WordPress sites were recently under attack.  Several hosting companies have reported a recent large-scale brute force attack on WordPress sites.  Attackers were using a network of 90,000 IP addresses in an attempt to crack the administrative credentials of susceptible WordPress sites.  If you or your company has a WordPress site, you should consider the following recommendations to avoid the attack:

  • Avoid Common Passwords – WordPress recommends using complex passwords to make brute force attacks more difficult.  A secure password is a combination of at least eight upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (&^%$#@!).
  • Change the “Admin” Username– This brute force attack is seeking to exploit WordPress blogs that are currently using the default “admin” username.  WordPress recommends that you change the default admin username upon installation.  If you are still using the default “admin” username, it is highly recommended that you change it immediately.  You can simply create a new administrative username and delete the old “admin” account.  If you have made posts under the “admin” username, WordPress will ask you if you would like to change the post author to the new user that you have created.
  • Keep WordPress Updated– WordPress and associated plugins are frequently updated, and it is important to keep your site, themes, and plugins up-to-date.  WordPress and many plugins are open-source and hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities.  These vulnerabilities are often fixed in updated releases, and it is important that you are not caught with an old version of WordPress or a plugin with a known security vulnerability.
  • Install a Security Plugin– There are several plugins that offer additional security protections for WordPress.  Some plugins will mask the admin login page, and give you the ability to change the URL to something else.  Others will limit login attempts and apply login throttling.  You apply due diligence when selecting a WordPress security plugin for your site.
  • Consider CloudFlare– CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) that may improve overall site performance, but also adds security protections.  CloudFlare will block login attempts that appear to be a brute-force attack.  Check out CloudFlare.com.

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