WordPress websites need to be protected against SQL injection threats. SQL (Structured Query Language) is a widely used database language, a domain specific language that’s designed for managing data in a relational database management system (RDBMS).
SQL injection attacks, which happen by exploiting security vulnerabilities in an application’s software, happen when malicious SQL statements are executed and inserted into entry fields for execution. Since such SQL statements control database servers behind web applications, hackers can, by running SQL commands and constructing, retrieving, updating or deleting the data in the databases, manipulate the working of web applications.
As for WordPress websites, SQL injections are easily executed in direct ways and using various entry points, like Signup forms, Contact forms, Search fields within the site, Login forms, Feedback fields and Shopping carts. When WordPress website owners put different criteria for website visitors to fill empty fields in forms, especially when the developers, being unaware of input validations, set the fields as plain text, hackers inject SQL statements and can request for login credentials and other data.
How to protect WordPress Websites from SQL injections
The following steps could help WordPress website owners in mitigating SQL injection threats in an effective manner…
Scan your website for malware and SQL injection vulnerabilities –
You can use different tools for this. In fact, WordPress has security plugins that could do the scan and detect malware and vulnerabilities. All you need to do is download any of these and do the scan.
Keep your website up-to-date, follow security procedures –
It’s quite natural for many WordPress websites to ignore security procedures and also ignore updating websites with new releases. This is because there are many non-professionals, especially in the case of websites belonging to small businesses or individual users, who don’t know such things and end up being easy targets for hackers. SQL injection attacks are the commonest of such attacks that affect such websites. So, it’s always best to keep your website up-to-date and follow all security procedures.
Keep a close eye on plugins and themes you download, use active ones –
SQL vulnerabilities are mostly seen in WordPress themes and plugins that are not updated regularly. Hence, it’s advisable for any WordPress website user or administrator to keep a close eye on plugins and themes that are downloaded for use and always try to go for those that are active. It’s always best to avoid plugins and themes that go on with the same version for a long period; it’s better to move on to a more active and trusted plugin or theme. Remember, a single malware in a plugin or theme that you use could ruin your website and your entire business. Hence, check the reviews, do some research and go for trusted plugins and themes.
Better keep your WordPress version hidden –
It’s always best to keep your WordPress version hidden. If not, it would be easy for attackers to judge the vulnerabilities and exploit them. Hence, always keep the version undisclosed.
Keep monitoring your SQL server closely –
Right from the initial stage of the development of your WordPress website, keep monitoring your SQL server. Any programming error that you might miss detecting could help hackers in exploiting the same for executing an attack. Hence, keep monitoring your SQL server closely, detect errors as they happen and repair them immediately.
Change database prefix while installing WordPress, disable unnecessary functionalities –
Always change the default WordPress database prefix ‘wp’ while installing WordPress. If you haven’t, you can do it later, but it’s always best to do it as database tables can help hackers in injecting SQL malware. Similarly, it’s advisable to disable unnecessary functionalities which you don’t need for your website. Such unnecessary, irrelevant and unused functionalities could pave the way for SQL injection attacks.
Store website database separately using third-party tools and plugins, for easy backup –
This tip is not for preventing SQL injection attacks, but for bouncing back into action at the earliest after an attack if at all it happens. Use third-party tools and plugins and store the database of your website separately. This would serve as an easy backup. It’s advisable not to rely on the hosting company alone for website backup; some of them may not provide effective backup service.