WordPress is a very popular CMS (Content Management System) software among developers as well as end-users. If you want to create a blogging website, you can use WordPress to create your blogging website within a few minutes. Why? Because installing and configuring WordPress is very easy. You can do it within a few clicks. Also, there is no need to pay for WordPress. It’s an open source software.
What are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress only has standard features such as creating pages and blogs. However, if you want to add any new functionality to your existing WordPress site, you can use plugins. The plugin is nothing but a PHP library. You can create your own plugin using PHP, or you can use a third-party plugin. Say, for example, you want to integrate a payment gateway into your WordPress website. We have many plugins available in the WordPress marketplace. There is no need to develop the feature by yourself. You can simply install the payment gateway plugin with a few clicks on the WordPress admin panel. WordPress has options to install, update and uninstall a plugin. As of now, WordPress has more than 50,000 plugins.
Problem with WordPress Plugins:
WordPress is a very popular open source CMS software. Thus WordPress security vulnerabilities are inevitable. Why? Because not all developers/users focus on security in WordPress. The team of developers at WordPress does devote time to finding bugs and security issues. They always fix problems and release new patches immediately. And they always disclose vulnerabilities to the open internet community. So naturally, if you don’t update WordPress after a new fix is released, your website is vulnerable to hacking. Like WordPress, WordPress Plugins are vulnerable to hacking. Why? For two reasons: (i) not all plugins follow the security protocol, and (ii) we can see the codes of the plugins. Hackers always analyze the code to find vulnerabilities in them. If you use a plugin, and the plugin is vulnerable to hacking, or you have not updated to the latest version, your website is then easily hackable. Since WordPress is open source, hackers know what the endpoints (URL) are, what data to use, and how to inject the scripts. According to the WP Scan:
From the above image, we can see that free themes and plugins have more vulnerabilities than premium/paid ones. So please be careful before installing a plugin to your website. Please read the security-related documents of a plugin before using it.
Vulnerability types in WordPress Plugins:
Here, I am listing some common vulnerability types present in the WordPress Plugins.
WordPress uses the MySQL database. Every developer is advised to use the prepared (Example PDO) statement types while executing the SQL query. This is so that the statements use the concatenation operator to bind the values in the SQL query. This approach is vulnerable to hackers. Hackers can easily manipulate such a query and expose all the data in the database. So you should use prepared statement types in PHP while executing SQL queries to avoid SQL injections. Also, do not use the concatenation in your SQL query to pass the data.
2.File Inclusion Exploits
This is a very dangerous problem. Sometimes, we enable write access in some directory (folder) of the server. If you do not configure this write access properly, hackers can directly inject malicious files into our servers and hack them. So, giving file/folder permission plays a very crucial role. Don’t blindly ignore the permission.