With the millions of sites running WordPress it’s hard to know why some sites are targeted and successfully hacked while others live in bliss for eternity. So how do you know if your site is safe? Here are 6 weaknesses that may put your site at risk.
WordPress.org is getting ready to release verion 3.8 in the upcoming months. That’s a far cry from the 3.0.1 version of yester year. Each new release is accompanied by an announcement, accompanied by a change log. Telling the public, hackers included, what was modified in each version. The list gives hackers insight into the vulnerabilities of the older versions of the software, like a road map telling them where to attack for best results.
One of the most common ways to hack a WordPress site is to run a script against the username ADMIN to find a corresponding password. If you don’t have the user name ADMIN the hacker has to guess both the username and your password, so it’s twice as hard to get in.
Outdated plugins pose the same risk as running outdated software. Especially if you’re using plugins that are very popular such as NexGen Gallery. Popular plugins make an easier target for hackers because they can find a weakness and then replicate the hack on any sites running the same plugin version. We use NexGen on a number of websites because they are very responsible plug-in providers, releasing updates with regularity. However if you don’t take advantage of those updates you allow hackers to take advantage of your site.
Some plugins are meant to be used once and then deleted. Leaving them installed can leave your site at risk. Consider only leaving the plugins you actually use installed and activated doing so requires less time to keep the plugins up-to-date and keeps the site tidy.
Hackers aren’t the most wholesome bunch, they do make their living causing others grief. The sites they choose to target must be found somehow and those sites with unknowingly naughty names, however wholesome the actual company, may be at greater risk for hacking than others.
The most common passwords are those including 123, abc, pets and children’s names. Build a strong password that’s not easy to guess. Include an upper and lower case letter, number and symbol.