WordPress security audits are a great way to find out more about your website’s security. They can help you identify security threats, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and application vulnerability, and show you how you can best secure your website. A common misconception is that WordPress websites need to be created by a professional development firm or Web designer in order to carry out an effective security audit. But in actual fact, anyone can conduct a basic security audit on their WordPress site. Here’s how…
First of all, you should first of all look to see whether there is any malicious activity or suspicious code on your website. You may be concerned about this step, as you probably don’t want to hire a developer to do the audit for you – and rightly so! However, WordPress developers have been trained to identify vulnerable areas in your site that could be exploited, so you should not assume they will identify every possible vulnerable spot on your website. If you’re not that comfortable with code audits then just remember that you can use third-party plug-ins to perform basic checks on your website.
There are plenty of free third-party plugins available on the Internet, which can easily perform basic security audits for your WordPress blog. These plugins work just like any other plugins: they are installed with your WordPress installation, and then they monitor the ‘posts’ that your plugin has. Every time a post is added, a notification is sent to your plugin supervisor (or your admin), who can then examine the details of the post and if it contains suspicious activity he/she can decide whether to notify you or not. This is all it takes to implement security loopholes. Of course, the drawback is that these security loopholes are also exposed to the public, meaning that if you publish a particularly vulnerable plugin, others can easily duplicate the problem.
Another problem with relying on free third-party security audits is that most people don’t know what malicious code is, so they can’t really understand why their posts are being filtered. When performing a security audit, WordPress users should always perform a search on their keywords to filter out suspicious content. For instance, if your keywords are ‘PayPal online payment’ and you have lots of posts that contain the keywords then the likelihood is that you are dealing with malicious activity. In addition, you may also find that a lot of sites are violating some of your content policies, which are another reason to perform an audit. Finally, if you don’t catch malicious code in time then your blog may even be hacked into, which would be catastrophic!
Luckily, there are some great paid third-party WordPress plugins that can perform deep and complex security audits. For example, the “WordPress Site Explorer” plugin will show you exactly where users access your files. It will also automatically perform a login brute force attack, which will reveal if your password is compromised. If it is, then the plugin will change it for you, as well as rewrite your entire post by replacing your username and password with a stronger one.
However, many people overlook this aspect of WordPress and don’t perform any type of audit on backups. Because WordPress stores all of your data in MySQL, it makes it very easy for someone to take control of your database. Fortunately, many plugins have the ability to backup your database before it changes, which is called a backup plugin. You can also choose to do a full database backup which will include all of your posts, passwords, and emails, but it will take quite a bit longer. If you’re just looking for a basic backup, then make sure you have an active plugin that backs up your database regularly. Even if you’re only doing a one-time backup, make sure you remember to run it periodically.
While you have the best possible WordPress backup plugin in place, hackers will also have the same protection. It’s important to not only keep up to date with the latest version, but also to update it whenever it’s available. Hackers love new versions because they think that new features will allow them to break into your site and steal your information. They also know that WordPress will be less likely to notice the vulnerability so they’ll try to exploit it sooner or later. If you don’t have the latest version, then you may not have the latest security fixes, which could allow hackers to successfully bypass your protection.
Lastly, you need to use Sucuri’s Security Suite to make sure you have the most up-to-date protection. This software provides a couple different kinds of protection, including both a regular “spyware detection” plugin and a custom “vulnerability checker” plugin. The regular spyware detection works to notify you of any new versions that might have the same application or script that’s causing the problem. The custom vulnerability checker will search through your entire database of WordPress files to find vulnerable WordPress sites and report back on any potential security risks. Keeping all of these steps in mind is the most effective way to ensure your site’s security, and a Sucuri security audit should always be performed before updating any plugin or version.