Why CMS platforms are common hacking targets and what steps you should take to secure your website from hacking?

Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was hacked on December 1, 2016, resulting in a barrage of nasty remarks. – From the Times of India.
December 15, 2016: Yahoo announces a fresh attack, this time affecting over a billion people. — The Financial Times
A few weeks ago, prominent figures such as Rahul Gandhi, Vijay Mallya, Ravish Kumar, and Barkha Dutt were all in the news when their Twitter accounts were hacked by Legion, an unknown group of people. Similarly, Yahoo acknowledged that the greatest data breach in history had compromised over 1 billion user accounts.

There are currently over one billion websites active on the internet, and this number is growing by the second due to —

The number of tools and platforms available has increased, making it easier for us to maintain an online presence.

Content Management Systems are becoming more popular (CMS).
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Blogger power more than a third of all websites on the internet.

According to the W3 Techs Survey, WordPress is the most popular CMS, with almost 58.5 percent market share (used by 27.3 percent of all websites).

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However, with increased user adoption comes an increase in the number of low-skilled and under-equipped service providers and webmasters who, while deploying and administering the sites, fail to take adequate precautions to prevent phishing, malware, and hacking from jeopardizing the credibility and security of your websites.

Why CMS platforms are vulnerable to hacking?

A Information Management System (CMS) is a piece of software that aids in the management of digital content, such as videos, photographs, documents, and other forms of online content.

CMS, on the other hand, with widely disclosed vulnerabilities, appears to be a goldmine for script kiddies and one of the most prevalent web hacking targets.

WordPress and Joomla!, followed by Magento and Drupal, are the four CMS platforms most affected by hacking, according to Sucuri Security’s Website Hacked Report 2016-Q2.

CMS is prone to hacking attacks due to a variety of issues. The following are the most common reasons for CMS platforms being hacked: –

The transparent nature of open source software, unlike closed source/proprietary software, allows for easy inspection and modification of the source code because it is free and publicly accessible. As a result, while CMS built on an open source framework offers a collaborative environment – multiple people working together, sharing, and modifying source code – it is more insecure.

Passwords that are predictable and easy to crack — Not every key will fit into a lock’s keyway. Similarly, each logon process has its own unique password that establishes ‘who you are.’ If the password is easy to crack, hackers can utilize this precious resource to violate security and gain an edge. Many website operators unknowingly leave their administrator accounts vulnerable to brute force attacks by using weak or crackable passwords, which hackers can easily use to inject malware, turning websites into distributed denial of service (DDoS) bots.

Protocols — WordPress and other CMS platforms employ the XML-RPC protocol to provide users with services like pingbacks, trackbacks, and remote access, but hackers can use this to launch DDOS attacks.
Sucuri, a security research firm, claims that “26,000 separate WordPress sites were abused to perform Layer 7 distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults.”

Insecure extensible components — The most common infection types in CMS plugins, themes, modules, templates, and other integrations are cross-site scripting and SQL injection.
The installed plugins and themes pose the greatest threat. If these flaws aren’t patched in a timely manner, hackers will have an easy time exploiting them.

Continuing to use out-of-date versions — “CMS should never be used in its default configuration and should be upgraded whenever newer versions become available,” according to BSI. However, administrators frequently fail to update add-ons when upgrading the core system, leaving vulnerabilities open.

Steps you should take to secure your website from hacking.

Maintain the latest versions of your installed scripts and CMS systems (newest versions). Schedule a CMS update or patch, as well as any installed plugins and themes, on a regular basis.
Backup the CMS and its underlying database on a weekly basis, at the very least.
Choose a Web Application Firewall (WAF), an enterprise-grade website security solution that protects against all vulnerabilities automatically.
To actively block hacking attempts, install security plugins. These plugins alert you to the flaws in each platform and prevent hacking attempts that could harm your website.
Use parameterized queries to prevent rogue code from changing tables, retrieving information, or deleting data from your query.

To protect your website’s admin area and server from brute force assaults, use strong passwords. To keep your passwords doubly secure, always store them as encrypted values and update them on a regular basis.
SSL should be installed on your web server. SSL is a protocol that creates a secure connection between your server and your browser. To achieve client trust, always utilize a security certificate on your website.
Some website security tools, such as Netsparker and OpenVAS, can be used to test your website’s security.
Secure your admin folders to prevent them from being hacked. To limit the risk of a breach, rename your admin folders to a name that only your webmasters know about.Hope the above mentioned security tips will help you secure your website against the hackers. Don’t sit with the thought that “it cannot happen to me”. Prevention is always better than cure.

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