5 Methods Hackers use to Hack a WordPress site

There are lots of ways hackers can impact any business such as private data steal, controlling your computer, force shut down your site etc. Web application security on a global scenario and in India is ever existent as before but hackers are gaining expertise on a whole new level allowing them to hack into any website and hence disrupting their business. Now we could only imagine how business owners hate to get stuck in such a tricky situation. For large businesses having a web security team the problem can be solved by effective teamwork but for small businesses having WordPress sites the situation boils down to you to solve.

How are WordPress sites affected by it?

The primary fact is many small and medium-sized and even large business use WordPress for building their websites. This offers hackers a chance to hack into any business by hacking into their WordPress sites. Moreover, there are lots of ways a WordPress site can be hacked so there is no singular way to prevent them from getting hacked. Going by the figures of a survey way back in 2012, around 40 percent of WordPress sites are prone to hacking which accounts for almost 170,000 users. By now this number has undoubtedly increased manifold. It is, for this reason, WordPress users must know about the common methods used to hack into WordPress sites, because only when you learn the methods will you be able to muster up ways to counter them. Here are are 5 Methods about How to Hack a WordPress site?

1. Using MySQL

Hackers use this method to create a new account or change the password of any existing user on the website. All they need is a cPanel access or a direct MySQL access to the database of the website. The most frequented case is changing the password of an existing user. Hackers login via cPanel where they get the list of tables and databases on the left. They search for the table that has the ending _users. A bit of effort is put up into finding the correct table. Once it is found it shall contain the particular user whom the hackers want to edit. Once the user is located they can easily change the password which is saved in the field user_pass. They change the password by hashing while implementing the MD5 algorithm. Just open the MD5 generator and enter the password of your choice and click on hash. The original password is then replaced by the string hence generated.

In case of creating a new user, the hacker has to get involved in a bit of complications yet all doable inside a minute. They just need to go to create a new record option in the users’ table and populate the fields such as user_pas, user_login, user_email etc. The other fields are not mandatory and hence can remain empty. Once the new record is saved a unique ID will be generated by MySQL which is actually the number in the ID field. This number has to be kept in mind. Now they go to the usermeta table having the same prefix as the previous table. Two new records need to be created. Then the user_id is required to be set as the unique ID which was generated before. For the first record meta_key is set to wpct_user_level and then the value is set to 10. In case of the second record, one meta_key has to be set up to wpct_capabilities with a meta_value of a:1:{s:13: “administrator”;b:1;}. Then just save it and you are done.

2. functions.php

There are two ways to approach this, firstly by editing the funtions.php through the cPanel and secondly by utilizing an FTP client to achieve so. By using cPanel the hackers open File Manager and locate the active theme’s folder. From there he has to go to the public_html/wp_content/themes folder and locate the theme. Then all he has to do is open its folder and edit the functions.php. Then the code has to be added before the closing tag and the hacking is done. Remember to change the password as well. After the new account is created the hackers will remove the code from the functions.php file.

You can learn how this method and some other methods to hack a wordpress website are used on HiTechThreats.com.

3. Other hacking methods

When you know the cPanel, MySQL or FTP password then it is proven that you have the legal access to the server and hence can access the WordPress installations as well. When you have one of these accounts then it is of no use to hackers.

4. Creating the backdoor

When hackers find that the front door is closed they try to gain access through the backdoor. It does sound like a malicious way of using the code to enter the site and control it but sometimes even site owners use this technique to control their website. There will be instances when the front door won’t be open for the hackers to gain access to your WordPress site but then the backdoor might be vulnerable, and the hackers will try to access them outright. It happens mostly when there is a bit of code hidden behind your WordPress environment and then hackers can gain access to the WordPress site with admin privileges. This information can be deleted and backups can be restored a thousand times but more often than not the owner doesn’t know anything about backdoor entrances.

5. Creating new users via FTP

When the HTTP will be out of reach to the hackers they will try to gain access to the FTP server and create new admin rights. In order to create an account outside the environment of WordPress admin all the hackers need is an FTP access to the site. As an admin he will have all the necessary info to log into the server and hence create new user accounts by creating new function using your theme.


Conclusion

There are many ways your WordPress account can be hacked and access to your site can be gained by hackers. The above three are the most common ways. Be aware of them and protect your WordPress site from getting hacked.

This entry was posted in Cyber Security on by .

I am the Founder of CodetoRank.com. I Enjoy creating Free WordPress themes and writing about WordPress. I am 42 years young, and WordPress has been a part of my life for nearly a decade now. Before WordPress, I was a PHP Developer and a Security Expert.

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