Article read time - 5 minutes

Security has always been a bone of contention on the internet for organizations as well as individuals. It is better to be safe than sorry and identify gray areas in your systems and network. Hackers always look for loopholes in firewalls, security infrastructure, and IT systems. 

So, what are you waiting for? 

Identify loopholes in your WordPress website before hackers do and plug them, as prevention is better than cure. In this blog, I will try to tell you what a Zero-day attack is and six foolproof practices to protect WordPress site from zero-day attacks.

What is a Zero-day Attack?

A zero-day risk happens when hackers discover some loophole in software and use it to gain unauthorized access to a WordPress site. However, this loophole should be unknown to the developer to be classified as a “Zero-day” vulnerability. 

A zero-day attack derives its name from the fact that once the loophole is made public, you have zero days to plug the loophole by releasing a security patch. This requires working round the clock to fix the bug at the earliest. 

You need not worry, though! It can be fixed.

How Your WordPress Site Can Be Affected by Zero-day?

When hackers discover a vulnerability in your WordPress website, they can write specific malicious code to take advantage of the loophole. Hackers intend to access the system and use it to their advantage. Some of the common ways used by hackers to attack systems that are vulnerable include:

● Corrupting website files through malware

● Stealing data of users

● Spamming your customers, subscribers, or readers

● Installing software that can steal information

Let’s have a look at how vulnerabilities are discovered.

Security loopholes in the software and network devices are discovered by Security researchers, malicious hackers, or vendors themselves. 

Of course, the hackers will never reveal them to the public!

The other two would, and this disclosure is called “vulnerability disclosure,” and the steps taken by them to do so are as follows:

  1. The researcher discovered the vulnerability, and it is classified as Zero Day at this point.
  2. The researcher contacts the vendor privately and informs them about the loophole.
  3. The researcher and the vendor agree upon a certain amount of time to fix the vulnerability before it is made public.
  4. The vendor releases a fix to its customers. 
  5. Once the fix has been released, and customers have had enough time to upgrade, the researcher will release full details of the vulnerability.

Now you know what vulnerabilities are, Zero-day attacks, and how they affect a WordPress website. So, now let’s talk about ways and means to prevent such an attack in the first place.

Do I have your attention? If yes, then let’s get going.

Six Foolproof Practices to Protect your WordPress Website from Zero-Day Attacks

1. Keep WordPress Core and Plugins Up-to-Date

One of the best ways to protect your WordPress website from Zero-day attacks is by keeping the WordPress core as well as plugins up to date. When security researchers discover a flaw, developers rush to release a patch, which means you have the latest version of the software without the flaw. 

This can easily be done by turning on the auto-update feature, which automatically downloads and installs the latest version of its core software, including all security updates.

Easy, right?

2. Install a Firewall

Firewalls are electronic walls that act as a barrier between your systems and the outside world. Hackers will have to breach the firewall to access your system, and it will add one more layer of security to the WordPress website. There are several types of firewalls which are available, including personal firewalls to protect your operating system, web application firewall, and packet filtering.

Even if hackers have discovered a vulnerability, they will not be able to exploit it without breaching the firewall. Some of the common attacks, including SQL injections and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), can easily be prevented by firewalls.

3. Install Plugins to Spot Suspicious Activity

Several WordPress security plugins are available which can identify suspicious activity and alarm you. The WordPress activity log can track all the activities that are taking place and prevent malicious attacks. 

Every time someone tweaks your WordPress settings, themes, or database, these plugins will log the details of the activity. If anyone creates, modifies, and deletes any of the WordPress files, it will appear in the activity log. 

If you upgrade to the premium version, the WP Activity Log will send notifications via email or SMS every time a major change has been made to the website. This helps in responding to threats as quickly as possible. 

4. Join a Disclosure Mailing List

Several mailing lists there are dedicated to sharing vulnerability disclosures. One of the most popular ones is Full Disclosure, which sends email notifications regarding the latest security threats. 

As Full Disclosure is not specifically for WordPress, you can set up some email filters to get notifications regarding WordPress only. Another option is Wordfence’s WordPress Security mailing list. 

5. Follow Cyber Security Best Practices

You must follow the best practices for online security to prevent a zero-day attack on your WordPress site. This will ensure that hackers don’t have a free run with tampering with your WordPress website. 

So, here is a list of best practices for you:

● Avoid clicking on unknown links and visiting suspicious web pages

● Select optimum WordPress security settings and recommendations from your software vendors

● While adding the “Contact Us” form to your website, use a reputable WordPress form maker like WPForms

● Ensure safety while adding a home screen callout, a Windows live tile, or a QR code

6. Go for a Secure Hosting Provider

Although it is not possible for any hosting provider to guarantee protection against vulnerabilities that are yet to be discovered, a good host will have systems in place to make it difficult for hackers to exploit gray areas. 

Choosing a hosting provider just because you can save some money may backfire if your security gets compromised and you suffer losses due to a data breach or unauthorized access.

To Summarize

Although it may be almost impossible to prevent all zero-day attacks, most of them can be prevented by following the six foolproof practices we have discussed. With the right tools and techniques, you can secure your WordPress website from hackers and other nefarious activities.

So, what are you waiting for? Ensure that you have the protection in place and say goodbye to Zero-day attacks.

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