A recent Statista statistic shows that WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform, taking the larger portion of 28.24% in market share. See the chart below for the market share distribution of the top eCommerce platforms.
Looking at this stat, one thing is for sure, that people love WooCommerce. The user-friendliness and convenience majorly facilitate the popularity of this eCommerce platform it gives to its users.
The huge market share WooCommerce holds should also make you wary. Unfortunately, not everything that comes from the popularity of WooCommerce is good. Hackers are now targeting WooCommerce stores. They use creative yet illegal tools and techniques to host malicious content, carry out data thefts, and cause significant business losses.
In this guide, we will learn about common WooCommerce security issues and some of the remedies to fix them.
Common WooCommerce Security Issues
Because WooCommerce handles customer payments, it becomes an easy target for hackers. WooCommerce is prone to the following threats:
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks
Top on the list of WooCommerce security threats is Cross-site Scripting, popularly known as XSS attacks. One primary reason WooCommerce is vulnerable to XSS attacks is its inability to sterilize the user-provided input appropriately. This plays to the advantage of cyber-attackers who use it to execute malicious scripts or code in the browsers of unsuspecting users. WooCommerce plugin version 2.63, and all the previous versions, are particularly prone to Cross-site scripting attacks.
- PHP Object Injection Vulnerability
According to a National Vulnerability Database (CVE-2017-18356) detail, a PHP Object Vulnerability is possible for the WooCommerce plugins 3.2.4 WordPress version and all the preceding versions.
Attackers can use this technique to gain entry into your site by constructing a specifically fashioned attack that will result in an array of malicious activities on your WooCommerce website. Worse still, a hacker could decide to run an arbitrary code on your servers. As such, the hacker could easily access your essential shopping information alongside many other sensitive data.
- File Deletion Vulnerability
Arbitrary file deletion vulnerability is a slightly risky concern that every WooCommerce store owner should know about. The reason this vulnerability is considered less risky is that the hacker can only delete the index.php file of your site, which, in worst-case scenarios, could be the beginning of a Denial of Service attack. As a such, file deletion vulnerability could potentially deactivate security checks and ultimately result in an entire site take-over.
Practical Solutions to Solving Common WooCommerce Security Issues
There are many more WooCommerce security issues, but the three explained above are the most popular. As a WooCommerce store owner, you must understand tips to fix the WooCommerce security issues and protect your site from threats.
The following are some of the best practices for fixing WooCommerce Security issues.
Use Security Plugins
Installing security plugins is arguably one of the most critical WooCommerce security steps that you should take. Security plugins will frequently scan through your WooCommerce site and alert you whenever there is a looming security issue. MalCare is one of the best plugin options that you can consider.
Apart from frequently scanning through your site, it will also wipe out any malware from your site. The plugin will also protect your site against brute force attacks, among many other forms of attacks. If you have a WooCommerce store, then you should start thinking about using the following plugins:
- iThemes Security
- BulletProof Security
- reCaptcha for WooCommerce
- WP fail2ban
Install an SSL Certificate
Securing your WooCommerce website with an SSL certificate will ensure that all the data transmitted between your site and your users are safe from the hackers’ reach.
Because your WooCommerce requires sensitive information such as debit card numbers and users’ personal information, you have no option but to buy an SSL certificate.
However, because most WooCommerce sites operate on multiple subdomains, most site owners fear purchasing SSL certificates for their stores, citing expensive costs as the reason for such negligence.
There is no point buying multiple certificates for all your first-level subdomains on your WooCommerce website when we have cheap Wildcard SSL on the market offering the same encryption benefits.
All you need to secure your primary domain and your unlimited first-level subdomains is a single Wildcard SSL certificate. So never leave your store unprotected. Always ensure you encrypt all in-transit communications and data using an SSL certificate.
Keep Everything Up To Date
It is a great idea to use software, plugins, and extensions, but it is also good to keep them updated. All good software and plugins are regularly updated. The updates usually aim to improve your WooCommerce store’s general functionality and address any security loopholes that might exist in your current versions. As a best practice, always ensure that your themes, plugins, and extensions are all updated.
Use Strong Passwords Combined With 2FA.
Weak passwords are one of the leading causes of cyberattacks. WooCommerce stores should learn to adhere to best password practices if at all they want to be safe. Hackers usually use brute force attack techniques to try and crack passwords. If your password is weak, then you are putting your store in danger. For maximum security of your WooCommerce store, ensure you follow the following practices;
- Use unique passwords for each of your online accounts
- Use combined characters when creating passwords
- Avoid using names of common things
- Give much priority to the length of the passwords
It would also be wise to strengthen your password authentication process by enabling multiple-factor authentication. Here, you can have your accounts ask for additional authentication factors other than passwords. 2FA makes your accounts more secure.
Do Not Use “ADMIN” As your User Name
Using commonplace names such as ‘admin’ is not a good practice for store owners. As such, it would be in the best interest of your WooCommerce security to use a different admin user name and delete the ‘admin’ user name. To change the admin user name, you will have to log into your WordPress admin panel, navigate to the User option and click on the Add New tab. You should then create a new account and delete the previous account.
Choose a Secure Hosting Provider
Your hosting provider tells a lot about the security of your WooCommerce site. Therefore, you must ensure that the web hosting provider you are working with understands your site well and that it has suitable safety measures to help protect yourself from attackers and threats such as malware infection. The following are some of the best WooCommerce hosting providers;
- WP Engine
Disable File Edits
Another efficient WooCommerce security practice is disabling file edits from the WP admin. Doing so ensures that if hackers gain access to your files, they will not be able to alter your files.
Limit Login Attempts
Limiting login attempts is one of the most critical solutions that will protect your store from brute-force attacks. Most of the WooCommerce plugins that I mentioned earlier will allow you to limit access attempts.
As nothing is guaranteed in cybersecurity, it is wise that you backup your data always. Backing up ensures that, if things go wrong, you do not lose vital data that could be essential in the continuity of your business.
WooCommerce has increasingly become popular, and so have the hackers targeting WooCommerce stores. You need to understand some of the threats that your store is vulnerable to and some of the effective security measures to protect your store against the security threats.