Are you concerned about your site’s SQL injection attacks? You may even be aware of the destructive effect it can have if you’re reading this! We’re going to teach you a simple way to avoid SQL injections.
SQL injections will cause a hacker to hijack and access control of your WordPress account. From there, they can redirect your traffic, steal sensitive information, inject spam links, exploit Japanese character search results and view advertising for illegal goods. This kind of attack will cause your site and your organization to suffer irreparable harm.
Luckily, if you take the right security precautions, SQL injections are preventable. We answer SQL injections in this guide and explore in detail the successful steps to avoid them and secure your website from WordPress.
By using a secure protection plugin, you can avoid SQL injections on your WordPress account. Install MalCare and the plugin will automatically search the web against such threats and protect it against them.
What Are SQL Injection Attacks?
All WordPress sites typically have input areas that allow information to be entered by a guest. This could be a search bar for a domain, a contact page, or a login form.
A visitor can enter their details, such as name, phone number and email, in a contact form and send it to your site.
This data is submitted to a MySQL account on your website. Here, it is handled and deposited.
Now, to ensure the data is checked and sanitized before it reaches the database, these input fields need proper configurations. A communication type weakness is, for instance, that only letters and numbers can be allowed. Ideally, it does not accept icons. Now, if this form accepts any information from your site, hackers will take advantage of it and inject malicious SQL queries like:
txtUserId = getRequestString("UserId"); txtSQL = "SELECT * FROM Users WHERE UserId = " + txtUserId;
Hackers run it to take control of your website until the script is saved in your database. They will then continue to take advantage of SQL injections, hack into your site, and execute malicious operations. They will begin to defraud clients, funnel users to phishing websites, and the like.
Thus, if the data from these input fields is not sanitized by your website, it means it has a SQL injection flaw.
How Does An SQL Attack Work?
Hackers attack websites that have bugs or poor security mechanisms that make it easier for them to hack in. Plugins and themes also develop bugs in our experience and hackers are well aware of this. In search of sites using insecure plugins and themes, they continually prowl the Website.
We’ll use an example case to illustrate this. Say Mr. A uses a ‘Contact Form’ plugin to allow a form on his website’s Contact Page. Let’s say that in this plugin, in version 2.4, a SQL injection flaw was discovered and the developers patched it and released an improved version 2.4.1.
The developers announce the explanation for the upgrade after publication, making the safety bug public knowledge. This suggests that hackers know that there is a security bug present in the Communication Type plugin version 2.4.
Still, for a few weeks, Mr.X has postponed downloading the upgrade and there is actually no time for the update to run. This is when stuff goes wrong.
When hackers find out about bugs, they run programs or use vulnerability scanners that use a custom version of a plugin/theme to crawl through the Internet and find websites.
In this case, using Feedback Form 2.4, they’ll check for websites. They’ll know the exact web flaw until they find the website, which makes it much easier for them to hack. They’ll exploit the SQL injection bug in this case and hack into your web.
Types of SQL Injections
Two kinds of SQL injections are used by hackers:
Classic SQL injection- The browser (like Chrome or Mozilla) sends an HTTP request to the website’s server to view the content while you visit a website. The web server will download the content from the archive of the site and send it back to your browser. That’s how you are able to access a website’s front end.
Today, the archive of your website includes all types of records, including proprietary details, such as client information, payment information, usernames and passwords. To release only the front-end info, your database should be configured. It is sufficient to protect all such sensitive records. Yet hackers take advantage of these device protection tests if they are not in operation.
Hackers send malicious requests to your database that extract data from their browser in a Classic SQL injection attack. But they use question strings to request personal information, such as the website’s login credentials. It will be forwarded to the hacker if you have not secured this information. They will get their hands on your login information in this manner and hack into your site. Attackers may also use scripted statements with high productivity as a means to repeatedly perform the same or identical database statements.
Blind SQL injection – In this, the hacker injects malicious scripts through input fields on your website. They execute it while it is stored in your database and do all manner of harm, such as modifying your website content or even removing your entire database. In this situation, they will even use the malicious scripts to obtain administrator rights.
On your website and your business, both scenarios may have a catastrophic effect. Luckily, by taking the right protection and feedback validation steps on your website, you can avoid such attacks.
Steps For Preventing SQL Injection Attacks
You need to carry out a vulnerability review on your website to discourage SQL injection attacks. Here are two kinds of steps that you can take to stop SQL attacks, some of which are simple and some of which are complicated and technological.
Easy Preventive Measures
- Install a security plugin
- Only use trusted themes and plugins
- Delete any pirated software on your site
- Delete inactive themes and plugins
- Update your website regularly
Technical Preventive Measures
- Change the default database name
- Control field entries and data submissions
- Harden your WordPress website
Let’s start off.
Quick protective steps against attacks by SQL injections
Install a security plugin
In order to protect your website, enabling a website protection plugin is the first step you need to take. Protection plugins for WordPress can watch the site and deter hackers from breaking in.
There are plenty of plugins to pick from, but we choose MalCare based on what it has to bring. To protect the site from threats, the plugin will automatically set up a web application firewall. Attempts to hack are detected and blocked.
Next, every day, the plugin’s security scanner will extensively search the web. You’ll be alerted automatically if there is any unusual behaviour or malicious activity on your account. Before Google has a chance to blacklist your domain or your hosting company chooses to suspend your site, you can take action and patch your site immediately with MalCare.
Update your website regularly
As we described in our SQL injection example earlier, they repair it and release a new version that carries the security patch when developers discover security vulnerabilities in their applications. In order to delete the bug from your web, you need to switch to the latest edition.
We recommend devoting time to upgrading your main WordPress installation, templates, and plugins once a week.
However, once you see the arrival of a security update, install the update instantly.
Only use trusted themes and plugins
WordPress is the most popular website construction tool, and it is partially thanks to the plugins and themes that make it simple and inexpensive. But you need to select carefully from the multitude of themes and plugins available. Check the plugin info, such as the number of active downloads, the date of the last update, and the version it was checked with.
We suggest that you import them from the website for WordPress. For all other themes and plugins, to check that they can be trusted, you can do proper research. This is because hackers are able to maliciously craft certain third-party themes and plugins. It could just be poorly programmed, too, opening it up to vulnerabilities.
Delete any pirated software on your site
Pirated or invalid themes and plugins are alluring. It provides you free access to premium features. But these usually come with preloaded malware, unfortunately. For hackers, pirated software is a convenient way to spread their malware.
The malware gets enabled when you upload it and infects your site. It is safer to stay away from apps like that.
Delete inactive themes and plugins
Installing a plugin and totally forgetting about it for years is normal. But this habit will expose hackers to your web. The more plugins and themes you have built on your web, the more bugs exist and hackers take advantage of them, the more risks there are.
We recommend that only the plugins and themes you use are kept. Remove the rest and make it more safe for your web. Scan the new themes and plugins frequently as well.
Technical Preventive Measures
Such steps may demand a little more awareness of WordPress’s inner workings. However, there’s a mod for everything nowadays. And you don’t need to think about the problems inherent with these steps being enforced. We’re making this easy!
Change the default database table name
Your WordPress site is made up of a folder and files. There are 11 tables in the database, by default. Various details and configurations are stored in each table. The prefix ‘wp_’ is used to name these tables. Then the table names should be wp-options, wp-users, wp-meta. You’re getting the drift.
These names are the same on all WordPress pages and this is known to hackers. Hackers are aware of which table stores what kind of information. When hackers insert malicious files, they know where the script is located on your website. They will execute SQL commands to run malicious operations using a simple procedure.
But if you change the table name, it will prevent hackers from knowing the location of the scripts. So they won’t be able to work out the table name as hackers want to insert SQL codes into the database tables.
By using a plugin like Alter Table Prefix or Brozzme, you can do this. On your web, simply install one of them and follow the steps.
By modifying the wp-config file, you can also do this manually. A word of caution-a small misstep here could lead to errors in the database and site malfunctions. Before you start, take a backup.
- Go to your > cPanel > File Manager hosting account.
- Open the public html folder here and right-click on the file wp-config.
- Click Edit and find the code that follows
- “$table prefix = ‘wp_’;”
- Replace it with –
- “$table prefix = ‘test_’;”
Any prefix of your choosing can be chosen. We’ve picked ‘test’ as the new database name here. Hackers won’t be able to find their SQL commands until they are completed.
Control field entries and data submissions
Both information fields on your website can be modified to allow only those data types. For eg, only alpha entries (letters) should be permitted in the name field, so there is no reason why numeric characters should be inserted here. Similarly, a sector with a contact number can only consider numerals.
The sanitize text field() feature that sanitizes user feedback may be used. This checking of the input makes sure that it is safe to block entries that are not right or simply unsafe.
Harden your WordPress website
This is one of the most significant moves you can take to defend against SQL injection attacks on your WordPress account. What’s Hardening the Website?
To support you run the blog, a WordPress website gives you multiple features. The bulk of persons, though, don’t use all of these features. If you don’t use them, WordPress.org advises disabling or deleting any of them. As there are fewer components for hackers to pursue, this will decrease the likelihood of attacks!
Certain hardening steps for WordPress are:
- Disabling the file editor
- Disabling plugin or theme installations
- Implementing 2-factor authentication
- Limiting login attempts
- Changing WordPress security keys and salts
- Blocking PHP execution in unknown folders
You can use a plugin like MalCare to enforce these steps, which lets you do this in only a few taps.
Or by following our Tutorial on WordPress Hardening, you can manually apply it.
Which takes us to the end of preventing attacks by SQL injection. Your site would be secure if you have applied the steps we have addressed in this SQL injection cheat sheet,
Prevention really is easier than treatment. Unnecessary tension and significant financial strain can be caused by SQL injection attacks.
Through the use of plugins, much of the steps we addressed today can be conveniently enforced. But you don’t need to think if you aren’t tech-savvy! You can still safeguard yourself!
We highly recommend enabling MalCare on your platform along with incorporating these steps. Its firewall will aggressively protect against attacks on your website. It checks your website every day to search your site for hacking attempts and malware.
You can think of it as a security guard for your website that tracks your site and keeps the bad guys out. Knowing that your web is safe, you will have peace of mind.