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WordPress is a very important tool that is used when developing a website and other blogs. The use of WordPress exposes the user to different vulnerability making it unsafe for unauthorized access. Although it has some threat associated with its use, it is mostly used in modern societies. Most people use internet through web applications as manual systems have become outdated. For better performance, it is essential to restructure working processes through web applications which use WordPress (Stamm and Markham, 2010). Therefore, web application has become a compulsory need for various business organizations and ordinary people living in the current technological era. Despite all the benefits that are gained through the use of WordPress, the users are exposed to some vulnerabilities which are caused by insecure design and careless coding.
The vulnerability of using WordPress
The users of WordPress are exposed to different vulnerabilities including unauthorized access, Attack by hawkers, loss of data integrity, confidentiality and authorization. WordPress provides unauthorized people with an opportunity to edit and correct any information posted in WordPress site. It, therefore, exposed users to the risk of theft of data which could have secured through the use of various security measures.
Confidentiality is a code of practice that every business organization uses to protect its confidential information. The WordPress allows unauthorized users to edit and rewrite the content of their web applications (Koskinen and Karavirta, 2012). In the process, it exposes the content of an organization using WP to other people who have interest in the information of the organization. Loss of confidential information is, therefore, becoming a threat to WordPress. It usually has content injection attacks which allow third parties to access sensitive data with pre-editing and alteration of such data leading to their exposure to other people. WordPress does not have a mechanism that prevents people from accessing sensitive data. Its contents are not secured through physical securities which can prevent people from accessing its contents.
This is also another threat to WordPress. Because WordPress does not have any security measures that can block unauthorized access. It is therefore very difficult to keep the data unchanged. Data integrity is a great concern for people using WordPress and exposes users to a greater threat as this can be violated because of successful WP content injection attack which supports unauthorized modifications. The modification of the contents of WordPress with unauthorized access which destroy the integrity of sensitive data (Koskinen and Karavirta, 2012). Because WP content injection attack allows data modification, it is very hard to maintain data integrity and therefore it becomes a great threat to WordPress. The WordPress CMS version 4.7.0 contains a default function which allows for the modification of web content at the endpoint. It also provides an opportunity for users to delete and edit contents of WordPress thus increasing the vulnerability of data to third parties who are likely to modify the contents of Web applications thus interfering with data integrity (Koskinen and Karavirta, 2012). For example, when injecting header content is 12345, its endpoint of URL is likely to become /wp/v2/posts/12345.This allows for the rejection of the numeric value of the ID parameter by the endpoint controller. Because REST API accepts alphanumeric values, it is possible to access the content of web pages easily.
Proper use of WordPress content injection increases its vulnerability. It gives attackers an opportunity to alter authorization information that prevents third parties from accessing organization information and acquire computer logins which are used in accessing sensitive information (Stamm and Markham, 2010). With the logins and password and personal identification pin, it will be easy to access the content of WordPress which increases data vulnerability. Because it uses content injection vulnerability, it does not provide authentication of its users and therefore everybody is free to access its content. For that matter, unauthorized persons can enter and modify, edit and delete the content of WordPress site. The privilege escalation vulnerability has an impact on WordPress REST API that has been incorporated currently and activate WordPress API default to read the contents of Web Applications (Stamm and Markham, 2010). The visitors, therefore, can apply a given endpoint, a subtle bug to change any post on the site. When it could have had authentication for users only, it would be easy to prevent visitors from entering the site and changing some of its posts.
Hawking is another vulnerability of WordPress. It is also exposed to hackers who are able to break into the system and steal the content of WordPress. WordPress patches issues such as authentication privilege escalation vulnerability in a REST API endpoint after the introduction of 4.7.2version. Because WordPress has some features that allow it to update on daily basis on different sites (Patel and Prajapati, 2013). This exposes it to different people who can take advantage of such features to steal its contents. When it is updating, unauthorized users can easily change the password or PIN used to prevent unauthorized access. It is possible to attack WordPress by using a refined attacking method that allows users to bypass the rule that Word Fence that had been implemented to provide security for attackers. Even if the WordFence introduces a new rule that prevents bypassing, the attackers are still able to devise the new technique that can allow them to infect WordPress site. Hawkers are competing to compromise different WordPress sites which have not used the fix. It is reported that there are very many sites which have been attempted by hawkers and this can be controlled by using 4.7.2 fix. With the availability of content injection within WordPress, it is easy for users to inject malicious code or script through updating the pre-existed pages without proper authentication (Jerkovic and Sinkovic, 2014). This can happen within a short period of time thus allowing them to users to access web application in the process when the attackers are sending post request within the malicious shellcodes in order to get the control of web application.
WordPress is also affected by the security threats. Its contents can be hawked to allows unauthorized access. WordPress has no proper security measures that can protect its contents. It is created in a way that cannot allow users to put or install security measures such as the use of logins such as password or PIN before accessing its contents. Because it uses the internet to work, users can access its content in different parts of the World. Users who apply security measures such as the use of security guards may only secure computers of the organization but cannot protect the content of WordPress (Pandikumar and Eshetu, 2016). Because it uses content injection vulnerability, it does not provide authentication of its users and therefore everybody is free to access its content. For that matter, unauthorized persons can enter and modify, edit and delete the content of WordPress site. The privilege escalation vulnerability has an impact on WordPress REST API that has been incorporated currently and activate WordPress API default to read the contents of Web Applications (Stamm and Markham, 2010). The visitors, therefore, can apply a given endpoint, a subtle bug to change any post on the site. When it could have had authentication for users only, it would be easy to prevent visitors from entering the site and changing some of its posts.
Most people use web application as a very important tool that automate different activities that provide services to them. WordPress is an essential tool used when developing web Applications because they are simpler to manage and apply. The only problem is created by content injection vulnerability which is popular with WordPress. It creates a problem in the daily operations which web applicants depend on when managing web applications. It therefore exposes Web application to several risks that make it easy to lose data integrity, confidentiality, security threats and authentication. For that reason, it is important to identify vulnerability as early as possible so that appropriate action can be taken to improve it before they greatly affect users. To identify WordPress content vulnerability, it is essential to use detection model and create a tool which is based on SAIPAN to examine the vulnerability of WordPress. The result indicates that there are only two types of WordPress versions namely 4.7.0 and 4.7.1 with the default page directory json/wp/v2/posts/and has privilege escalation bug which allow unauthorized users to change post in the WordPress site.
Patel, S.K., Rathod, V.R. and Prajapati, J.B., (2013), Comparative analysis of web security in open source content management system, In Intelligent Systems and Signal Processing (ISSP), 2013 International Conference on (pp. 344-349). IEEE.
Koskinen, T., Ihantola, P. and Karavirta, V., (2012). Quality of WordPress plug-ins: an overview of security and user ratings. In Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust (PASSAT), 2012 International Conference on and 2012 International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom) (pp. 834-837). IEEE.
Jerkovic, H. and Sinkovic, B., (2014) Vulnerability analysis of most popular open source Content Management Systems with focus on WordPress and proposed integration of artificial intelligence cyber security features.
Stamm, S., Sterne, B. and Markham, G., (2010), April. Reining in the web with content security policy. In Proceedings of the 19th international conference on World wide web (pp. 921-930). ACM
Pandikumar, T. and Eshetu, T (2016). Detecting Web Application Vulnerability using Dynamic Analysis with Penetration Testing.
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