According to W3Techs, 42.6% of all websites use WordPress as their Content Management System. It is arguably the most trusted platform out there yet; WordPress websites get breached. What could be the reason behind WordPress sites getting hacked?
Indeed, it’s not from the developer’s side, given that WordPress employs some of the finest developers to work with them. So, the only option left to discuss is the businesses. Are you sure you are employing the best security measures to repel a cyberattack? To find out the problem, we mention seven key reasons why a WordPress website could be hacked. Let’s take a look:
7 reasons behind the hacking of WordPress websites
1. Not having an SSL certificate.
WordPress cannot be held accountable for your mistakes. In 2018, Google already stated that every website must get an SSL certificate to score high search rankings.
In fact, the search engine now marks non-SSL websites as “Not Secure” and restricts users from visiting them. Now that you have understood how important an SSL is, you must know what it actually is SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificate is a security protocol that protects your website’s connection by encryption.
It makes your connection virtually immune to man-in-the-middle attacks and data theft by encrypting the communication between your customer’s browser and your website server.
You can buy SSL in multiple variants depending on your unique needs, namely, a regular single domain SSL (one that is used for small businesses for encrypting their root domain’s connection) and a Wildcard SSL (the one that large enterprises use to protect both their root domain & unlimited subdomains to the first level). Multi-domain SSL certs can be employed for securing up to 250 FQDNs.
If your website features separate subdomains for payments, shopping, and updates, then a wildcard SSL will be your best bet, as you can get all of them protected under one single cert.
Wondering where to buy an SSL from? Reliable CAs like AlphaSSL, RapidSSL, Comodo SSL certificates have you covered. They provide the best-in-class SSL certs at affordable prices. So, buy an SSL today.
2. Weak password hygiene
We cannot stress enough the importance of a strong password, and it finds a place in almost every tech guru’s list of “must-haves.”
Weak passwords make it easier for hackers to do their jobs. They don’t have to set you up with a phishing email, nor do they have to get into your root directory to hack into your website.
A simple 12-character word is enough to hack your business. So, employ strong passwords by using special symbols, characters, and numbers. Oh, and better not, use the same password to sign in to your Facebook account.
3. Zero emphases on software updates
WordPress is no demigod. It can encounter threats here and there, but you don’t have to worry because there is a team of developers catering to those threats.
However, it does require you to update your software. Updates are released to ensure that cybercriminals can exploit no loopholes. So, always keep the security patches updated and be attentive towards WordPress updates.
4. Not being skeptical about file permissions.
The world is a harsh place. Not everyone is worth granting your file permission to. File permissions are given to the web server so that it can allow others to control your files.
Ensure that your file’s numeric value is 744; anything above that value can be catastrophic. The ideal numeric value, though, is 644. As far as the concern for the WordPress folder goes, the permitted number value is 755. Anything below or above this can prove to be fatal for your WordPress site. So, go and check your file attributes and change them, if need be, right away.
5. Not updating themes and plug-ins.
Like software updates, themes are also updated from time to time. An authentic theme sends out timely updates letting its users know that there is a need for a security patch. If not taken seriously, themes can leave a flaw that can increase your loading time, misbehavior with information, and faulty layout.
As a business owner, you cannot let any such thing happen, even for a single solitary second. Moreover, don’t forget about plug-ins too. Plug-ins, if not updated, can misbehave and might give a potential hacker a free doorway into your website.
6. Not employing 2-factor authentication.
2FA is no less than a blessing to a business owner. In our opinion, such things should be openly greeted by businesses across the globe. But, much to our disappointment, some businesses only rely on passwords to operate their site.
Whenever someone tries to log in to your site, the 2FA system alerts your desired device, letting you know of the login attempt. Moreover, it facilitates using a PIN or OTP to enter an account even after entering the right password, which provides an additional layer of protection.
7. Many admins and a default username
WordPress has a policy of providing a default username “admin” for every account. Much to our amusement, businesses never bother to change it to something else. This helps guess the username easily, and hackers only have to guess the password.
Moreover, many admins accessing a single website can be a huge problem. Not every person is worth sharing sensitive credentials with. It is best to keep complete access to yourself and create levels of login for your team.
Hackers might not want to target you but, they will surely be interested in your employees. One click on an unsolicited email, and your entire business goes for a toss. So, better change your username and keep the admin access to limited personnel.
WordPress is a fantastic platform to work on, but it cannot be held liable for a businessperson’s mistake. Not paying attention to software, plug-in, and theme updates can land you in trouble.
Moreover, the absence of an SSL certificate is another big reason behind data theft and breaches. If you can maintain a firm grip over all the seven factors mentioned above, you can create a safe environment to operate your business. Follow these seven steps and secure your WordPress website.