WordPress Plugin Vulnerabilities – A Serious WordPress Threat
According to a report by Risk Based Security, the number of vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins more than doubled in 2021 compared to the previous year. A concerning trend was seen – most of these vulnerabilities can be exploited by threats on eCommerce and news websites that rely on the platform.
2,240 vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins were discovered and reported in 2021, demonstrating a 142% increase from 2022.
While the increase in WordPress plugin vulnerabilities is alarming, the primary concern is the potential to exploit these vulnerabilities. Out of all known WordPress plugin vulnerabilities, 77% have publicly available exploits, according to the WordPress security team.
Plugins extend the platform’s capabilities, allowing you to include features such as search engine optimization, user forms, a website builder, eCommerce capabilities, and other features.
However, not all of them are built with security in mind, and not all of them provide security updates. In addition, a vulnerability in those plugins allows hackers to attack WordPress indirectly rather than directly attacking the platform itself.
According to the Risk Based Security report, WordPress administrators shouldn’t prioritize patching high-scoring bugs over other issues. Illustrative evidence suggests that cybercriminals seek out vulnerabilities that they can easily exploit.
Even though WordPress plugin issues do not show up to be crucial at first, they can pose a major risk to organizations that deploy at-risk assets due to factors such as exploitability and attacker location. Aside from that, organizations that rely on the CVE/NVD database may be particularly vulnerable to WordPress plugin security flaws because they’ll be unaware of 60% of issues with publicly available scams.
Asingle flaw in the WordPress plugin could potentially affect millions of people. Unfortunately, organizations have difficulty determining which plugins are vulnerable to public disclosure. Although specializing in WordPress Security, several companies curate their plugin vulnerability databases but don’t provide the same depth of WordPress vulnerability information.
It’s vital for security teams to know everything they have in terms of their assets – including all plugins – as well as all known vulnerabilities and detailed metadata so that they can examine factors like exploitability and contextualize risk.
According to the report’s findings, security experts should start with remotely exploitable vulnerabilities with a public exploit and a known solution. Important assets, such as plugins, should be prioritized in the initial assessment of WordPress plugin issues. Organizations can best protect themselves from potential attacks by resolving these issues, saving time because solution data is available. Risk-based vulnerability management will be more effective than traditional models based on severity.
There are several WordPress-focused security tools available. As a result, organizations would need to purchase and deploy all of these tools to achieve maximum efficiency. It’s better for organizations to rely on a source of vulnerability intelligence that’s comprehensive, detailed, and updated regularly and covers all known issues in IT, OT, IoT, and third-party libraries and dependencies.
Using plugins and themes from the official WordPress plugin store, which are developed by well-known companies and are regularly updated, is highly recommended for your or self-hosted site, according to managed WordPress hosting experts. This will help prevent any security issues. These plugins and themes have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they don’t contain any malicious threats and comply with security regulations and best practices.
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