As a WordPress website owner, there is a plethora of security risks that you must protect yourself against. Among these threats are Remote Code Execution (RCE) attacks. Unless you take proactive measures to safeguard your site, you could fall victim to this type of injection.
The good news is that you can take relatively simple yet effective steps to protect your website. Once you understand what this type of attack is and how it works, you’ll be better positioned to take the necessary measures to avoid it.
In this post, we’ll discuss what remote code execution attacks are and how they can impact your WordPress website. Then we’ll share three ways to protect your site, including using ManageWP’s security check. Let’s get started!
An introduction to remote code execution attacks
There are so many different types of security attacks threatening WordPress sites today. However, a 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report from NTT found that Remote Code Execution (RCE) attacks, also referred to as code injection, were the most common type of security threats.
Remote code execution is essentially an umbrella term that can include a variety of hacking methods. In most cases, the hacker uses malicious code that is deemed safe by the server.
Some of the most common types of remote code execution attacks include:
- SQL Injections. This vulnerability allows a hacker to interfere with queries by injecting malicious statements into a database.
- Type confusion. When a piece of code does not test the integrity of the object it is being passed to, it creates an opportunity for hackers to inject commands that can create a mismatch in object types.
- Deserialization. This is when modified data is about to leave a data stream and is vulnerable to injections of serialized data which can lead to altered data objects.
True to its name, a remote code execution attack occurs when the hacker is able to access your site or server through a vulnerability from a remote location. In addition to injecting malicious code into your network, the cybercriminal can sometimes gain complete control of your site or device.
Typically, the goal of the hacker is to:
- Disrupt your system
- Infiltrate and monitor your network
- Steal important data
Remote code execution attacks can threaten your business in multiple ways. Not only can they knock your server offline and compromise sensitive customer data, but these attacks can also result in reputation damage and even a loss of business. As such, knowing how to protect your site against this type of malicious activity is of utmost importance.
How to protect your website from remote code execution (3 ways)
Now that we understand what remote code execution attacks are, it’s time to get into some methods you can use to safeguard against them. Here are three ways to protect your website from remote code execution.
1. Install a Web Application Firewall (WAF)
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your website against security threats is to invest in the right prevention tools. This is why we highly recommend you install a Web Application Firewall (WAF) on your site.
This tool can help filter out suspicious requests before they can harm your site. In a nutshell, it adds an additional layer of protection to your site, acting as a shield between your incoming traffic and the web server.
With a WAF installed on your site, you can have peace of mind knowing that most bad actors will be caught before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your WordPress website. A popular WAF choice is Sucuri WAF:
In addition to remote code execution, Sucuri WAF can also help defend against other security threats. For example, it can help protect you against Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks.
2. Continuously monitor and update your website and extensions
An effective way to protect your website against remote code execution is to keep all your tools, software, and systems updated. It’s essential to continuously monitor your website and check for any available updates for your plugins and themes.
Plugin and theme developers are regularly releasing security fixes and patches that can help strengthen the overall security of your site. Therefore, making sure to upgrade to the latest versions as soon as possible can help minimize security vulnerabilities that hackers can use to exploit your site:
The same concept applies to the Content Management System (CMS) as a whole. In general, WordPress tends to be a relatively secure open-source software. However, it isn’t without fault.
Staying on top of the latest versions can help ensure that you’re making the most of the platform’s security features. It also helps reduce the chances of running into plugin or theme incompatibility issues, which can cause a host of issues.
To make this process easier, you might want to consider enabling automatic WordPress and plugin updates. There are a variety of tools you can use for this, including our ManageWP One-Click Updates. This is perfect when you pair it with our security tools.
3. Use our ManageWP Security Check feature
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of using a WAF. However, that’s not the only security tool you can use to protect your WordPress site against remote code execution.
Another method you can leverage is our ManageWP Security Check:
Security Check can help you simplify the process of securing and monitoring your site. In addition, it helps you ensure that all of the files on your site are clean and safe.
Using the one-click feature, you can scan all your websites at once and view key security-related information. This tool also keeps a log of all your past security scans.
If you’re interested in ManageWP Security Check, there are two versions you can choose from. The free option lets you perform essential tasks such as scanning your websites whenever you wish.
When you’re managing a website, staying on top of your security is one of the most important maintenance tasks. This can help you prevent some of the most common types of security attacks, such as remote code execution. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, hackers may be able to infiltrate your site and steal sensitive customer data.
As we discussed in this post, there are three ways you can protect your WordPress site against remote code execution:
- Install a firewall such as Sucuri.
- Monitor and update your website and extensions to minimize vulnerabilities.
- Use our ManageWP Security Check tool to ensure that all of your site’s files are clean and safe.
Do you have any questions about remote code execution attacks and how to prevent them? Let us know in the comments section below!
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