WordPress: Addressing the Security Challenge

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    WordPress is still the most popular content management platform today. However, too often the organization forgets to update his website to the latest version, exposing him to security risks.

    Content is king! Much like broadcasting, content is an area where I expect a lot of real revenue to be generated on the Internet,” Bill Gates said nearly 30 years ago. Today, content is at the heart of the digital transformation of business and the customer experience. Therefore, the organization has to onboard technology his platform to help manage this content, and there are various content management systems (CMS) to choose from, including open source.

    There have been many evolutions in content management systems, whether open source or commercial software. This is one area where open source hasn’t lost its luster, with frameworks and platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal being the most popular. 65% of all websites in existence today use these three platforms. This speaks to the robustness that these platforms bring to all kinds of use cases across industry domains for small and large organizations. is showing.

    Figure 1: Usability comparison of popular open source CMS platforms
    Figure 1: Usability comparison of popular open source CMS platforms

    Aside from being available for about 20 years, these popular platforms share many similarities. All of them are based on PHP as programming language and use MySQL for database storage. They all use templates and themes backed by a robust developer community that provides a wealth of plugins, modules and extensions that complement the core platform functionality. All platforms have feature-rich access controls that provide flexibility and protection, supporting most use cases with varying user permissions and capabilities. It also has an easy-to-use and flexible user interface for rapid extension and customization.

    As the most loved platform, WordPress has the most plugins, the largest developer community and market share. However, the platform’s popularity and openness, combined with its simplicity, attract hackers to exploit weaknesses and poor security in the websites that use it. Understanding vulnerabilities and staying ahead of the curve by addressing them with the right processes will help keep hackers at bay.

    It is important to install the latest software version of the core platform along with all plugins, extensions and modules. The same applies to WordPress. Over 50% of all sites hosted on hacked WordPress are “older” versions. It proves that just adopting technology and frameworks is not enough. You should have a process in place to keep your platform up to date.

    Figure 2: WordPress architecture for a traditional headless implementation
    Figure 2: WordPress architecture for a traditional headless implementation

    A common misconception is that developer self-service refers to a specific life cycle stage, or initiation, of a service or resource. I think people should focus on being able to clone templates and spin up databases without having to deal with Terraform. This is part of self service. But I would argue that it’s a small part. Ask yourself: How often do you launch new services or databases? Not very often in the grand scheme of things. The real return on investment for self-service lies in the rest of the service, app, or resource lifecycle. This includes making it easier for new developers to understand what belongs where, allowing clear and decoupled progression between environments, effectively updating environment variables, resources This includes easily updating configurations and ensuring security without taking away your freedom. It also makes it very easy to debug deployments, view error messages, and consolidate logs. All of this is improved by self-service.

    Application security is only as good as the weakest access point. Understanding your application’s architecture, especially its deployment model, is critical to ensuring that your infrastructure, network, and application access points are protected. The WordPress architecture has two main models. A traditional monolith in which the backend content is deeply integrated with the website frontend. This is the most widely adopted model because WordPress is packaged this way. However, many organizations are deploying WordPress as a headless architecture while embracing digital transformation using web, mobile, and other interface mediums. Here the frontend, middle and backend are all separated, giving you more flexibility to leverage the same content across different CMS. This architecture focuses on a seamless and effortless customer experience across multiple channels.

    Simple best practices such as secure websites (HTTPS), multi-factor authentication, frequent changes of administrator usernames and passwords, and proper screening and updating of plugins in use keep malicious hackers and users at bay. Stay at bay.

    CMS software is evolving rapidly. New versions are usually distributed more frequently than most other software. These updates include responses to security and vulnerability threats.

    The dynamic configuration management (DCM) framework allows developers to separate environment configuration from platform and application configuration. This allows rapid deployment of new versions of software with minimal impact on applications.


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