While it may look smooth and swift on the outside, it is actually a web of delicately placed source codes and programming, inter knitted together to create this beautiful representation of any business that you call a website.
And in the world of websites “WordPress” facilitates 1/3 of the majority. From a small scale consisting of personal blogging sites to complex enterprise sites, WordPress is crowned to have powered major corporations like Time Inc, Sony, New York Post, etcetera.
Currently, WordPress powers around 27% of all websites and dominates 76.4% of the CMS Market Share. Not only is it an open-sourced website and completely free, but it is also not owned by any sort of company. While not being an actual company with a CEO, it still has the capacity such that it runs economies worth billions.
However, as history defines, every prominence in the world is surrounded by conspiracies and threats. Unfortunately, so is the case with WordPress, where hackers are always in the quest to crack into the most reliable and trustworthy software and applications that gave birth to “WordPress SQL Injection.”
With cyber security concerns on the rise, the worst nightmare would be to find your customer information, trade secrets, critical data, and, most of all, intellectual property at stake. This online data must be kept safe by ensuring that you are using the right tools, apps, and integrations on your online platforms.
A report by WpScan revealed that WordPress plugins cause 52%, while WordPress themes cause 11% of vulnerabilities. It further stated that WordPress SQL Injection, in particular, causes most of these vulnerabilities. In fact, eliminating WordPress SQL Injection can remove 65% of the risk factor for all of these vulnerabilities, as reported by Wordfence.
WordPress SQL has been around for more than a decade, and yet, it still poses a great source of threat to website security. SQL injection is a scary thought even for seasoned programmers. A small mistake and your entire data can be hacked into! In order to ensure that such an accident does not hit your system, it is imperative that proper measures be taken to protect your data. Ranked as the second-worst hazard for WordPress users, we need to understand exactly how it weakens the security of a website.
Understanding WordPress SQL Injection
This refers to a type of injection attack that inserts and activates malicious SQL codes into the database, which compromises the security by altering the authorization of the web- application or the web page. An SQL injection basically impacts those platforms whose databases are built using SQL.
Typically, SQL injection attacks have two types. A classical one – where an unidentified user makes changes in the database. Secondly, a blind SQL injection – where the hacker blindly changes the database without seeing the output of their actions.
Hacking into databases using SQL injection is possible from various touch points that exist on your website. For instance, an injection of SQL WordPress is most likely to occur through contact forms, sign up forms, blog comments, eCommerce checkout page, search bar, or subscription pop-ups. However, the hackers’ most favorite way to get-in is through plugins such as TimThumb, Revslider, and Gravity Forms. A single loophole can provide a swift gateway for the hacker to take control of your database.
So, now that we know what exactly SQL injection is, the next question is How to prevent it. A few prevention techniques and methods have been discussed in the next part.
How to Prevent Code Injection Vulnerabilities in 2020?
1. Scan for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities
There are several tools out there that can scan your WordPress website. We have listed the most popular plugins that will do the hard labor for you and highlight any concerns.
- WordPress Security Scan: This checks for basic vulnerabilities and reports suspicious activity of the website.
- Sucuri SiteCheck: For outdated plugins, errors, blacklisted status, or malware, this plugin might be of great help.
- WPScan: The most popular vulnerability scanner that will notify loopholes on the website and provide suggestions to remove them.
2. Update Themes & Plugins Regularly
To protect the database from hackers, it is vital to choose the right theme and update the theme and plugins regularly. This reduces the consequences of SQL injection or prevents the database from being hacked. A secure and strong theme can make a lot of difference!
Before the update, it is necessary to look for compatibility among the themes, plugin version, and WordPress core update. To test, make a copy of your WordPress website, and check the WordPress staging environment’s compatibility.
According to a report on WordPress plugins it is stated that it has been almost a decade since many of the plugins have been updated. So, make sure to check the list of abandoned plugins to see if you are not installing an outdated plugin.
3. WordPress Core Update
An official report by WordPress revealed that 42.3% of the WordPress websites are using an up-to-date version. All the previous versions are vulnerable and may provide a gateway for hackers to breach. So it is better to always keep checking for updates and install them immediately when they are released.
4. Update PHP Version
Basically, 40% of the corporations still use the PHP 5.6 version, which gives the hacker easy access to SQL Injection. At times, the corporations are not at fault as they are bound by the hosting services that don’t support the recent PHP version. When this seems to be the case, it’s better to switch the hosting service to a WordPress managed hosting that provisions the latest PHP.
5. Protect Your Admin Login
Hackers mostly access WordPress by breaching into the admin password. A Two-step authentication will prevent the breach and dismantle the brute force attack into your critical data.
6. Limiting the Database Permissions
One basic code injection prevention technique is to limit the database login permissions by various apps. Using this technique, you can increase the prevention chances of SQL injection.
7. Removing Unwanted Functions of Database
Removing any unwanted database functions has proved to be the most effective of all SQL injection attack prevention methods. The unused database functionality and content is the prime culprit behind a potential SQL injection attack. To prevent this, you must delete all the unwanted database cells that might secure the WordPress site.
8. Use a Firewall
A convenient option is to use a firewall that will keep the customer’s data safe and protected. Moreover, you can easily limit the right of the user permissions based upon their subscription model. Each level will grant a certain limit to the access of the database. Limiting this access will safeguard malicious traffic to enter the website.
9. Hide WordPress Version
One sure-shot way to not allow hacking databases using sql injection, is not to display your WordPress version. The version provides an opportunity to find vulnerabilities on that particular version and can be used to breach the site. To hide the WordPress version, copy and paste the following line of code in your active theme’s functions .php file.
10. Restricting your input
An effective strategy to reduce the chances of SQL injection is restricting the level of input. What this primarily means is limiting the number of running questions through fields of input in contrast to specified matches that have been predetermined.
The Final Word…
These are some of the basic ways that you can apply to keep the hackers from easily penetrating into your organizational and personal systems, preventing your vulnerable data from falling in the wrong hands.
Online security is a severe concern for startups and entrepreneurs who are selling their products on a website. Nothing should be left to chance, therefore if you think you are not up to the task to use the above mentioned methods to protect your website, hire professionals like WP-Bridge to be your WordPress website protectors.