How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks In WordPress

When it comes to building trust in your WordPress site, one of the most important elements is security. This includes protection from SQL Injection attacks that could compromise your site and leave valuable data exposed (both yours and your users’).

How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks In WordPress

Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself and your site. By taking the necessary precautions, such as avoiding dynamic SQL, using a firewall, encrypting confidential data and so on, you can guarantee the security of your WordPress site.

In this article, we will show you how to protect yourself from SQL injection attacks and examine some plugins that you can use to further increase the security of your WordPress site.

Let’s begin!

Summary

What is a SQL Injection attack?

Examples of an SQL attack

10 steps to prevent a SQL injection attack in WordPress

Step 1: Use input validation and filter user data

Step 2: avoid dynamic SQL

Step 3: update regularly

Step 4: use a firewall

Step 5: remove unnecessary features from databases

Step 6: limit access privileges

Step 7: encrypt confidential data

Step 8: do not share additional information

Step 9: Monitor the SQL statements

Step 10: improve the software

SQL Injection Plugin for WordPress

  1. Preventing SQL injection attacks on WordPress with Sucuri Security
  2. Prevent SQL injections with Wordfence Security
  3. Prevent SQL injections with All In One WP Security & Firewall

What is a SQL Injection attack?

A SQL injection attack is malicious code that is usually injected into the data entry fields. Even though WordPress has done everything  to ensure that the platform was protected from such attacks, your site may still be vulnerable. In fact, any part of your site where a person can post content or data could be vulnerable. For example, think of contact forms, comment sections and even quizzes.

How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks In WordPress

Once an attacker has hacked your site, he can gain access to the database and compromise your website with malicious code. In 2016, for example, a group of Russian hackers was able to obtain information about U.S. voters (names, addresses and even social security numbers) through a simple SQL injection attack.

Examples of an SQL attack

SQL injection attacks can take several forms. Hackers can follow individual websites and blogs or larger institutions like banks. In the latter case, once entered they can change their account balances or transaction history. Even after the damage has been repaired, the bank will have to inform its customers, which can be very damaging to its reputation.

How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks In WordPress

For another real life example of SQL injection attacks in action, just look at the gaming industry. In fact, many SQL injection attacks  focus on video games  , one of the largest and most profitable industries out there.

Most of the attacks target US companies, but other countries, such as Germany and the UK, are also in the focus of hackers’ attention. Once inside a game, attackers can steal money, in-game currency, purchased items and more, and cost the company (and its users) real money.

10 steps to prevent a SQL injection attack in WordPress

Becoming a victim of an SQL injection attack on WordPress can be frightening. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to protect yourself and your website and stay as safe as possible. Let’s take a look at ten of the best steps you can take.

Step 1: Use input validation and filter user data

One of the easiest ways for hackers to infiltrate your site with a SQL injection attack is through data sent by the user. Therefore, using input validation and filtering for user submitted data can help prevent injections of dangerous characters. Input validation simply requires  testing all data sent by a user  , which can then be filtered to prevent an SQL injection.

Step 2: avoid dynamic SQL

Dynamic SQL presents a vulnerability, due to the way it is automated. Unlike static SQL, the dynamic form of the language automatically generates and executes instructions, creating openings for hackers. It is therefore advisable to use  prepared instructions, queries with parameters or stored procedures  to protect your WordPress site from an SQL injection attack.

Step 3: update regularly

To protect the database, updating and periodic patches are critical. When you don’t have the latest version of WordPress, along with any plugins and themes you might be using, you open yourself to the security holes that hackers can take advantage of. That’s why in  Web Digital Media Group we manage all the patches and updates for our customers through our WordPress support plans . This includes items that can be overlooked but that can expose the database to an SQL injection.

How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks In WordPress

Step 4: use a firewall

One of the most effective techniques for protecting your WordPress website is to set up a firewall. In effect, a firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the data that enters your site, acting as an additional layer of security against SQL injection attacks. That’s why our  security solutions  include a firewall.

Step 5: remove unnecessary features from databases

The more functionality a database has, the more vulnerable it is to a potential SQL injection attack. To protect it, consider  normalizing your database  to remove extraneous content and make your site more secure.

Step 6: limit access privileges 

Restricting access privileges is another way of protecting databases from an SQL injection. Inappropriate access privileges can quickly expose your WordPress site to this type of attack.

To protect your site, consider reviewing your  WordPress user roles  and limiting what others can view and edit. For example, you can make sure that all past users have been removed from unregistered roles, such as editors or collaborators, to eliminate those potential vulnerabilities.

Step 7: encrypt confidential data

No matter how secure your database looks, you can always make it more secure. When you  encrypt sensitive data  in databases, you are protecting it from SQL injection.

Step 8: do not share additional information

Unfortunately, hackers can collect a lot of information through database error messages. This includes details such as authentication credentials, server administrators’ email addresses, and even parts of the internal code.

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An effective means of protecting your site is to create  generic error messages  on a personalized HTML page. Remember, the less information you reveal, the safer your WordPress site will be.

Step 9: Monitor the SQL statements

When checking SQL statements between applications connected to the database, you can help identify vulnerabilities in your WordPress site. You can use external applications like  Stackify  and  Manage Engine  . Whatever the solution used, it can provide valuable information on potential database problems.

Step 10: improve the software

In the world of SQL injection attacks and hacking in general, having the most up to date systems is the key. This can help prevent the ever-changing techniques used to access websites illegally.

SQL Injection Plugin for WordPress

Outdated software may leave your WordPress site open to SQL injection attacks, but there are security plugins that can protect you. Using one of the following tools can reassure you and allow you to focus on other more important aspects of managing your WordPress site.

  1. Preventing SQL injection attacks on WordPress with Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security  is a very common option available for free. It allows you to monitor who accesses your site and make changes and know what those changes are.

Once installed, Sucuri scans files for malware, has blacklist monitoring and an optional firewall. To add this plugin to your site, you must first download it by going to  Plugin  >  Add new  .

Then you can install and activate it and access the plugin dashboard to select  Generate API key  . This will trigger monitoring of your event:

This key will be used to authenticate HTTP requests. So you can relax, knowing that you’ve added another level of security to your site.

  1. Prevent SQL injections with Wordfence Security

Designed specifically for WordPress,  Wordfence Security  offers your website a firewall to prevent SQL injection, provides two-factor authentication (2FA) and scans files for malware, particularly SQL WordPress injections.

Downloading and activating the plugin is simple. Go to  Plugins> Add new  , search for Wordfence Security and download the plugin:

Once ready, click  Activate  . That’s all! It is now up and running and you can start scanning for malware whenever you want.

  1. Prevent SQL injections with All In One WP Security & Firewall

Finally, you can choose  All In One WP Security & Firewall  as a security plugin that not only has an additional firewall, but makes it more difficult for bots to attempt to register as users. This protects your code and blocks any IP addresses that could cause 404 terror and phishing for information.

To get the plugin, go to  Plugins> Add new  and download it. Then you can activate and install it:

Now you can go through the plugin settings and adjust the security configuration of your site. You can activate or deactivate the features you want, such as “Access blocking” to check who has logged in to your site.

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