5,769 hacked WordPress websites in 2016 and their security solution

The security of the application is a huge concern in the Information Technology Department. Various anti-virus software are built to keep the website and the computer free from the virus. But even in the presence of these anti-virus, the applications are affected by the virus. The hackers compromise the security of the website, to steal the sensitive user information.

Usually small corporation and business do not care about strengthening the security of their website because they think that they do not have any valuable information in their website that can be stolen. But there is no particular reason for the hackers to hack the web applications. They hack the website when they see an opening.

The WordPress has always been popular for Ecommerce development. WordPress has dominated other platforms by gaining 60% share in the market. There are over billion of WordPress websites on the internet and these websites are growing in number as time is advancing.

5,769 WordPress websites were hacked this year. Google issued warning to over 50 million website that they were either stealing data from other websites or they have malicious software installed in their website. With the increasing WordPress development, the hackers have also find various techniques to break into the applications.

Outdated plugins responsible for hacked website

According to the survey, 21,821 websites were hacked in 2016 but among these websites, 5,769 were WordPress applications. All the hacked WordPress websites were analyzed to find the reason behind the vulnerability. After a thorough research the developers were able to conclude that the applications were hacked not because of core WordPress vulnerability but most of these websites were using outdated plugins.

Among the hacked websites, three plugins were mostly responsible for allowing a back door to the hackers i.e.; RevSlider, Gravity Forms, and TimThumb. All these plugins have security update released about a year ago. Most of these hacked apps were using RevSlider as a core plugin. 56% WordPress, 81 % Joomla, 85 % Drupal hacked applications were using outdated plugins.

Measurements to strengthen the security of WordPress application

Following are some of the guidelines that are usually missed when creating a secure wordpress application:

Hire professional Developers for WordPress development

One of the major reasons for the website to be easily hacked is that the client hire unprofessional and inexperienced developers for developing the website. The experienced developers are aware of the flaws and weaknesses of the plugins. They know which plugins can compromise the security of the application. The fresh developers on the other hand might be able to develop a clean and attractive looking interface but they would not be able to create a secure application. Letting the inexperienced developers handle the security of the application would not only result in leaking the user’s information to the hackers but it would also allow them the opportunity to add malicious code in the website.

The client can either hire the expert PHP developers to create a secure application or they can allow the hackers to convert their website into a virus.

Avoid Free Premium plugins

The free version of the premium plugins provide limited functionality to the users. These free versions are usually corrupted with malware. If you want to design your website with the premium plugins then it is best to buy the full version to fill the security gap that is present in the free versions.

Protect .htaccess file

.htaccess stands for Hypertext Access. It is a configuration file that is used to control the directories. This file is used to redirect users to another webpage or to enable and disable the functionality features that the Apache Web Server software offers. Any changes made in the .htaccess file can cause huge impact on the security of the application. All the security details and personal information is added in this file. This file is run by the owner on his machine. Therefore, the security of .htaccess is not as tight as the web applications.

You can protect the .htaccess file by restricting admin access by uploading it to the wp-admin directory. This file can also be used to block known spammers and malicious access.

Limit use of Plugins

The hackers keep looking for the security flaws in the plugins to breach the security of the website. The website should use limited plugins. Using too many plugins can increase the website loading time and it can also increase the chances of hacking. The use of minimum plugins will not only keep the website secure but it will also speed up the loading time of the application.

Hacking become a critical concern when the Government and Banking applications are hacked. Because the hackers can steal and sell the critical data to third parties. Which can cause both security and financial concern for the users. Every website require security measures to prevent hacking. The above guidelines can be used to boost the security of the applications and to make it harder for the hackers to break through the defences of the websites.