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10 Most Prevalent Cyber Attacks and How You Should Protect Your Website from these Cyberattacks

Life today has become easier and more comfortable due to advancements in technology and the widespread use of the internet. However, like everything else, the digital world has its drawbacks too. While the internet has positively impacted our lives, it also comes with various potential cyber risks. Cybercrime increases significantly every year. According to Accenture’s State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021 report, security attacks increased 31 percent from 2020 to 2021. These attacks continue to rise every year. Websites are one of the most and primary victims of today’s cyber attacks. The reason could be websites are the most easily accessible objects on the internet. Every website on the internet is somehow vulnerable to cyber attacks. These attacks range from sophisticated attacks by cybercriminals to human error. Due to the worst effect of these attacks, there is a need to protect your website from these cyberattacks

This article will highlight the most prevalent attacks on websites and discuss how to protect your website from these attacks. Let’s get started.

What Is A Cyber Attack?

A cyberattack is where a cybercriminal tries to get unauthorized access to a website, IT system, network, or device for the purpose of extortion, theft, disruption, or other unethical reasons. Undoubtedly, many data breaches or cyber-attacks are caused by insiders either due to malice or negligence. 

Cyber attacks target a wide range of victims, from government and enterprises to individual users. In the last few years, these attacks have become more sophisticated, are difficult to detect, and pose severe risks to organizations’ security.

When targeting organizations and businesses, a hacker aims to access valuable and sensitive company data. These include:

  • Customer financial data
  • Business financial data
  • Customer databases
  • Log-in credentials and email addresses
  • Intellectual property
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • IT services
  • IT infrastructure access
  • Sensitive personal data
  • Social Security Numbers (SSN)

Why Are Websites Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks?

The web is an essential part of many business activities your organization engages in every day. It holds sensitive user information provided via log-in fields, shopping carts, content management systems, and submit forms. But these websites are vulnerable to cyber attacks as the critical data they hold are attractive to hackers. 

There could be a lot of reasons a WordPress site is vulnerable to attacks. These include the default setting because these are not secure, making your website vulnerable to different types of attacks. Therefore, there is a need to know the WordPress security checklist. Here we will discuss the most common security risks to a WordPress Site.

10 Most Prevalent Attacks

Here’s a list of the most prevalent attacks and how to protect your website from these attacks.

2FA Unavailability

2FA unavailability is the problem where a user cannot set up or use their second-factor authentication (2FA) for their account. This can happen for many reasons but often occurs when there is an issue with the log-in page or your website’s SSL certificate.

WordPress doesn’t have a native 2FA function. You need third-party plugins to avail this option on your WordPress website. You can implement 2FA using any of the plugins.

Log in URL Exposed

The log-in URL in a WordPress website is a URL where you enter your credentials to log-in WordPress console. The default admin log-in page for a WordPress site would be ‘/wp-admin’. This is an open problem as anyone, including hackers, can access your website’s log-in URL on the internet. If someone wants to hack your site, all they need to do is to access this URL and enter the username and password. If you have this exposed on your website, you need to change it immediately!

The only solution for this is to change your log-in URL so the hackers cannot see it. Most of the security plugins are made to change this default admin log-in URL. There are several dedicated plugin’s are also available to implement this.

Internal Path Disclosure

Internal path disclosure intends to gather information about a website or application’s internal structure and communication. This is considered serious and critical as this vulnerability will not just expose the root structure of a WordPress site, but also it exposes the complete file structure of the hosting server in some cases. This can be done with the help of a tool called “Path Traversal” or by using a web browser. Using this vulnerability, the attacker tries to access files, directories, and other resources that are not accessible from the outside world.

Internal Path Disclosure is also known as Local File Inclusion (LFI). This vulnerability occurs when a website allows unauthorized users to access files from the server’s local file system. This can be done by including files in URLs that are not supposed to be accessed remotely. Attackers often try generating every possible error related to the PHP to gather information about the existing flaws.

It is simple to fix this issue. You need to tell the PHP to stop showing the errors. You can do this by putting this code in your htaccess file.

php_flag display _errors off

Server Signature

Attackers use several techniques to reveal the information about the WordPress or the hosting server, such as the website’s header, source code, application version, a database used, cookies, log-in page, and many more. In other words, attackers try figuring out the server signature. This attack is also known as fingerprinting.

This is easy to fix by tweaking your htaccess file. To solve this, put the following code in your htaccess file:

#START - Disable Server Signature #

ServerSignature off

# END Disable Server Signature #

SQL Injection

SQL injection is one of the most common cyber attacks. It occurs when someone can manipulate a website’s code to inject their commands into the system. Hackers can use forms such as contact, comment, and subscribe now forms to send malicious SQL queries into the database. Hackers can potentially steal your passwords or credit card information using this attack. This is considered the most critical issue as WordPress stores its data in an SQL database.

This is a serious issue that needs some preventive measures as well. There is no direct or simple way to protect your Website from these Cyberattacks. Here are some tips to protect.

  • Use a security plugin to protect weak points
  • keep core WordPress, themes, and plugins updated.
  • Implement Firewall
  • Keep PHP updated
  • Don’t use mulled, pirated themes/plugins from unofficial sources
  • Keep updated backup

Clickjacking

Clickjacking is one of the most common types of cyber attack. In this case, hackers insert malicious iframe code on the Website that causes users to load malicious hardcoded Websites when the user clicks on something other than what they think they’re clicking on. For example, when a user clicks on what seems like an image link but instead, it opens up another page with ads or malware.

Let’s say when the user enters their username, passwords, or payment information like card number on an object that they can’t see. The attacker can capture these user-entered data and reuse them when he wants.

To protect your Website from these cyberattacks, ensure that all images have alt attributes that describe the image and that your Website works properly when JavaScript is blocked in the browser’s settings and paste this code in function.php file of your WordPress website.

function wc_prenevtclickjacking() {

header( 'X-FRAME-OPTIONS: SAMEORIGIN' );

}

add_action( 'send_headers', 'wc_prevent_cl

XML- RPC Issue

The XML-RPC (Extensible Markup Language – Remote Procedure Call) protocol is a method of communication based on the HTTP protocol. Still, it’s mainly used to access WordPress websites from mobile WordPress apps. Technically, it is a very useful option. It gives freedom of access to the website owners to access their WordPress website from remote. Unfortunately, this feature allows attackers to perform DDOS attacks on WordPress websites.

If you don’t use this feature, you can disable it in your WordPress admin panel under Settings -> Discussion. XML- RPC is enabled on your website by default. But sometimes, your hosting company disables this. To check, go to your browser and type your WordPress URL. Then type forwarding slash “/xmlrpc.php”. You will see a window that means XML-RPC is enabled.You can disable this using the WordPress plugin, or if you don’t want to install plugins to disable this, then you can disable this option by writing this code in your htaccess file.

<Files xmlrpc.php>

order deny, allow deny from all

</Files>

Note: make sure to have a backup of htaccess file before making any change.

Directory listing Issue

Directory listing is one of the most common cyber attacks specially on websites. Directory listing gives the complete list of files and folders in a website directory. For example, when you use “FTP” (File Transfer Protocol) to access your website files, you will see all files and folders contained in your website folder.

Hackers often use directory listing to find out what kind of content is on your website and how to attack it. Hackers can use directory listing information to find vulnerabilities in your website and compromise it easily.

The solution to this vulnerability is to disable the web directory listing. You can disable this by writing the code Options – Indexes at the end of the htaccess file.

Robots.txt Disclosure

robots.txt file is used to direct search engines on what to crawl and what not to crawl on your website. Since the file is made public, it exposes important information to malicious crawlers. Malicious bots can read the rules set on your robost.txt file and gather information about your website’s files and folders.

In Robots.txt Disclosure, we provide three types of information:

  • Which folder/files are allowed
  • Which folder/files are not allowed
  • Sitemap URL

The most common way hackers will find out if your site is vulnerable to robots.txt disclosure is by using a tool like the one provided by Google called Fetch as Googlebot. This tool will crawl your site using a robot’s user agent, meaning it will be accessing the site like any other visitor would and then tell you how many pages it was able to download from your site.

Suppose you see more than ten pages being returned. In that case, this means that hackers could gain access to sensitive files on your server by simply entering them into their browser’s address bar or through another means of manual discovery (such as social engineering).

There is no technical way to protect your website from these cyberattacks. You can protect your website from this attack only by designing clever rules on your rotost.txt file. You should structure your website and create rules so that your rules shouldn’t reveal confidential file paths on your site.

WordPress Version

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for building a website, and an estimated 50% of all websites online are made on it. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most vulnerable platforms out there.

WordPress sites are so susceptible because they tend to be run by smaller businesses that don’t have access to security experts who can keep them safe from hackers.

This issue cannot be solved with any code. Instead, a plugin is used known as the WP Hardening plugin, which will help protect your site from being hacked by bots and other bad actors. You need to turn on all the options given by this plugin and this will automatically hide your WordPress version. 

This will also help you avoid becoming a victim of any other type of cyber attack on your website.

Final Words

In this article, we have discussed the most prevalent cyberattacks and how to protect your website from these attacks. By learning how these cyber attacks occur and how to protect your website from these cyberattacks, you can better safeguard your information and protect your business. Remember that even the most experienced programmers cannot guarantee 100% safety, but you should still be able to defend against most attacks by following these ways.

About the author

Arun KL

Hi All, I am Arun KL, an IT Security Professional. Founder of “thesecmaster.com”. Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Writer, Editor, Author at TheSecMaster. To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn

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