10 WordPress Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Know About

WordPress has seen explosive growth since its creation, and there are now over 60 million WordPress sites online. This has made WordPress the most popular blogging platform on the internet today. 

WordPress has become so popular because it’s easy to use, powerful, versatile, and highly customizable with thousands of themes and plugins available. However, this popularity also comes with some security issues that all WordPress users need to be aware of in order to protect their sites from hackers and other malicious attacks. 

Here are 10 vulnerabilities you need to know about when using WordPress for your site or blog.

10 WordPress Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Know About

Theme files

When it comes to WordPress security, your theme files are some of the most important. That’s because they can contain malicious code that can be used to take over your site. Plus, themes can also be used to attack other sites on the same server. Here are 10 WordPress security vulnerabilities you need to know about:

1. Outdated themes

Outdated themes are a major security vulnerability. That’s because they may contain outdated code that can be exploited by hackers.

Plus, when someone uploads an outdated theme to your server, the exploit could impact not just one site but all of them. To protect yourself from this type of attack, make sure that any new themes or plugins you install are up-to-date and have been vetted by trusted sources before installing them on your site. 

Also, check the version number in your current active theme against the list of known vulnerable versions released by WPScan and Sucuri. 

2. Leaked credentials 

Whenever you log into WordPress with a username and password combination, those credentials are stored in plain text on your server (even if you're using SSL). 

If an attacker gains access to these credentials through brute force methods like SQL injection or cross-site scripting attacks, they will have complete control over your site! 

The best way to combat this is by enabling two-factor authentication for added protection. For more information on how to do this, read our blog post How To Protect Your WordPress Site From Brute Force Attacks.

3. Unpatched plugins

Plugins are one of the main ways hackers gain access to your site. As such, keeping your plugins updated is crucial to maintaining WordPress security. 

Of course, updating plugins regularly means logging into the dashboard, locating the plugin you want to update and then clicking Update now. But there's an easier way! 

By following these four steps, you'll be able to stay on top of plugin updates without having to login at all: 

  • Add the WordPress Updates widget onto your sidebar.
  • Use a plugin to display the latest version of all your plugins.
  • Create a dedicated email address for notifications.
  • Configure WordPress to send you an email when a new version of a plugin is available.
  • Leave the plugins in their default "updates enabled" state and act on these occasional emails as they come in.

Keeping your Wordpress site secure and up-to-date can be easy if you follow these simple steps.

Plugin files

If you're running a WordPress site, it's important to be aware of the potential security vulnerabilities. 

Here are 10 of the most common WordPress security issues and what you can do about them:

  1. It is possible for hackers to upload files that contain malware or ransomware into your plugin files. To prevent this from happening, keep your plugins up-to-date with new versions as they become available and don't install plugins from outside sources that aren't trusted.
  2. Hackers can use stolen passwords to access your site.
  3. User names are a security vulnerability.
  4. Old plugins and themes can be compromised by hackers.
  5. Out-of-date software is vulnerable to hacking.
  6. You can use strong passwords to protect your site.
  7. Malicious files may be added to your site without your knowledge.
  8. Suspicious user accounts may indicate hacker activity.
  9. Spam users can quickly overwhelm your site and hinder the real users you want to attract.
  10. Too many failed login attempts can be a sign of hacking.

WordPress security issues are common but there are ways that you can protect your website from these attacks.

Directory listings

If you're running a website on WordPress, it's important to be aware of the various security vulnerabilities that can affect your site. 

Here are 5 of the most common security issues to watch out for 

  1. Search engine poisoning: this is when hackers try to poison search engine results by connecting different words with bad content from another website. 
  2. Brute force attacks: this is when hackers use automated programs in an attempt to break into your site by guessing passwords or inserting different usernames and passwords until they get in. 
  3. Buffer overflow: this is when web developers forget to account for certain values and their codes take up more space than what's allocated in memory. As a result, all the data beyond what was allocated gets overwritten with new data which could include malicious code like viruses and spyware. 
  4. SQL injection: this happens when programmers create databases but don't add parameters to protect against SQL injections, which are specific commands meant to extract information from database tables. These could lead to major disruptions on websites if left unchecked.
  5. Cross-site scripting (XSS): these happen when attackers inject scripts in forms or comments as well as through other means, allowing them to exploit a website and steal sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.

WordPress core files

One of the most important things you can do to secure your WordPress site is keep your core files up to date. Every time a new version of WordPress is released, it includes security fixes for vulnerabilities that have been discovered. By keeping your core files up to date, you’re ensuring that your site is as secure as possible.

User account access (user enumeration)

One of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities is user enumeration. This occurs when someone is able to guess or brute force a username on your site and then gain access to that account. Once they have access, they can do anything they want, including changing your password, deleting content, or adding their own malicious code.

Third-party software installed on the server

One of the most common security vulnerabilities in WordPress is third-party software. This can be anything from themes and plugins to code snippets and tools. 

While most of these are harmless, some can introduce serious security risks. That's why it's important to only install trusted third-party software on your WordPress site.

Defaults and configurations in place on the web server

If you're running a web server, there are a few default configurations and settings in place that can leave your site vulnerable to attack. For example, leaving directory listing enabled or running an outdated version of the server software can give hackers easy access to sensitive information. 

That's why it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest security vulnerabilities and take steps to protect your site. 

Here are 12 of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities you should be aware of: 

  1. Outdated software - If you're using an outdated version of your content management system (CMS), hackers will be able to exploit vulnerabilities that have been fixed in newer versions.
  2. Unpatched plugins - Plugins may introduce security issues if they are not updated regularly with new patches for bugs or other vulnerabilities. It is essential that these plugins are kept up-to-date by their authors as well as by users who activate them.
  3. File and Directory Permissions - WordPress must be installed in a directory structure with files and directories having correct permissions and ownership.
  4. Blogs as Subdomains - This is one of the most common WordPress website security threats that is troublesome for end users.
  5. Use Two-Factor Authentication.
  6. Use a strong Password Policy.
  7. Hide your Login Page.
  8. Remove Unnecessary Users.
  9. Section: Prevent Brute Force Attacks.
  10. Update Existing Plugins, Themes, and WordPress Core Files.
  11. Keep Regular Backups.
  12. Scan Your Site to Check for Vulnerabilities.   

This can be really helpful to keep your wordpress site safe.

Web Server Administration settings such as file permissions and PHP configuration settings

Most managed WordPress hosts will take care of server administration tasks for you, such as keeping your WordPress installation up to date, setting file permissions, and configuring PHP. 

However, it's still important to be aware of the potential security vulnerabilities that can arise from using WordPress. Here are 10 of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities

Weak passwords

One of the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities is weak passwords. People tend to use easy-to-guess passwords like 123456 or password, which makes it easy for hackers to gain access to your site. To strengthen your password, make sure it’s at least eight characters long and includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.


The web-world evolves very quickly, and continually inventing new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the game is quite a challenge for the developers. 

This makes it difficult for them to keep up with all the new exploits that are developed and used against various servers. To protect your WordPress sites, you need to make sure that you are aware of all the latest WordPress hacking attempts. 

There are many free or paid security plugins available in the wordpress repository that can help you prevent your site from getting hacked or infected by malicious scripts/programs. I hope this article will help you learn a few new tricks on how to defend your WordPress sites against the hackers!


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