the backups in a safe location (such as an external hard drive or a cloud storage service).
2. Common security threats and vulnerabilities
Now that we’ve covered some best practices for keeping your WordPress website safe, let’s discuss some common security threats that you should be aware of.
Malware, short for “malicious software,” refers to any software that is designed to harm or exploit your website. This can include viruses, Trojans, and other types of malicious code.
Malware can be spread through a variety of means, including infected emails, malicious links, and vulnerable plugins.
To protect your website from malware, you should use a security plugin and scan your website regularly for malicious code.
2.2 Social engineering attacks
Social engineering is a type of cyber attack that relies on manipulating people rather than exploiting technical vulnerabilities. Hackers who use social engineering tactics seek to exploit human emotions, such as trust, fear, or curiosity, in order to obtain sensitive information or gain access to restricted areas.
There are many different types of social engineering attacks, but some common tactics include:
- Phishing: This involves sending fake emails or creating fake websites that appear to be legitimate in order to trick users into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information.
- Baiting: This involves offering a fake reward or incentive in order to trick users into revealing sensitive information or performing a specific action.
- Scareware: This involves using fear or urgency to trick users into revealing sensitive information or paying for fake services or products.
- Pretexting: This involves creating a fake identity or situation in order to trick people into revealing sensitive information.
- Quid pro quo: This involves offering something in exchange for sensitive information or access to restricted areas.
Hackers can use social engineering tactics to target individuals or organizations in order to gain access to websites or other sensitive information.
For example, a hacker might send a phishing email to an employee of a company, pretending to be the CEO and requesting login credentials in order to access the company’s website.
Alternatively, a hacker might use pretexting to trick a customer service representative into revealing login information for a customer’s account.
To protect against social engineering attacks, it is important to be aware of these tactics and to be cautious when receiving unsolicited requests for sensitive information.
2.3 Brute force attacks
A brute force attack is a type of cyber attack that involves using automated tools to try to guess a password by trying a large number of different combinations.
To protect your website from brute force attacks, you should use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication.
2.4 SQL injection attacks
An SQL injection attack involves injecting malicious code into a website’s database through a vulnerable form or input field. This can allow an attacker to access sensitive information, such as user login credentials, or to alter or delete data.
To protect your website from SQL injection attacks, you should ensure that all forms and input fields are properly validated and sanitized.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of a security breach, taking proactive measures can greatly reduce the chances of an attack and help protect your website, your business, and your users.