WordPress is a great tool for hosting blogs and other website content, but the open source nature of this platform does leave it open to some vulnerabilities. The good news is that there are some ways to avoid these issues, and you can also help ensure that your page is well-protected by staying up to date on the latest changes and security threats.
WordPress Fixes the Google Analyticator Plugin
One area of WordPress that is especially prone to vulnerabilities is the plugin feature. For example, the Google Analyticator plugin was recently discovered to have a flaw that could provide cybercriminals with a backdoor into any applicable WordPress page. Fortunately, this security risk was identified on June 2, 2015, and the development team quickly went into action to resolve the problem. As of June 18, a patch has been released that will protect users. However, to get this level of protection, anyone who is currently using the Google Analyticator plugin needs to update to version 126.96.36.199.
Security Issues with Specific Themes
Every WordPress user has access to the default theme named Twenty Fifteen that is installed automatically, and many people choose not to remove this theme in favor of a different one. Due to this, hackers are naturally interested in looking for a way to access sensitive information by targeting this specific theme. Unfortunately, a coding error left Twenty Fifteen with an XSS vulnerability that was discovered in May. Experts estimated that this issue left millions of blogs and sites unprotected. In fact, if anyone were to exploit this security loophole, they would be able to take full control of the administrative functions of the targeted site.
Even though this information was released more than a month ago and an updated version of Twenty Fifteen was made available in WordPress 4.2.2, a site owned by Microsoft was recently found to be the victim of hacking. Microsoft’s Digital Constitution site was using the Twenty Fifteen theme, and no new content had been published since April 2015. This left the site vulnerable because the security patch was not installed. Unsurprisingly, someone took advantage of this vulnerability, and the site was illegally altered to include several keywords about online gambling. This is a black-hat SEO technique, and it can dramatically impact the SEO and user friendliness of each affected site.
Tips for Avoiding WordPress Vulnerabilities
One of the best ways to avoid security issues with your WordPress hosted site is by keeping automatic background updates turned on. This will put each new patch into action as soon as they are released, and it is likely that this one simple act could have prevented the Digital Constitution hack. It is worth noting, though, that even this feature might not be good enough if it takes a while for a patch to be made available.
Perhaps the best way to avoid WordPress issues aside from turning on automatic updates and staying up to the date with the latest news is by choosing a reputable hosting company outside of the popular blogging platform. Keep in mind that other sites offer hosting that integrates with the WordPress environment, and they will push patches through to your site. This is yet another vital reason to choose the best website builder available for your particular needs. It might also be wise to skip WordPress altogether in lieu of selecting a host and site builder that has more extensive security measures in place.
No matter which platform you decide to use, you need to remain aware of the fact that any potential security vulnerabilities will eventually be found and exploited by hackers. With this in mind, it is clearly necessary to pay close attention to your site or blog on a regular basis. No one is certain how long the Digital Constitution site hack lasted because the people behind this website had not touched it in almost two months. By regularly checking each page of your site or blog, you can find and correct any issues that occur before they become extremely problematic.