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xpd

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  Reply # 1968875 6-Mar-2018 13:13
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Ive had one "attack", that was due to a dodgy plugin - took me few days to work out exactly that had been modified but sorted it.  Apart from that, I have Wordfence running and thats it.

 

Just keep on top of the WP releases and plugin updates.





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  Reply # 1968884 6-Mar-2018 13:32
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danielfaulknor:

 

Don't forget about plugins and themes too. Across the 000's of Wordpress sites I host and/or manage, they're the most common attack vector.

 

 

Yes, the plugin I mentioned earlier keeps everything up to date - core wordpress, themes, plugins.





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  Reply # 1968900 6-Mar-2018 13:59
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I have seen so many wordpress websites get hacked, and it is mainly because people setup a site,, get a cheap host, and then don't do any updates, because they think  they can do it all themselves. I was only contacted a yesterday from a company whose wordpres site was hacked and they wanted someone to fix it for them. They couldn't use adwords, because google had blocked it. Wordpress will usually auto update these days for the minor versions, but not on the major versions. But plugins and issues in themes are also weak points, if not one of the main areas where a hack can occur. Wordpress.com is okay, but I think it is far more restricted in the themes and plugins you can use compared to the opensource version, at least last time I checked.


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  Reply # 1968903 6-Mar-2018 14:02
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sailedpeep:

 

Does anyone have experience with WordPress.com? At $5 with a custom domain, it looks like the cheapest option and the easiest to operate/manage.

 

 

That is probably the best option. You do not want to manage your own wordpress or go with any cowboy NZ hosting companies (of which some don't update their boxes/wordpress installs ever and then they get hacked).

 

Wordpress.com handles all of that for you. (So long as you use a good/unique password and wordpress.com does 2FA)

 


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  Reply # 1968969 6-Mar-2018 15:01
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timmmay:

 

Yes, the plugin I mentioned earlier keeps everything up to date - core wordpress, themes, plugins.

 

 

I don't know how many Wordpress sites you've managed, but like @danielfaulknor said there are many security vulnerabilities out there in countless themes and plugins. Your autoupdate plugin is only useful, if the plugin/theme authors have patched their software. Wordpress security goes beyond just keeping "everything up to date" and you recommending to non-technical people that managing a wordpress site is easy, is foolish advice.


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  Reply # 1968971 6-Mar-2018 15:05
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kyhwana2:
sailedpeep:

 

Does anyone have experience with WordPress.com? At $5 with a custom domain, it looks like the cheapest option and the easiest to operate/manage.

 

That is probably the best option. You do not want to manage your own wordpress or go with any cowboy NZ hosting companies (of which some don't update their boxes/wordpress installs ever and then they get hacked). Wordpress.com handles all of that for you. (So long as you use a good/unique password and wordpress.com does 2FA)

 

 

 

With basic shared web hosting, anything a client uploads into their hosting space is 100% managed by them, so the end client is responsible for their own website and data, and all website software updates it needs. Not unless they pay for some form of managed wordpress hosting, which not all hosts will offer, or have a web desinger to make the updates for them. Some hosts have autoinstallers of wordpress ionside Cpanel,  and those can apply updates, but need applying manually, and  that isn't the same as properly managed wordpress hosting.

 

If people want everything managed for them, then they are best to go to a web design company, or use a SAAS something like squarespace, or even wordpress.com


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  Reply # 1968974 6-Mar-2018 15:07
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kyhwana2:
sailedpeep:

 

Does anyone have experience with WordPress.com? At $5 with a custom domain, it looks like the cheapest option and the easiest to operate/manage.

 

That is probably the best option. You do not want to manage your own wordpress or go with any cowboy NZ hosting companies (of which some don't update their boxes/wordpress installs ever and then they get hacked). Wordpress.com handles all of that for you. (So long as you use a good/unique password and wordpress.com does 2FA)

 

 

 

Hope you're not including me in the cowboy NZ hosting companies ;-)

 

 

 

 

With basic shared web hosting, anything a client uploads into their hosting space is 100% managed by them, so the end client is responsible for their own website and data, and all website software updates it needs. Not unless they pay for some form of managed wordpress hosting, which not all hosts will offer, or have a web desinger to make the updates for them. Some hosts have autoinstallers of wordpress ionside Cpanel,  and those can apply updates, but need applying manually, and  that isn't the same as properly managed wordpress hosting.

 

If people want everything managed for them, then they are best to go to a web design company, or use a SAAS something like squarespace, or even wordpress.com

 

 

I'm going to provide free managed WP hosting because the kids will have to pay for any expenses themselves.

 

 





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  Reply # 1968977 6-Mar-2018 15:09
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amanzi:

 

I don't know how many Wordpress sites you've managed, but like @danielfaulknor said there are many security vulnerabilities out there in countless themes and plugins. Your autoupdate plugin is only useful, if the plugin/theme authors have patched their software. Wordpress security goes beyond just keeping "everything up to date" and you recommending to non-technical people that managing a wordpress site is easy, is foolish advice.

 

 

Only my own half dozen sites. Yes that's right, if a plugin or theme isn't supported or patched then it can be hacked more easily. However, in my experience, it's rare that it happens. I do deploy behind CloudFlare and I firewall off direct access which prevents many problems. I also have nightly backups that are sent off the server to two locations so if something does go wrong I can restore from backup - that's a key security point, because for my sites being down a day or two isn't critical. If you need really high uptime then more work might be required.

 

What other tasks do you do for Wordpress security, over keeping Wordpress / themes / plugins / PHP / MySQL / web server / operating system up to date? In ten years managing my own sites I haven't needed to do any more.





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  Reply # 1968995 6-Mar-2018 15:37
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timmmay:

 

 

 

Only my own half dozen sites. Yes that's right, if a plugin or theme isn't supported or patched then it can be hacked more easily. 

 

 

 

 

That is one reason to try an only use plugins that are regularly updated and are well used, and also have good reviews. If a plugin hasn't been updated for a year, I would totally avoid it.


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  Reply # 1969999 6-Mar-2018 15:54
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timmmay:

 

Wordpress is about the easiest type of website to manage, in my experience, particularly on shared hosting. You have to keep it patched, but that can be automatic with a plugin like "advanced automatic updates".

 

 

I hate to be *that guy* after the help you've given me over the years, but Advanced Automatic Updates hasn't been updated for over two years, so perhaps you mean something else ;)

 

I've been in the game five years and have 20-odd sites now, small ones on shared hosting and big/important ones on Vultr. None (touch-wood) have had a problem but I've picked up three clients in the last 12 months who had their sites hacked. All three had chosen the cheapest option in terms of hosting and support and the sites had only ever been sporadically updated. One of them had 12 users, all as Administrators, with passwords to make you cry.

 

 


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  Reply # 1970009 6-Mar-2018 16:08
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I think AAA simply turns on Wordpress auto-update settings, but if anyone has a better option do let me know.

 

Oh, as well as my own sites I provide support to a couple of dozen small businesses as part of a small side business, but I don't run them. I have a script for setup like disabling REST JSON APIs, delete the admin user and put in other user names with complex passwords, that kind of thing.





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  Reply # 1970171 6-Mar-2018 21:16
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timmmay:

 

What other tasks do you do for Wordpress security, over keeping Wordpress / themes / plugins / PHP / MySQL / web server / operating system up to date? In ten years managing my own sites I haven't needed to do any more.

 

 

Patching and taking backups is the minimum required, but even that is more than most beginners can handle - restoring Wordpress from backups is non-trivial, and patching is only good if the plugin/theme authors are actively updating their software.

 

* Securing file permissions is an important area to focus on - I prefer to not let the web server process write to most of the Wordpress directories. This actually breaks the autoupdate features, but I use "wp cli" to install and manage all updates and theme/plugin installations. Also - you should move the wp-config file to the parent directory of the Wordpress files - lots of bots try to find ways to get your config file.

 

* Monitor and block failed logon attempts and other bad behaviour - I use fail2ban for this, and from looking at my iptables I can see that I currently have over 900 IP addresses temporarily banned, so that shows how bad it can get.

 

* Log file analysis - I do this by hand at the moment, but am on the lookout for a good/easy/cheap tool to help. Running commands like cat access.log | grep -i ' 404 ' will show you bots and scanners looking for vulnerable plugins and themes. Here are some recent examples from my server:

 

  • "GET /pdo.inc.php HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /loader/c0nfig.php HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /ogPipe.aspx?name=http://www.ntdtv.com/ HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /components/com_creativecontactform/fileupload/files/shell.php HTTP/1.1" 404

The last one is interesting - I see lots of attempts to find web shells running in hacked plugins and themes. Try running this over your logs: cat access.log | grep -i '/shell' to see how many scanners are looking for this. I see many results in my logs trying to download Mirai malware and other backdoors (I won't post those details here). If I see common IP addresses here, I'll block them manually with the fail2ban-client. Another good one is to run is cat access.log | grep -i '/wp-config' to see attempts to get your wp-config file:

 

  • "GET /wp-config.txt HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /wp-config.php~ HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /wp-config.phpbak HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /wp-config.php_old HTTP/1.1" 404
  • "GET /wp-config.php.bak HTTP/1.1" 404

* I subscribe to WPScan Vulnerabilities: https://wpvulndb.com/ Check each email alert to see if you're affected.

 

* I use Netdata to get server metrics, and keep an eye out for CPU spikes - this usually means an increase in attack attempts so I'll monitor the logs carefully. Other server monitoring tools would give the same results.

 

Those are just a few of the extra tasks that I do with my Wordpress sites, but I have thousands of sites to worry about so perhaps my worries are a bit amplified over just running a single site. But then again, once the URL of your site makes it into the hacker lists you'll be getting bots and scanners trying to get in constantly.


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  Reply # 1970186 6-Mar-2018 21:26
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You make some good points, I do some of those as well. I do allow Wordpress to auto update though, to make my life easier, and wp-config is in the default place - I didn't know you could move it. I do use fail2ban, and I have it integrated with CloudFlare so banned IPs can't even reach the server, but I only get a dozen or so at a time. I don't bother with logfile analysis - there's no requests for shell in my logs for the past week. All my sites use different users, different databases, and the test sites use different PHP pools but that's for performance. I may have other things in place, but none come to mind. It's something I chipped away at for a while rather than doing all at once.

 

At thousands of sites you will see every bad behavior out there.





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  Reply # 2019274 20-May-2018 10:36
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An update: @danielfaulknor provided us with an excellent arrangement that's lifted a big weight off our shoulders. Real kudos to him and his company.


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