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The Dangers of WordPress Malware

The Dangers of WordPress Malware
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What are the dangers of WordPress malware? If you have a website, chances are, it is powered by WordPress. According to the official WordPress site, around 23 percent of all websites use this open-source software. If you do not know what open source means, it simply means that the original program is available for free and anyone can contribute to the underlying codebase. 

While this system has been very successful in powering websites across the world, it also creates a large attack surface for hackers to exploit. There have been numerous cases where people’s sites were hacked because they used outdated or pirated versions of WordPress that contained malicious backdoors. In order to prevent such attacks, one needs to be proactive in maintaining their site.

This article will discuss three common types of malware found in WordPress sites, how they are injected into websites, and what can be done to prevent these attacks.

Table of Contents

backdoor

Backdoors

The first type of malware that we will discuss is a backdoor. Backdoors are used to allow hackers to gain full access to the server and database, and they can be difficult to detect with traditional security software because they open and close very quickly. These types of back-end attacks usually come in the form of a file or plugin that has been installed on your website without your knowledge. This could be due to someone hacking into your site, you installing pirated software, or downloading a hacked version of WordPress itself. 

Once this malware is installed, it will create another layer between your actual website and the files needed by your browser (such as HTML pages). When someone with access needs information from those files, they can simply use their connection through the backdoor to access that information. This is done without displaying any sort of window or notification that tells you the site is hacked.

Ransomware

The second type of WordPress malware is ransomware. This specific variant only prevents you from seeing your site until you pay up. Once it infects your website, it will create a message under an image that says: “Your Site Has Been Hacked By.Cry/\/\@1T – Contact Us To Get Stolen Files Back.” Next to this message, there is a payment button that will take you to the hacker’s Bitcoin wallet. If you follow through with payments then they will send back an unencrypted version of your website files. However, if you do not make any payments within 96 hours (4 days), they threaten to delete all of your files.

ransomware
payload

Payloads

The last type of WordPress malware we will discuss is a payload, which is simply an executable file that downloads onto your computer when someone visits a page on your website. The most common payloads are bots or viruses that take control of your site’s visitors without their consent for malicious purposes such as sending spam emails from your domain name, stealing personal data from users who visit infected pages, installing PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or infecting them with ransomware or backdoors. 

You may have unknowingly installed this malware when you were installing a plugin or theme because many of these are infected. To prevent these types of attacks, always download your products from reputable sources and pay attention to the reviews that others have left about the product.

You can protect yourself against all types of WordPress malware by updating your site regularly to patch any security holes, not downloading pirated software or plugins, using trustworthy antivirus software with regular updates, and checking for the presence of backdoors using an online scanner. 

The most important thing is to make sure that all files are stored on your server instead of having direct access through a remote connection. This will limit attackers’ abilities to gain backdoor access.

Plugins & Themes

In addition to official updates, you should look at any plugins or themes that have been added to your site recently. If there is anything new then you can do research on it before installing it in order to make sure it is not malicious. On top of keeping up with official changes and checking for new malware, you can also take proactive steps such as using a web application firewall (WAF) that has been developed specifically for WordPress sites. These tools use specially made rulesets that protect against common exploits and injections that cybercriminals use to gain access to a website.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, WordPress is an excellent tool for creating websites because it is so easy to use. However, this ease of use comes at a price as security flaws are discovered more frequently than in other content management systems such as Drupal. In the world of cybercrime, hackers have begun targeting WordPress more specifically as its user base has grown exponentially over the years. 

To prevent attacks from being successful on your site, you should stay up to date with WordPress updates and check for new themes or plugins on a regular basis. These proactive steps can go a long way toward preventing these types of malware infections on your site.

If you need tips and advice about security for your WordPress website, then contact us today!

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