12 WordPress Security Issues (Vulnerabilities) & Tips To Fix Them


Is WordPress secure?

The WordPress core is absolutely stable, to put it in a nutshell. WordPress is created and operated by some of the world’s most committed and successful engineers.

Minor Issue: WordPress is not a stand-alone application. There are plugins and themes to consider, as well as usernames and passwords. They have the potential to make the CMS hackable.

We’ve been in the WordPress security industry for nearly a decade, and we’ve seen a lot of compromised WordPress accounts. On a regular basis, MalCare defends over 250,000 websites from hackers and malicious attacks.

NOTE: WordPress is not inherently insecure because of themes, plugins, or user credentials. It’s done by using out-of-date themes and plugins, as well as poor credentials.

We’ll cover the following topics in this article:

The most popular vulnerabilities and hacks you can encounter, as well as the measures you can take to protect your web.

TL;DR version

Install our WordPress Security Plugin to secure your site from WordPress security issues. It will use a firewall to protect your site and perform a regular scan. It will also assist you in implementing several website hardening steps without causing your site to break.

The 12 Most Common WordPress Security Vulnerabilities and Issues

WordPress security issues can be divided into three categories:

  • Common WordPress vulnerabilities
  • Common WordPress hacks

Your website’s vulnerabilities are abused in order to gain access to it. The probability of a hack was minimised by patching vulnerabilities. There are five big flaws in your website that you should be aware of –

5 Most Common WordPress Security Vulnerabilities

1. Outdated Themes & Plugins

For nearly a decade, we’ve been working on WordPress security. We know for a fact that outdated themes and plugins are the leading cause of hacked websites because we’ve dealt with hundreds of thousands of them.

WordPress themes and plugins, like any other programme, create flaws. Developers quickly released an update to fix the issue. Site owners leave their sites vulnerable to hackers when they postpone or refuse to introduce changes.

Consider Contact Form 7, the most common form plugin in the world. It discovered a flaw that allowed hackers to take full control of your website. Despite the fact that the developers released a patch almost immediately, several website owners were hacked as a result of delaying or ignoring the update. Fortunately, we were able to clean up their website and return it to normal.

More information about Contact Form 7 can be found here. The following are some other well-known plugin flaws:

  • File Upload vulnerability
  • Revslider vulnerability
  • TimThumb vulnerability

2. Nulled WordPress Plugins & Themes

The temptation to use nulled themes and plugins is powerful. After all, you’re getting premium features without spending any money. However, you might be unaware that such plugins and themes are not free.

Nulled themes and plugins are not distributed to assist you, despite what you can believe. Rather, the motivations are nefarious.

Backdoors abound in pirated themes and plugins. When you instal it on your site, you are unwittingly opening a door that hackers can use to gain access to it.

Even if you clean your domain, it will remain vulnerable as long as the pirated theme or plugin persists. It will be compromised several times.

Furthermore, developers do not have patches for pirated themes and plugins. Your website is now at risk as a result of this.

The wp-feed.php infection, which affects hundreds of thousands of WordPress websites, is caused by pirated themes and plugins.

3. Poor WordPress Login Security

Since it gives hackers direct access to your WordPress account, your login page is a common target.

Hackers create bots that can test hundreds of usernames and passwords in a matter of minutes in order to crack your login credentials. A brute force attack is what this is known as.

Weak credentials, such as admin, consumer, password123, and p@ssw0rd, are easy to crack.

Even if brute force attacks fail, hundreds of failed login attempts on your site will strain your server. As soon as the wp-config.php file is run, the WordPress login page pre-loads the entire website.

That will undoubtedly slow down your website. Your site can crash and return a 503 error due to a system overload.

4. Poor Hosting Environment

Your website could be vulnerable as a result of poor hosting services. Consider your hosting company to be the chair’s legs. It can support the weight of people who are seated. Consider a leg that has been infected with termites. Under strain, this causes the chair to fall.

Similarly, your hosting is a pillar that supports your website. Your website will not thrive if the hosting is compromised.

Obscure hosting companies are notorious for having poor hosting conditions. If you use something other than the best hosting services, your website would most likely be vulnerable to a hack or a crash.

Also well-known hosting companies that provide shared hosting services, however, may put your website at risk. Shared hosting platforms have several security flaws. Because of the mutual existence of the internet, when one website is hacked, it affects all other websites on the same server.

5. Poor WordPress User Role Practices

WordPress provides you with six different user positions from which to choose. Each user function has the following powers:

Administrator \s Editor \s Author\s Contributor\s Subscriber

The administrator is the most influential of the group, with complete control over the entire website. This kind of power can’t be given to just anybody. Despite this, we come across a lot of websites that have made all of their users administrators.

If a single consumer tries to abuse the power bestowed upon him or her, the results may be disastrous for your website. It also gives them the ability to build ghost administrators and backdoors in order to regain access to your site if their accounts are ever deleted.

Alternatively, they can make a fast buck by silently exploiting your site and data. We’ve seen cases where a hacker changed the bank account linked to a WooCommerce site’s payment gateway and drained all the money out of the victim’s shop.

Furthermore, if any of your users are using poor passwords, you’re more likely to be hacked or lose full control of your site.

These are the five most popular WordPress flaws.

WordPress websites are vulnerable to a variety of hacking attempts as a result of these flaws. In the following segment, we’ll go through some of the more popular ones.

7 Most Common WordPress Hacks

1. SQL Injection

The majority of WordPress hacks take advantage of a flaw on your blog. In the case of a SQL injection attack, hackers take advantage of flaws in type plugin input fields. They use it to insert malicious PHP scripts into your site’s database in order to steal data or take control of the whole thing.

2. Pharma Hack

Pharma hacks, including SQL injections, are carried out by leveraging a vulnerable theme or plugin, as well as possibly weak credentials.

After gaining access to your site, hackers can instal malware such as the favicon.ico virus, which will infect your ranking pages with spammy keywords and pop-up advertising. The aim is to rank the prescription drugs they’re selling using your site’s SEO credibility. The pop ads are used to guide visitors to their stores, where the product can be purchased.

SEO Spams are another name for this form of hacking attack.

3. Japanese Keyword Hack

The pharma hack is very similar to the Japanese keyword hack. To gain access to your site, hackers take advantage of vulnerable plugins and themes. Then spammy Japanese terms and referral links are inserted into your websites. If your site begins to rank for Japanese keywords, it begins to attract visitors who will click on the malicious affiliate links to purchase the hackers’ goods.

4. Cross-Site Scripting Attack

Cross-site scripting is a tricky hacking technique that uses a weak plugin or theme to carry out the attack.

For example, suppose a flaw in a comment plugin allows hackers to post a malicious connection in the comment section. Anyone who clicks on the connection will give their browser cookies access. Hackers use the site’s user’s browser cookie to steal user credentials and gain access to your site.

Cookie theft and hijacking session attacks are terms used to describe this form of hack.

5. Phishing

Hackers use a weakness (such as an obsolete plugin or theme or poor credentials) to gain access to your web in a phishing attack.

The tools on your site are then used by hackers to send spam emails to your customers. Their aim is to trick people into clicking a connection that leads to a fake website, such as an e-banking site.

Visitors would then be duped into sharing personal information such as credit card numbers by hackers.

6. Privilege Escalation

Hackers guess user passwords to gain access to your site in a brute force attack. But what if they took control of a user with limited access, such as a Contributor or Subscriber?

For that kind of account, they couldn’t really do anything. They need administrative privileges. That’s why they start granting further rights.

Hackers exploit plugin vulnerabilities to circumvent the permissions given to their user account and ultimately gain complete control of the web. More information on privilege escalation can be found here.

7. WP-VCD.php Hack

Hackers gain access to your site by pirated or obsolete themes and plugins in a WP-VCD.php assault. They store illegal files and directories on your site, such as cracked apps, pirated films, and TV shows. As a result, they consume a significant amount of your energy, making your website extremely sluggish. Your hosting provider can also suspend your site if it consumes far too many resources.

That brings us to the conclusion of the most famous WordPress hacks. Unless you take the following security precautions, your website is likely to be hacked.

How to Fix the Most Common WordPress Security Issues?

We discussed the most common vulnerabilities that WordPress websites face, as well as the different types of hacks that these vulnerabilities may lead to.

Let’s take a look at how to fix those flaws. The probability of a hack will be significantly reduced as a result of this.

1. Install a WordPress Security Plugin

There are several protection plugins to choose from, but not all of them are efficient. Many people excel at making a lot of noise but fall short of delivering.

MalCare is a no-nonsense security plugin that provides real-time protection against hackers and malicious bots.

It’s made to plug all of your security gaps.

  • The plugin aids in the upkeep of your website.
  • It will search your site on a regular basis and notify you immediately if there are any malware infections.
  • It will assist you in implementing the WordPress-recommended site security measures.
  • It will also set up a firewall to filter out malicious traffic from any country or system. Hackers and bots are prevented from accessing the platform until they can do something.

2. Keep Your Website Updated

The value of security updates cannot be overstated. You may have noted that the majority of the hacking attacks we discussed earlier were triggered by outdated themes and plugins. It occurs when the web is not updated in a timely manner. It makes the web vulnerable to hacking.

3. Stop Using Pirated Plugins & Themes

To spread backdoors, pirated themes and plugins are made available online. It’s used to break into your website and obtain unauthorised access.

Many pirated software distribution websites exist to share resources and assist others. Users can upload pirated themes and plugins to their sites. These uploads are not vetted, and hackers take advantage of the opportunity to distribute malware-infected plugins and themes.

The bottom line is that you should avoid using pirated themes and plugins.

Even if you get one from a reliable source, pirated themes and plugins will not receive updates. You don’t want to put your site at risk by using obsolete tech.

4. Implement Login Security Measures

Hackers regularly conduct brute force attacks on your login page. There are a few things you can do to keep the page secure. These are the ones:

Maintain good passwords – Keep track of all usernames and passwords used on your site. Make using unique usernames and secure passwords a must.

Implement CAPTCHA security – A CAPTCHA can assist in reducing the amount of failed login attempts. If you use a security plugin like MalCare, it will automatically allow CAPTCHA protection on your blog.

Implement Two-Factor Authentication – After enabling two-factor authentication, you will be required to enter a code sent to your registered phone number in order to access your WordPress admin dashboard.

Two-factor authentication is used by services like Facebook and Gmail to ensure that the right user is accessing the account. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing two-factor authentication.

Implement Two-Factor Authentication – After enabling two-factor authentication, you will be required to enter a code sent to your registered phone number in order to access your WordPress admin dashboard.

Two-factor authentication is used by services like Facebook and Gmail to ensure that the right user is accessing the account. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing two-factor authentication.

5. Implement Proper User Roles

It’s a bad idea to give admin access to every single person. Only a few trusted users should have access to such capacity.

Examine all of your site’s users to determine what permissions they need to perform their daily tasks.

The following is a list of the privileges given to WordPress users:

  • Administrator – Has full control over the website and has access to all features.
  • Editor – Has the ability to manage and publish all articles.
  • Authors can only write and maintain their own articles.
  • Contributor – They can compose and draught articles, but they can’t publish them.
  • Subscribers are only able to manage their own profiles.

Select user functions carefully.

This addresses all of the previously mentioned flaws. If you take the steps outlined above, your chances of being hacked will be significantly reduced. However, if you want full security, you must harden your site’s security.

6. Implement Website Hardening

The following site security steps are recommended by WordPress:

  • Change file permissions
  • Rename database table prefix
  • Install an SSL certificate
  • Take regular backups
  • Disabling file editors

You can disable the file editors with a single click if you’re using MalCare Security Services.

5. Implement Proper User Roles

Giving every single individual admin access is a bad idea. Only a small number of trusted users should have access to such resources.

Examine all of the users on your site to see what permissions they need to carry out their daily tasks.

The rights granted to WordPress users are as follows:

  • Administrator – Controls the whole website and has access to all features.
  • Editors are in charge of managing and publishing all posts.
  • Authors are limited to writing and maintaining only their own posts.
  • Contributor – They will write and sketch papers but not publish them.
  • Subscribers have sole control of their own accounts.

User functions should be carefully chosen.

This fixes all of the bugs listed previously. Your chances of being compromised would be greatly decreased if you follow the measures described above. However, if you want complete protection, you must harden the security of your website.

6. Implement Website Hardening

WordPress recommends the following site protection measures:

  • Change the permissions on a file
  • Prefix for database tables should be renamed.
  • An SSL certificate should be mounted.
  • Regularly back up your data.
  • File editors are disabled.

If you’re using MalCare Security Services, you can switch off the file editors with a single click.

The plugin can assist you in implementing additional site protection measures such as preventing theme and plugin installations, preventing PHP execution in an untrusted folder, modifying security keys, and resetting all passwords.

You can also upgrade your backup service plan to a higher level.

Impact of a Hacked Website

If your website is compromised, you could face serious consequences. The following are some of the most common consequences of a hacked WordPress website:

  • Hackers use your visitors to guide them to their malicious websites. The bounce rate increases and the amount of time users spend on your web decreases as a result of this.
  • Your web will be slowed down by popup ads on your pages or unauthorised files saved on your site’s servers.
  • Nobody enjoys a sluggish website. The back button will be easily pressed by visitors. People leaving your site far too quickly will be noticed by search engines, and they will perceive this as a sign of a bad website that fails to meet visitor standards. Your website will be de-ranked by search engines.
    All of the time, effort, and money you put into improving your SEO will be for naught.
  • When Google and your hosting company discover that your site has been compromised, they may issue misleading site notices to users and will blacklist or suspend your site, depending on the situation.
  • Cleaning up a hacked website is costly.

So, what’s next?

Do you want to know if your website is insecure or has been hacked? Is my website hacked? is an article that will assist you in getting a response.

If your site has been compromised, you’ll need a strong plugin to remove the malware from every nook and cranny.

MalCare is just what you’re looking for.