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How to Check If Your WordPress System Is Secured Against XSS Attacks

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secure-your-wp-system-against-xss-attacksThe modern web development process brings along a host of opportunities as well as challenges. While providing new opportunities for modern web browsers is an advantage, things like cross-site scripting prove to be the problem that reports web vulnerability and a threat to online surfers.

As a WordPress developer, if you miss out the in’s and out’s of cross-site scripting, you might be losing your website’s database.

Let’s check out what cross-site scripting is all about?

XSS scripting or Cross-site scripting are attacks which allow trespassers to input client-side scripts to web pages. These scripts work on the client side of applications. These attacks are generally directed at websites that maintain sensitive personal data including username and password. The malicious code stealing data is usually presented in the form of links, online forms or just visited by infected sites.

By leveraging XSS, an attacker would exploit a vulnerability within a web application. While XSS can take advantage of ActiveX, VBScript and Flash, the most widely used is JavaScript because it is fundamental to most browsing experiences. The variety of attacks based on XSS is almost limitless but they majorly include transmitting cookies and other session information.

Types of XSS attack:

XSS attacks can be segregated into 3 major categories which include:

Reflected: Reflected is the most popular cross scripting which targets vulnerabilities that happen when websites send input data to the server for processing. Further, the results are sent back to the users.

This type of attack is also known as a non-persistent attack and occurs when a malicious script is reflected off a web application to the victim’s browser. These are delivered to the browser in the form of emails, via another route or some other website.

Stored XSS attacks: The most flawed type of XSS attack is stored XSS attack which involves an attacker injecting a script, i.e payload which is permanently stored in the target application in the database.

Stored XSS can be in the form of a malicious script inserted by an attacker in a comment field on a blog or forum post.

DOM-based XSS: It is the advanced type of XSS attack which occurs when web application’s client side scripts write user provided data to the Document Object Model (DOM). The most dangerous part of DOM-based XSS is that the attack is often client-side and the attacker’s payload is never sent to the server.

How the process of WordPress development gets affected with XSS scripting?

As an experienced WordPress developer, one should definitely care about implementing the safe techniques in WordPress web development. WordPress, being a full stack application comprises a database, an application layer and a presentation layer, all of which are extensible. This gives an indication to many of the security threats which WordPress is subjected to. WordPress is also a CMS designed by third-party developers who may not be following the standard practices of coding while writing a defensive code.

If your WordPress site has a feature that accepts any input from the user in any way, it is potentially opening the doors for an XSS exploit.

Giving an example, if your WordPress website leverages some of the core API’s for inputing and saving data, then you are completely at risk.

Getting prevented from cross-side scripting attacks:secure-your-wp-system-against-xss-attack

It is always a great idea to secure coding practices in order to lock down your site against XSS attacks. For doing so, you can hire WordPress developer which will save your time and also offer the most reliable results.

While examining a WordPress site for vulnerabilities, you also need to check out other problems that need to be addressed.

These precautions can save you from the damage related to XSS attack-

Be cautious while using device on a public network

Make sure to avoid the use of public networks without protection in the form of Virtual Private Network (VPN). Public networks that are unprotected allow hackers to see anything browsed online and intercept any data they want. The use of VPN, here is that it encrypts the connection so that no one can take away your data. It also obscures the IP address to keep you anonymous online. This, further avoids online data capturing, access to blocked websites and keeps your location undisclosed.

Updating the current version of WordPress

Updating a WordPress site patches up the security concerns, therefore, it is important to update a WordPress site as often as possible.

Backup your website’s database frequently

It is always considered useful to backup the database of your website after being hacked. Always remember to backup once the changes are accomplished. This can be easily done via the use of a plugin or manually.

Considering the use of plugins

WordPress plugins are often vulnerable to cross-side scripting due to the fact that they are not updated frequently. To secure yourself against cross-side scripting, you need to uninstall the affected plugins.

In order to secure your site, you can install https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-wp-security/ that helps you stop automated attacks and keep your website security tight.

Check out the input fields of your blog

XSS attack occurs via an input field therefore, you should check every possible input field and make sure that any user input is encoded such that it gets interpreted as text and not a script. This knocks out most of the vulnerabilities. The other areas to be checked for XSS attack should be a login screen, contact pages, interactive content, comment section and email address input bars.

Final verdict:

XSS attacks are quite prevalent these days. One needs to take the right steps and hire  WordPress developer to check for and prevent XSS attacks on their WordPress blog. Preventing cross-site scripting is very important as it can help you maintain your database. Before deciding on what to do, first carefully analyze the situation. This will help you go for the appropriate solution.

Author Bio:

This blog is a composed by Bryan Lazaris who is currently employed as an experienced WordPress developer at HireWebDeveloper. In addition to his expertise as a trained WordPress developer, he also loves writing and sharing knowledge on WordPress web development and WordPress security.

Stanislaus Okwor is a Web Designer / Developer based in Lagos - Nigeria. He is the Director at Stanrich Online Technologies. He is knowledgeable in Content management System - Wordpress, Joomla and PHP/MySQL etc

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