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January 16, 2009

Security and Hacking: The State of WordPress Blogs

WordPress SecurityLast year, there was a lot of noise about WordPress being especially vulnerable to attacks and hacks. Not all of those reported hacks and wild fire assuptions about WordPress security were true.

In “SecurityFocus SQL Injection Bogus,” talked about one false report:

Online, apparently, it’s fine for someone to run into a crowded theatre and yell “fire” and the less basis there is in fact the more people link to them. It’s not uncommon to see crying-wolf reports like the above several times in a week, and a big part of what the WP security team is sifting through things to see what’s valid or not.

…All that said, there is a wave of attacks going around targeting old WordPress blogs, particularly those on the 2.1 or 2.2 branch. They’re exploiting problems that have been fixed for a year or more. This typically manifests itself through hidden spam being put on your site, either in the post or in a directory, and people notice when they get dropped from Google. (Google will drop your site if it contains links they consider spammy, you’ll remember this is one of the main reasons I came out against sponsored themes.)

“Sponsored” WordPress Themes were banned from the official WordPress Theme Directory due to inclusion of ads, spam, and malicious links in Themes offered for free, with a hidden price. WordPress Theme scams continue and WordPress users are warned repeatedly to be cautious about downloading and using WordPress Themes without careful inspection and testing.

In the last issue of this series on “Cyber Attacks on the Rise in 2009,” I covered the current spread of the Downadup Worm Infection that uses websites to spread its evil, impacting more than 3.5 million sites worldwide. Such attacks are becoming more rare, but hackers targeting blogs are growing in numbers and resourcefulness. We must be on our guard to protect our blogs more this year than ever before. read more

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