WordPress Security Scanning: How to Identify and Fix Vulnerabilities

WordPress Security Scanning: How to Identify and Fix Vulnerabilities. The WordPress system is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world, supporting 40% of all websites. However, the popularity of this system also makes it a prime target for cyber attacks. Hackers attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in WordPress sites to gain unauthorised access or steal sensitive information.

Well, in order to keep your WordPress site secure, it is essential to perform regular WordPress security reviews to identify and fix any vulnerabilities. This article covers the basics of WordPress security scans, including what they are, why they are important and how to perform them effectively. On top of that, we discuss common vulnerabilities that hackers exploit on WordPress sites and provide fixes.

At the end of this article, you will have better understanding about how to keep WordPress website safe and protected from potential cyber threats.

Let’s start with WordPress Security Scanning: How to Identify and Fix Vulnerabilities.

What is a WordPress Security Scan?

Generally, WordPress security scans analyse the files that run the site and detect suspicious or malicious code placed by attackers. Some scans also flag potential security flaws, such as weak passwords or outdated files, and provide users with recommendations to fix them. Moreover, a detailed security scan checks your WordPress core (the files that WordPress itself uses to run), your current theme and any installed plugins for dangerous code and security vulnerabilities. Comprehensive scans like this are the most secure, as you never know which part of your site may be at risk.

Why should we Scan our WordPress Site?

Internet security should be a priority, for everyone. A successful attack can be influenced by the leakage of user or company data, leading to a total reputational disaster. In addition, repairs and lost revenue is affected. The security risks change very often. And so, developers are trying to create new technologies that do both harm and help site owners.

Whilst we take appropriate measures to block attacks, it is almost impossible to avoid the chance of any website being hacked, including the WordPress. The attack that goes undetected continues to cause damage. The key is to constantly scan our sites to stop attacks such as hotlinking, phishing and SEO spam from going undetected.

Furthermore, there is an option to check the sites files for malicious code yourself, but this requires dedication of time and knowledge. This often involves the risk of damage to your files. So in order to clean up your WordPress site and keep it as clean as possible, leave it to a proper security scan.

Examples of WordPress Security Scanner Types

Quite simply, a WordPress security scan does not just protect your site from malware and spam. It protects it from even  the risks of adding a new WordPress plugin. Due to new security risks of adding new plugins, your site may be vulnerable to the attacks without you even realising.

We know that scanning is very helpful for your site, although it doesn’t protects it 100% It’s hard to catch every problem. Let’s look at the different WordPress security scanners.

WordPress Security Issue Types

WordPress Core Security Issue

The core WordPress security software controls user accounts and authentication. It also manages details such as:

  • Passwords.
  • Content uploaded.
  • Username IDs.

But this is precious information needs to be protected. With no strong core security, your site is open to brute force attacks, cross script injection and more. Additionally, the majority of such issues may be addressed with the help of regular WordPress updates. But W3Techs’ 2022 usage stats say that only about 50.1% of sites are using the latest version of WordPress.

WordPress Theme Security Issue

So called WordPress themes are a very weak potential point. According to the data, 2.4 per cent are security problems that originate from themes and they still require constant updates to avoid.

You may be leaving yourself vulnerable to security attacks, if your template is not compatible with the WordPress versions you are using or is outdated.

WordPress Plugins Security Issue

Most WordPress plugins are highly secure. Unfortunately, some security vulnerabilities in the reports in question were from themes and plugins. Also, plugins represent some of the most appealing and helpful elements of using WordPress. But with every single plugin you have added to a site, you are opening it up to risks such as:

  • Viruses and malware.
  • Data loss.
  • Unpredictable behaviour of your site.

It is important to invest in research before contributing a plug-in to your site. There are, then, many plugins to select from. Doing so makes it simple to focus on whether a plugin solves a problem for your site or users and does not contribute to extra security issue.

Perform the following steps for security reasons when looking at plugins:

  • Browse the third party websites of the plug in providers.
  • Review commentaries on plugins.
  • Search blogs for plugins from unfamiliar providers.

Best WordPress Security Scanners:

WordFence Pros and Cons

  • There is a free plan. 
  • Alerting on suspicious events. 
  • Monitoring the vulnerability.
  • Blocks IP address and the country blocking.
  • The cons we have found is that the malware removal you have to pay more for that option.  

Sucuri Pros and Cons

JetPack Pros and Cons

WordPress Security Scanning Best Practices

WordPress security scanning involves the process of identifying vulnerabilities and potential security risks in a WordPress website.

By performing periodic security scans, you proactively protect your site from potential attacks and minimise the risk of unauthorised access or data breaches. The following tips helps to identify and resolve security issues with your WordPress site:

Detect Malware and Perform a Regular Scan Against it

Detecting malware on time is the best practice for scanning your WordPress site.  This is important, but if you do not do it you may notice: SEO ranking penalties, poor website performance or IP address to be delisted by some email providers. Use a security Plugin to launch a malware scan of your WordPress site. Such scans search out malicious code, any known malware patterns and suspicious files or directories.

Make use of a Security Plugin

Secondly, install best known security Plugin such as Wordfence, Sucuri or iThemes Security. Their scanning features help to identify security vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improvements.

Keep Login Credentials Secure

Encourage your members to use strict passwords and enable two factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security. Restrict attempted logins and also consider the use of a login blocking plugin to prevent brute force attacks.

Protect the wp-config.php Upload File

Defend your wp-config.php report file, that contains confidential information such as database credentials. Relocate it to a higher level folder or add additional code to prevent direct access.

Lock Down File Permissions

Adjust proper permissions for WordPress files and directories. Restrict permissions to the most important files and directories to minimise the risk of unauthorised modifications.

Check the integrity of Files

Several security plugins may compare base WordPress files with their original versions to identify any modifications or changes to the files. It helps identify unauthorised changes made by hackers.

Install WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins

Simply put, anti-spam plugins is a must have solution. This way you step in and manage WordPress security in advance and stop spammers right away. Block  spam comments, unhealthy links and other.  Some of the best anti-spam Plugins are: Jetpack, Disable Comments, or CleanTalk Spam Protection. 

Install WordPress WPCloud SAML SSO - Secure Login Solution

Download our security solution, where you secure and protect your website. With WP Cloud SSO you get many attributes like secure WordPress SSO Single Sign On, attribute mapping, multiple environments and single logout.

WordPress Security Scanning: How to Identify and Fix Vulnerabilities Conclusion

Scanning your WordPress site for vulnerabilities is essential to keeping your site safe and protected from cyber threats. By following the steps in this article and using the tools you  identify potential security issues on your site and take action to fix them. Don’t forget to stay vigilant and keep your site up to date to prevent future vulnerabilities.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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