If you own a website being powered by WordPress, or if you’ve simply been considering using the WordPress platform for your next website, you might be concerned about the potential security issues that you could run into when installing plugins.
And, with good cause.
As you’ll see in this article, more than half of all WordPress security vulnerabilities are found in the CMS ‘plugins. Below, we’re going to take a look at how common WordPress plugin exploits truly are, as well as how you can protect your website, such as using one of these free VPNs.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software code, written in the PHP programming language, that may contain a variety of functions, which can easily be added to a WordPress website at the touch of a button.
Essentially, they add new features and can extend the website’s functionality. They make it extremely easy for WordPress users to add functions and features to their site, without needing to know even a single line of software coding.
There are literally thousands of plugins, which are free to download, and can all be found in the official WordPress directory.
How Vulnerable are WordPress Plugins?
In fact, according to a study by WPPlugins, 52% of WordPress’ security vulnerabilities are found in WP plugins, 37% are in the core WP code, and the final 11% are found in WP themes. That means that more than half of all security vulnerabilities being found in the CMS ‘plugins.
With that said, it should be easy to see why it’s so important to make sure that you’re protecting yourself by running antivirus software and regularly updated your software when using WordPress plugins.
Although not every WordPress plugin is going to have vulnerabilities present, by not being proactive about your cybersecurity, you put yourself, your information, and your customers (if you’re a business) at risk.
How to Protect Your WordPress Site from Cyber-Attacks
So now, if you’re wondering if WordPress plugins are even safe to be used, the short answer is that it depends entirely on whether or not WordPress security best practices are being used and followed properly.
Running the Latest Version of WP
If you don’t already know this, WordPress was built on open-source code and has a team of web developers devoted specifically to identifying, tracking, and neutralizing threats in the CMS ‘core code.
As time progresses and vulnerabilities are found, the team continuously pushes out new patches to ensure that all vulnerabilities are fixed and can’t be exploited by hackers. The problem is that if you’re not running the latest version of WordPress, you could still be at risk.
For this reason, it’s vital to keep WordPress updated with the most recent version to protect the overall security and well-being of your website.
Regularly Update Your Plugins
Just like it’s extremely important to make sure you’re running the most recent version of the WordPress CMS, it’s important that your plugins are updated with the latest patches and updates as well.
This ensures that you’ll be protected from any previous vulnerabilities that have been identified and fixed by the plugin’s developers.
Using a VPN
A VPN, which is short for Virtual Private Network, is a secure network of servers that allows internet users to connect to the world wide web in a safe, secure, and anonymous manner.
Essentially, the VPN creates an encrypted tunnel, in which all the information being sent and received from a computer can travel back and forth to the internet, without being seen or intercepted by anyone.
With that being said, using a VPN is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself when using the internet, especially when dealing with CMS platforms or WordPress plugins.
This is because even if you were to accidentally download an infected plugin or website template, your computer or device would still be protected since you’re using a VPN. Instead of directly attacking your computer and its data, the threat would first have to attack the VPN server that you’re connected to.
At that point, it would likely be found and neutralized and you, your computer, and your information would remain safe.
Using Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Lastly, it’s important to always be using firewalls and antivirus software on your computers and devices.
These applications may not be able to stop a dedicated criminal. However, they can prevent most threats from being able to infect your system and even if they do manage to get in, your antivirus software will make it easy to identify and neutralize the threat.
Just make sure that you’re regularly updating both your firewalls and antivirus software to ensure that they are capable of catching and destroying any threats that may be attempting to infect your computer or device.