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6 Fool Proof Practices to Protect WordPress Against Zero-Day Attacks

Security has always been a bone of contention for organizations and individuals on the internet. 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 sites 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 and 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 it by releasing a security patch. This requires working around the clock to fix the bug immediately. 

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

How Can Your WordPress Site 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 vulnerable systems 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 researchers, malicious hackers, or vendors themselves discover security loopholes in software and network devices. 

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 vulnerability details.

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

Keep WordPress Core and Plugins Up-to-Date

One of the best ways to protect your WordPress website from Zero-day attacks is to keep the WordPress core and 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. 

Someone can easily do this by turning on the auto-update feature, which automatically downloads and installs the latest version of its core software, including all security updates. Easy.

Install a Firewall

Firewalls are electronic barriers that act as a barrier between your systems and the outside world. Hackers must breach the firewall to access your system, which adds one more layer of security to the WordPress website. Several types of firewalls are available, including personal firewalls to protect your operating system, web application firewalls, and packet filtering.

Even if hackers have discovered a vulnerability, they cannot exploit it without breaching the firewall. Firewalls can easily prevent some common attacks, including SQL injections and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).

Install Plugins to Spot Suspicious Activity

Several WordPress security plugins are available that can identify suspicious activity and alarm you. The WordPress activity log can track all the activities 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 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 significant change has been made to the website. This helps in responding to threats as quickly as possible. 

Join a Disclosure Mailing List

Several mailing lists there are dedicated to sharing vulnerability disclosures. One of the most popular 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. 

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 when 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

Go for a Secure Hosting Provider

Although no hosting provider can guarantee protection against vulnerabilities that have 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 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 you have the protection in place and say goodbye to Zero-day attacks.

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