To make your life easier, I'm going to count down 11 WordPress Security mistakes that you should never make.
WordPress Security issues you can avoid
Keep WordPress Core, Theme and Plugin updated
Outdated WordPress Cores, Theme and plugins make your website vulnerable. Consequently, makes it a cakewalk for hackers to hack into your website.
Updating to the latest version not only improves the functioning and features of your software but also comes with enhanced security patches & amendments. It is certain that moving to updated safer versions of plugins, CMS, themes, etc. reduces the risks of your website getting hacked.
Having a Poor authentication
You have to keep strong passwords to make sure your website does not get hacked. A rookie mistake is to use the same password for everything. By using different strong passwords, you're making the hacking process tedious for the hacker.
Use special characters (!,@,#...), numbers, and letters of both cases in your password. Try to exceed at least 12 characters. Don't use obvious passwords. Periodically changing passwords have proven to be effective.
Use a password generator to create strong & safe passwords. Also, an abundance of passwords and limited memory does not serve well. Use a password manager tool such as PassBolt, LastPass, etc. to store and remember your passwords.
Go through the content that you are about to upload. It may sound pretty obvious, however, it is worth mentioning here. You have to make sure that both the server and browser end validate the input.
Now, what will happen if only the browser end can validate the content? Infectious code will pass into your website, compromising security.
Failing to Install an SSL Certificate
Install an SSL certificate. Not installing an SSL certificate can result in an unwanted warning message popup on your website, even though there's nothing wrong with it.
SSL has become an important pillar in building a strong website security structure. The biggest plus point of using an SSL certificate is that only an authorized person can access the sensitive data when it is sent across the internet.
Leaving Directory Indexing and Browsing Enabled
Not disabling the directory listing on your website can prove to be extremely disastrous for you. Directory listing is a web server function that displays a list of all the files when your website does not contain an index.php file.
If someone accesses your website using a web browser, they can see a list of folders and files. Security experts recommend disabling this function as this could give hackers a road map to hack into your websites. Hackers can use this information to add malicious code, viruses, or other infections to vulnerable or sensitive files & folders.
To prevent this, you must disable directory indexing and browsing. Follow these steps to achieve this:
Install the WP Hardening plugin. Go to the “Security Fixers” tab. Toggle the key next to “Hide Directory listing of WP includes and you’re done!
Unencrypted Sensitive Data
Sensitive data includes personal information, bank details, credit card details, and so on. It is important to make sure these details are encrypted when it is transferred back and forth between the browser and the server.
Unencrypted data increases the risk of these data getting intercepted by a middleman in between these two entities. Encrypting the data will reduce the risk of exposure significantly. The most popular way to encrypt sensitive data is to install an SSL/TSL certificate.
Lack of Visibility
Hackers often target abandoned or forgotten resources (such as defunct plugins, themes, software, etc.) in a website. These long-forgotten areas of your website, generally, have outdated & vulnerable security compared to the rest of the website.
You must ensure that either there are no such gateways present on your website or even if there is it is well up-to-date. This way, no malicious codes or suspicious activities can operate on/from your website.
Regular malware & vulnerability scanning shall help you with this.
Irregular or No Website Scans
Accepting your weaknesses is the first step in eliminating them.
This makes Website Security Scan a must. Scanning your website periodically will not only help you identify the vulnerability/infection/malware in your security system but also keep you ahead of the hacker in fixing that.
A scan can reveal any kind of foreign code, malware, or junk code on your website. It will also help you reveal any virus or other malware & infection.
At last, being agile in detecting threats also boosts your malware cleaning process. Even better than scanning is a Security Audit. An ideal security audit includes code analysis, business logic error testing, tests for known CVEs, etc.
Failing to Control User Access
There are three levels of user access - owner, group, and others that you give for files & folders. Limit the access of most people to keep your website secure. Only give each level the kind of access they require. In this way, several careless mistakes can be avoided.
Rendering the Admin Directory Unprotected
Make sure to password protect the wp-admin directory. It is one of the most important elements of your website. All the files that are required to perform admin-related functions are in this folder. There are so many ways in which the wp-admin directory is hacked and misused.
Nonetheless, you can secure your admin area in more than one way. Follow this blog to know better.
Unconsolidated security measures
An efficient Web Application Firewall (WAF) is called for to perfectly secure your website. The Astra Firewall is a hacker-tested firewall for websites on build on CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, OpenCart, custom PHP, Drupal, etc. It comes with security intelligent tools such as Malware Scanner, Health Check, VAPT(Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing), Immediate malware removal and more.
For websites built on less popular techstack than PHP, other firewalls can be found on the web.
Starting with Astra to secure your website is one of the best decisions you can make. It’s a single answer to all your website security problems.
The biggest mistake you can commit is compromising the security of your website. You have to give it due importance. After all, you've put in a lot of effort to create it. What you can do is make a checklist out of this blog and make sure you are not making these mistakes on your websites.