WordPress Site: How to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks in 2023

WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world of web development, with a share of 63% according to W3Techs estimates.

It is an open source and flexible software to create websites and applications. On the flip side, the popularity and popularity of WordPress make it the most vulnerable CMS. Among the attacks that most frequently affect a WordPress site we find SQL Injections.

What is a SQL injection attacks?

A SQL injection attacks is a hacking technique in which an attacker inserts non-malicious SQL code into web applications. It is based on the construction of SQL queries (statements used to communicate with a database) that allow the user to access the database and compromise the website by injecting malicious code.

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By exploiting the SQL Injection attack, an attacker could:

  • Extract sensitive information bypassing authorization mechanisms.
  • Inject additional malicious code.
  • Alter data, corrupt the database and render it unusable.

What are the possible entry points for SQL Injection?

Some of the entry points used to launch a SQL Injection attack are:

  • Registration form
  • Contact form
  • Search bar within the site
  • Access form to the site itself
  • Feedback fields
  • Trolley

That’s why special attention is paid to securing code in authentication modules and search pages.

How does a SQL injection attack work?

First, the hacker needs to understand how and when the application interacts with a database to access data, observing:

Web forms: If a user is authenticated using a form, credentials are likely to be verified against a database that stores the information.

Search engines: User search can be leveraged in a SQL query to extract records from a database that respond to the request.

E-commerce sites: Product information may also be stored in a database.
For example, an SQL attack on the database can be accessed through incorrectly filtered input.

To access a database, the user usually needs to fill out a login form with a username and password. Meanwhile, the script checks to confirm that the corresponding record exists within the database, creating a table in the database with this information.

uname = request.POST['username']
passwd = request.POST['password']

sql = “SELECT id FROM users WHERE username='” + uname + “‘ AND password='” + passwd + “‘”

database.execute(sql)

What can the hacker do in this case? Manipulate the password field using SQL Injection, for example:

sql = "SELECT id FROM users WHERE username='' AND password='password' OR 1='1'
In this way, the password input is always true (1=1')

and the malicious user manages to gain access to the user table of the database: by logging in as an administrator, he can alter all records and username.

10 Ways to Prevent a SQL Injection Attack in WordPress

As repeatedly pointed out, prevention is the best defense to protect your web project. Below, you’ll learn best practices for preventing SQL injection attacks.

Update WordPress regularly
The community behind

WordPress is always attentive and ready to release updates and patches to fix vulnerabilities. For this reason, the update activity is fundamental, whether it concerns the core, the programming language, themes and plugins.

Use input validation and filter user data

As you could see in the example above, one of the ways used to carry out a SQL attack is with accessing user data via incorrectly filtered input. Because of this, validating input and filtering for user-submitted data can help you prevent SQL injection.

To validate the input, according to the WordPress guide itself, just test all the data that can be sent by a user.

Prefer static SQL

To a dynamic SQL it is better to prefer a static SQL because the dynamic form of the language generates and executes the instructions automatically, creating possible flaws exploitable by hackers. According to the various PHP guides it is better to choose prepared instructions, queries with parameters and stored procedures.

Use a firewall for added protection

To better protect your WordPress site, you can use a firewall, which is a network security system that examines data and protects against attacks, such as SQL Injection.

Define WordPress user roles

Defining user roles in WordPress is useful for restricting access privileges and, therefore, limiting what others can view and edit to avoid exposing your site to a greater risk of SQL attacks.

A tip: always remember to remove past users who no longer work in the WordPress backend, such as the various editors or contributors.

Keep only the features you need

We recommend that you normalize your database and keep only the functionality you need, removing extraneous content to make your site more secure and less vulnerable to SQL attacks.

Encrypt confidential data

Another way to increase database security is to encrypt sensitive data to protect it from SQL injection.

Monitor SQL statements

You can help with external applications to identify possible vulnerabilities in WordPress: this will better control SQL statements between applications connected to the database and get useful information about potential problems.

Improve software

It is not enough to keep WordPress updated: it is also essential to keep systems updated to prevent the techniques of illegal attacks in continuous evolution that exploit flaws in less updated versions.

Plugins to increase security in WordPress

To better protect your site in WordPress you can resort to the use of plugins: pieces of code or real programs that expand the platform and its multiple features.

Best WordPress Plugins

Among the various plugins, there are some very useful ones to use to prevent SQL Injection attacks:

Sucuri Security

Sucuri Security is a plugin with more than 700,000 active installations useful for monitoring who accesses your site and their changes, scanning files for malware, monitoring the blacklist.

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security, with more than 3 million active installations, is the plugin designed specifically for WordPress, giving your site a firewall to prevent SQL Injection and two-factor authentication, and scanning files for malware.

All in One WP Security & Firewall

The latest security plugin is All In One WP Security & Firewall which has an additional firewall and makes it harder for bots to attempt to register as users.

MalCare

MalCare is an easy-to-install plugin, trusted by more than 50 thousand sites. Among the main functions we find the detection of malware, even unknown, and the automatic removal of the same. It also gives your site a firewall that monitors traffic to your site by blocking malicious requests.

iThemes Security Pro

iThemes Security Pro is a widely used plugin to protect your site from various threats such as malware and brute force attacks. In addition, it includes 404 error detection, strong password generator, 2-factor authentication, and automatic malware scanning.

Jetpack Security

Jetpack is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins. It includes malware scanning, backups, spam protection, and a good level of customization. It also offers real-time updates on website traffic, searches and comments.

Set up the desired plugin and run the configuration, activating the features you want and ensuring greater security to your site.

Conclusion

Proper maintenance of the WordPress site makes the work of hackers more difficult and is necessary to minimize the user’s fraudulent maneuvering surface. However, if you are concerned that your WordPress site has been the victim of malicious actions, you can rely on our Genius web service to get the support of webmaster experts who can help you identify and resolve the issue.

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