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If you run a blog on WordPress, you might already know that the platform is incredibly popular and accessible. Despite its growing ubiquity and convenience, however, you might be wondering about the many security risks associated with using WordPress. Let’s take a closer look at these risks so you can be better prepared to assess them.

Malvertising

Malvertising, or online advertising that exploits vulnerabilities in third-party sites and apps to install malware on users’ devices, is one of the biggest threats to people who use WordPress. Malvertising continues to grow in severity each year, currently affecting nearly every website and app on the internet. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can follow to avoid getting infected with malware when using WordPress.

Phishing

Another major risk to your personal security is phishing, or email fraud. When you create an account with a popular website, you’re often presented with a veritable feast of email verification options. Typically, you’ll be asked to enter a password and mobile number, allowing the website to send you temporary verification emails. While this might be convenient for the website, it’s a security risk you have to be aware of.

Password Hacks

A related threat is password hacks, when a hacker discovers, uses, and spreads your personal information (such as usernames, emails, and passwords) — often without your knowledge or consent. The number of websites that have been victim to these types of hacks continues to rise. Last year, more than 80 million websites were hacked — and this number is predicted to rise.

Compromised Data

Any data you share — whether it’s personal information, credit card numbers, or login credentials — can be hacked and compromised. This is why it’s so important to keep your data safe and secret. Unfortunately, the simple act of using a common login for several accounts means your data is at risk. For example, if I steal your login credentials for a Starbucks account and a Subway account, I can access your account data for both sites without needing to hack either one.

Weak Login Security

A common mistake website owners make is assuming that a strong password will protect them from online threats. Unfortunately, this is often far from true. The truth is, anyone can create a strong password; however, this doesn’t mean their system is going to be 100% secure. This is where things get tricky. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, such as your email account and your WordPress account, then this means a hacker can simply map your password and gain access to your other accounts.

Bruteforcing Passwords

Another common mistake is using the same password (or the same password mixture) for multiple accounts. This is a recipe for disaster. When a hacker discovers your password and tries to login to one of your accounts, they’ll use a tool called a brute force attack to try and log in to all of them. A brute force attack is a software-based attack that uses many combinations of passwords to try and guess your login details. While this type of attack can be prevented with a good password policy, it’s still something to be aware of.

Manipulating Data

Data manipulation is when a hacker alters or replaces data with something else. For example, someone may hack your email account and steal your password, or they may intercept your email messages and replace them with ads or misleading content. Data manipulation is a common threat posed to all online accounts and can be extremely dangerous if not monitored closely.

Session Hijacking

While we’re on the subject of accounts, it’s important to note that, on some websites, when you log in using a particular device or browser, this device/browser will be tied to that account. If you’re using a public computer or someone else is sitting next to you, they may be able to see what device you’re logged in with and potentially access your account. Even if you’re just on one website and don’t use a proxy or VPN, hackers can still see what device you’re logged in with.

Manipulating Comments

Another common risk is when a hacker manipulates, or edits, the content of a website. They might leave fake comments on a site or replace comments with something else (i.e., spam). While this doesn’t happen very often, it does happen and it’s another reason why we need to keep our data safe and protected. In the same way you wouldn’t want someone to hack into your email account and steal your personal information, you don’t want your comments to be stolen either.

Proxies And VPNs

Finally, we come to one of the most important topics in terms of online security: Proxies and VPNs (virtual private networks). A VPN, as you might imagine, is a tool that allows you to securely access a remote server from within a local network. Proxies are tools that are used to access content that is prohibited to view within a specific country. They can be used to circumvent blocks imposed by large content- or platform-providers (i.e., Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The important thing to remember about proxies and VPNs is that, while they can be used for evil — especially when abused by hackers — they also provide vital security benefits to individual users.

In short, if you run a blog or website on WordPress, you should use strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts, logout of any inactive accounts, and keep your data secure by using a VPN. With these measures in place, you’ll be doing your website a favor by reducing the likelihood of getting infected with malware and compromising your personal information.