Can You Have Malware on Your WordPress Website?
WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. It’s been around since 2007 and is continually growing in popularity. It is a completely open-source project that can be accessed and used by anyone. There are many reasons why WordPress is so popular, but perhaps the biggest reason is that it’s extremely easy to use and set up.
Although WordPress is a fantastic content management system and extremely popular, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Thanks to the open-source nature of WordPress, it is constantly being updated and improved upon by many people and organizations around the world. One of the main issues that is brought up time and time again is security. For as popular as WordPress is, it still has many flaws when it comes to security.
Why Are Security Flaws Inevitable?
Security is a major concern for any business or individual that operates a website, especially if they’re running a WordPress-based website. After all, if you’re reading this you probably already know that WordPress is very user-friendly and easy to use; that makes it a prime target for hackers and malware writers. In fact, a recent report from Wordfence found that WordPress is the second most commonly targeted platform after Facebook when it comes to cybercrime. The reasons for this are simple:
- It’s extremely popular
- It’s user-friendly
- It has a lot of features
- It is constantly being updated
- It has a lot of themes and plugins available for free
- It has a large community of developers contributing to the project
- It’s available in many different languages
Unfortunately, even with all of these advantages, WordPress still has security flaws. Here are three major ones.
The Return Of The Spamming Problem
Spamming is one of the most major security flaws that WordPress currently has. It’s a known fact that WordPress is often used as a way to launch spam campaigns because of its popularity and open-source nature. The worst offenders are normally English speakers from Birmingham, UK who use WordPress to send out spam emails with words like “Viagra”, “Cialis”, “Levitra”, and “Erectile Dysfunction” in the subject line. The emails themselves usually look like they’re from a pharmacy or health website and often instruct recipients to click on a link to receive their medication.
The issue with spamming in WordPress is that it’s extremely easy for someone to create a blog using WordPress. The barrier of entry is very low and if someone wants to launch a spam campaign, they’re going to do it regardless of whether or not WordPress has spam filters installed. The solution to this is simple: use a reputable spam filtering service like MailChimp, Hotmail, or Gmail to filter out spam before it hits your inbox.
Weak Authentication Requirements
The second major security flaw in WordPress is that it has weak authentication requirements. This means that anyone can register an account on WordPress and use the platform with little to no verification. This creates a massive security risk for websites that use WordPress as their CMS or for those that allow anonymous comments.
One easy way to prevent this is to require users to enter a valid email address and set up a password with a minimum length of 8 characters. You can also require users to verify their email address by clicking a link in an activation email that is sent from WordPress. This will prevent many account hacks that would otherwise occur due to weak password security and lack of email verification.
SQL Injection Attacks
The last security flaw in WordPress is probably the most severe one. It’s been around for a while, but it was only recently that WordPress started to pay attention to it and started fixing the issue. SQL injection is a type of attack where malicious code is injected into a database entry. This code can then be used to perform various actions on the site such as steal information, reset passwords, or even delete data.
The issue with SQL injection in WordPress is that it’s really easy to do and unless you take the time to learn about it and how to prevent it, it will continue to plague your site. The only way to truly prevent SQL injection attacks is to not allow users to directly manipulate data on your site. This means that if an external source like a third-party service or an affiliate offers a product that needs to be purchased, then display a message telling visitors to contact the vendor directly for information or to purchase the product.
How Can You Prevent Malware On Your WordPress Website?
Now that you know the kind of malware that is currently plaguing people’s WordPress websites, you might be wondering how you can prevent it from infecting your own site. Luckily, there are simple precautions you can take that will make a difference. Here are three things you can do to prevent malware on your WordPress website:
Use A Reputable Spam Filter
The first step you should take to ensure that your WordPress site is malware-free is to use a reputable spam filter to catch any incoming spam before it can reach your inbox. It’s important to note here that if you use an email marketing service to manage your campaigns, then you will most likely already have a spam filter in place. However, even if you don’t use an email marketing service, it’s still a good idea to install a reputable spam filter.
Many spam filters will come with a built-in malware scanner and that’s a good thing. If you use an email marketing service to send out your messages, then they will most likely already have a built-in malware scanner. However, even if you don’t use an email marketing service, it’s still a good idea to install a scanner. This way, you can scan any emails that arrive at your inbox for any malware.
It’s important to note here that the built-in malware scanners in email marketing services will not provide you with all the protection you need. To truly protect your site, you will need to install a third-party scanner like Wordfence’s free anti-spam plugin or Sucuri’s free malware scanner. Both of these plugins work well together and can provide you with the maximum protection your site needs.
Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network is a group of servers that are all connected to each other and function as a single unit to deliver content faster to your site’s visitors. The advantage of using a CDN is that it can reduce the strain that is put on your own web server when a lot of people visit. It does this by pulling content from a collection of other web servers that are closer to your site’s visitors. The closer these servers are, the quicker your site’s visitors will experience an improvement in load times.
Since most of the malware that is currently plaguing people’s WordPress websites comes from China, it’s a good idea to use a CDN that is hosted in China. If you use a Google CDN, then all you need to do is upload your website to goggleapibadcom and it will immediately start displaying content from Google’s vast cache. This is a great option if you’re looking for a free CDN that pulls from Google’s cache.
Use A Proxy To Filter Out Requested Resources
Since we’re already on the topic of preventing malware, it’s only fair that we introduce you to another simple method that can greatly improve your site’s security. Just like with the spam filter, this method is only going to work if you use it in conjunction with another security plugin. The idea behind the proxy server is to block requests for resources that are on a blacklist or that are considered unsafe. While this might not be the most convenient or friendly way to browse the web, it can be a great way to keep your site safe from hackers and malware writers.
One of the issues with the proxy server method is that it requires you to actively monitor and update a list of blacklisted resources that are stored somewhere on your site. This can be a difficult task and it’s probably not the kind of thing that you want to do every day. However, it’s still a good idea to set this up as a one-time action after you’ve setup your WordPress site. Don’t worry, it’s not going to affect your site’s functionality in any way.