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Best Techniques to Protect Your WordPress Site from SQL Injection Attacks

 6 min

WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems that is used to build websites. Whether you want to build an online store, a blog, or a hobby website, WordPress works the best. 

If you using WordPress, your main concern is to keep the site safe from hackers and threats. However, you should also be aware of the different techniques that hackers use to steal your data, destroy your databases and more. And of them is SQL Injection. 

In this guide, let’s try to learn more about SQL injection and tips for protecting your WordPress site from it.

Ready? Let’s dive in! First, we’ll get to know about SQL injection. 

What is SQL Injection?

SQL injection also called Structured Query Language, is basically a type of attack on websites/applications that lets an attacker insert malicious statements into the web application, to gain access to the database. He can create, update, and even delete the data in the database.

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Some of the popular database engine using SQL are: 

  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • SQL Server
  • Mongo DB

In the above list, MySQL stands in the second position in the list. This is because WordPress which uses SQL has contributed to around more than 35% of the internet. It has thereby become the target of hackers and identity thefts. 

How Does WordPress SQL Injection Work?

SQL injection attacks work in different ways. This generally involves:

  • Unauthorized data retrieval: Attackers can easily manipulate the SELECT query to grab data and “dumb” the contents in a database.
  • Modification of Data: SQLi can be used for altering database entries or changing account permissions. 
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS): DoS attacks make it difficult for users to visit a website. Attackers generally do this by removing the content in your database.

You have a form on your website that collects information from visitors. 

On your website, if you ask a user for input, like the username, password, or phone number, instead they give you a malicious code SQL statement.

Related: How To Protect WordPress Against Brute Force & DoS Attacks?

From Where do the SQL Injection Attacks Come?

All the input fields are considered the common entry points for SQL injection attacks. To make it easy to understand, here we have mentioned the examples. 

  • Login forms 
  • Signup forms 
  • Contact forms 
  • Shopping carts 
  • Feedback forms 
  • Site searches 

How Common are WordPress SQL Injection Attacks?

There are different reasons for SQL injection attacks, but here are some of the most common.

Most website databases are based on SQL

  • SQL injection scanning tools are available online 
  • Nearly all websites have at least one of the SQL injection entry points
  • Websites have input fields to collect information from their visitors 
  • It does not need any of the technical complexity to exploit

Ways for Preventing SQL Injection in WordPress

Here are the different ways through which you can prevent SQL Injection in WordPress. 

1. Hide WordPress Version 

It is recommended not to display the version of WordPress openly. If you make this information available publicly then it becomes easy for the attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities of the WordPress version. 

To hide WordPress version, all you need to do is copy and paste the code into the functions.php file of the theme which is currently active. To do so, type the command given below:

remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wp_generator’);

2. Remove the Unrequired Database Functionality 

To prevent SQL injection attacks one of the most efficient techniques is removing unnecessary content and databases. Additionally, to prevent this, you can normalize the database and make your WordPress site better. 

3. Monitoring the SQL Statements 

When monitoring SQL statements between database-connected applications, you can identify vulnerabilities in your WP site. While there are different types of monitoring tools, you can also use external applications. Whatever solutions you use, can offer valuable insights about the potential database issues. 

4. Changing Your WordPress Database Prefix 

Each time you install WordPress, the CMS uses “wp_” as its database prefix. And this is why we recommended changing this to something else, as hackers use it for exploiting vulnerabilities via SQL injection. But before doing so, you should first back up your database. As if anything goes wrong, you have a safe version to restore.

Guessing the database tables becomes easy to exploit using SQL Injection techniques. 

5. Use Prepared Statements 

One of the techniques to protect your site from WordPress SQL injection is making use of prepared statements. 

A prepared statement is basically a template of an SQL query where you can specify parameters at the next stage and then execute it. 

Below is an example of a prepared statement in PHP and MySQL. 

$query = $mysql_connection->prepare("select * from user_table where username = ? and password = ?");
$query->execute(array($username, $password));

6. Make Use of Trusted Form Plugins

If you are running a business, a high-traffic site or even just a blog, the importance of forms like login forms, registration forms, contact forms, etc is very high. As there is a lot of form plugins available in the WordPress directory, it is difficult to find the right one. 

So, to keep your site safe from SQL injections attacks, make sure you install the right and trusted plugins. Also, you should make a note of the vulnerabilities that are discovered before and their resolution before choosing any plugin. 

7. Restrict the User Access Privileges 

In WordPress, it is possible to assign different types of user roles. As an administrator, you can give authority to someone as an Author, Subscriber, Contributor, Administrator, or Super Admin. However, it is one of the best options to limit the number of users who have access to your website. As this can immensely help to reduce the chances of WordPress SQL injection attacks. 

Perform the below steps to do so:

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Users > All Users. Here you can manage users and their roles. When you select the User, click on Edit. 

Then, go to the Role Setting. Here you can easily limit the user’s control on your WordPress site. Suppose, you assign someone as Administrator, you can consider downgrading them to an Editor, Author, or Contributor. This can help in removing potential vulnerabilities making your site secure. 

8. Perform Regular Updates 

When you want to secure your website, consider using the latest software. Outdated software, themes and plugins can make your site prone to threats or vulnerable attacks. 

So, you need to keep checking for updates on your WordPress site. To do so, open your WordPress dashboard, and click on the Updates tab. Here, you can easily update your website to the newest version.

9. WordPress Themes and Plugins 

Most of the vulnerabilities also including the SQL injection in WordPress were first discovered in the themes and plugins and not the WordPress core. 

So, keep a close eye on the fixes, and update accordingly. If the themes and plugins are not updated regularly, then it can be difficult and prone to vulnerabilities. Make a note you should always use a plugin that updates frequently. 

10. Take Backups 

Backups are not related directly to SQL injection. But, it can help you to recover a site that’s hacked. You can take the backups in two ways.

  • Local Backup: It is a type of backup which is generated automatically or say manually and is located on your web hosting provider. 
  • Offsite Backup: The automated or manual backups will be generated and sent to the offsite storage location like Google Drive, Dropbox and more. 

Keep Your WordPress Site Secured with MilesWeb 

MilesWeb offers secure and reliable & affordable WordPress hosting for users, bloggers and businesses alike, so you can create a safe online experience. We offer the required security features like SSL certificate, free backups and more. No matter which WordPress hosting plan you choose, MilesWeb offers the features you need to be safe against WordPress SQL Injection attacks. 

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