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WordPress End-User Security


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WordCamp Phoenix - End-User Security presented by Dre Armeda (@dremeda) and Brad WIlliams (@williamsba).

WordCamp Phoenix - End-User Security presented by Dre Armeda (@dremeda) and Brad WIlliams (@williamsba).

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  • 1. WordPress End-User Security
  • 2. @dremeda & @williamsba
    Dre Armeda
    Co-Founder – CubicTwo
    Co-Founder – Sucuri Security
    Brad Williams
    Co-Founder – WebDevStudios
    Co-Author – Professional WordPressPlugin Development
  • 3. ItStartsWithYou
    Before you show the world your awesomeness, think long term.
    An integrated approach to security, beginning to end, will help protect your investment, and your visitor safety.
    Information security is everyone’s responsibility
  • 4. Are You Secure Locally?
    Think of your local environment as if it was a medieval castle and you’re the queen or king. You & your queen/kingdom must be protected.
    Your Machine
    Keep your computer up to date
    • Ensure you’re patching or installing updates ASAP
    • 5. Automatic updates rock!
    Install an anti-virus solution
    • Ensure you’re keeping definitions current
    • 6. Automatic updates aren’t a bad idea here either!
    Yes, personal firewalls still apply!
  • 7. Where Do You Like To Visit?
    Just because your website is super ninja like doesn’t mean others are too. Most desktop viruses and malware these days are passed via the internet.
    Safe Browsing
    • Us NoScript extension for Firefox
    • 8. It’s OK to be skeptical. Not sure, ask questions!
    • 9. Disable pop-ups
  • Are you connecting Securely?
    It’s your information, but who’s watching & listening? You may be a network geek at home, but what happens at Starbucks?
    Your Internet Connection
    Use SSL whenever possible, especially on an unverified connection.
    • HTTPS is a great way to ensure your transactions & traffic are traveling with security in mind.
    Connecting To Your Site(s)
    Consider using sFTP or SSH vs. FTP
    • Still widely marketed, but did you know your credentials are passed unencrypted when using FTP?
    • 10. If unavoidable, do not allow anonymous logins, limit connections, practice least privilege.
    • 11. Don’t store your credentials in your FTP client.
  • Do You use “password” For Your Password?
    Passwords are like toothbrushes, you should keep them to yourself. And discard them, and get a new one, if they have been used by others.
    Password Management
    • Change passwords often
    • 12. Don’t share your passwords
    • 13. Avoid writing passwords down
    • 14. Use a password manager
    ZoneAlarm by Check Point
  • 15. Where Do You Live? Choose Wisely!
    At the end of the day, hosting providers market the world. You in turn, should have opportunity to know how they’re going to protect you.
    Your Lovely Host
    • Cheap doesn’t always mean best, or safe!
    • 16. How many sites on their network or blacklisted for malware reasons?
    • 17. What version of software to they run and how often do they update?
    • 18. How are account credentials stored & who has access?
  • TOP 10
  • 19. 1. Update Update Update
    Keep WordPress Updated!
    Minor WordPress versions ( ie 3.0.x ) do NOT add new features. They contain bug fixes and security patches
  • 20. 1 Update Update Update
    Update Those Plugins!
    The pluginChangelog tab makes it very easy to view what has changed in a new plugin version
  • 21. 2. Change DB Table Prefix
    1. Edit wp-config.php before installing WordPress
    2. Change the prefix wp_ to something unique:
    * WordPress Database Table prefix.
    * You can have multiple installations in one database if you give each a unique
    * prefix. Only numbers, letters, and underscores please!
    $table_prefix = ‘dreday_';
    All database tables will now have a unique prefix (iedreday_posts)
  • 22. 3. Use Secret Keys
    Some secrets should remain secrets
  • 23. 3. Use Secret Keys
    A secret key is a hashing salt which makes your site harder to hack by adding random elements to the password.
    1. Edit wp-config.php
    define('AUTH_KEY', '*8`:Balq!`,-j.JTl~sP%&>@ON,t(}S6)IG|nG1JIfY(,y=][-3$!N6be]-af|BD');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'q+i-|3S~d?];6$[$!ZOXbw6c]0 !k/,UxOod>fqV!sWCkvBihF2#hI=CDt_}WaH1');
    define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'D/QoRf{=&OC=CrT/^Zq}M9MPT&49^O}G+m2L{ItpX_jh(-I&-?pkeC_SaF0nw;m+');
    define('NONCE_KEY', 'oJo8C&sc+ C7Yc,W1v o5}.FR,Zk!J<]vaCa%2D9nj8otj5z8UnJ_q.Q!hgpQ*-H');
    define('AUTH_SALT', 'r>O/;U|xg~I5v.u(Nq+JMfYHk.*[p8!baAsb1DKa8.0}q/@V5snU1hV2eR!|whmt');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', '3s1|cIj d7y<?]Z1n# i1^FQ *L(Kax)Y%r(mp[DUX.1a3!jv(;P_H6Q7|y.!7|-');
    define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', '`@>+QdZhD!|AKk09*mr~-F]/F39Sxjl31FX8uw+wxUYI;U{NWx|y|+bKJ*4`uF`*');
    define('NONCE_SALT', 'O+#iqcPw#]O4TcC%Kz_DAf:mK!Zy@Zt*Kmm^C25U|T!|?ldOf/l1TZ6Tw$9y[M/6');
    define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    define('NONCE_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
    Some secrets should remain secrets
    2. Visit this URL to get your secret keys:
  • 24. 4. Lock Down WP Login & WP Admin
    Yes, it happens. #FAIL
  • 25. 4. Lock Down WP Login & WP Admin
    Add the code below to wp-config.php to force SSL (https) on login
    define('FORCE_SSL_LOGIN', true);
    Add the code below to wp-config.php to force SSL (https) on all admin pages
    define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);
    Using SSL (https) on all admin screens in WordPress will encrypt all data transmitted with the same encryption as online shopping
  • 26. 4. Lock Down WP Login & WP Admin
    1. Create an .htaccess file in your wp-admin directory
    2. Add the following lines of code:
    AuthUserFile /dev/null
    AuthGroupFile /dev/null
    AuthName "Access Control"
    AuthType Basic
    order deny,allow
    deny from all
    #IP address to Whitelist
    allow from
    allow from
    Only a user with the IP or can access wp-admin
  • 27. 5. Move wp-config.php
    WordPress features the ability to move the wp-config.php
    file one directory above your WordPress root
    If WordPress is located here:
    You can move your wp-config.php file to here
    WordPress automatically checks the parent directory if a
    wp-config.php file is not found in your root directory
    This makes it nearly impossible for anyone to access your wp-config.php
    file from a browser as it now resides outside of your website’s root directory
  • 28. 6. Disable WP Generator Tag
    Viewing source on most WP sites will reveal the version they are running
    <meta name="generator" content="WordPress 3.0" /> <!-- leave this for stats -->
    This helps hackers find vulnerable WP blogs running older versions
    To remove find the code below in your header.php file of your theme and remove it
    <meta name="generator" content="WordPress <?php bloginfo('version'); ?>" />
    <!-- leave this for stats -->
    The wp_head() function also includes the WP version in your header.
    To remove add this line of code in your themes functions.php file
    remove_action( 'wp_head', 'wp_generator' );
  • 29. 6. Disable WP Generator Tag
    Themes and plugins might also display versions in your header.
  • 30. 7. Use Trusted Sources for Themes & Plugins reviewed the top 10 results for “free wordpress themes” on Google.
    Out of the ten sites reviewed
    Safe: 1
    Iffy: 1
    Avoid: 8
  • 31. 7. Use Trusted Sources for Themes & Plugins
    The only safe site reviewed was
    Most themes included base64() encoded text links to promote various servies
  • 32. 7. Use Trusted Sources for Themes & Plugins
    Trusted Sources for Free WordPress Themes Theme Directory
    Theme Hybrid
    More themes:
  • 33. Do you Login with username admin?
  • 34.
  • 35. 8. Delete the Admin User
    Change the admin username in MySQL:
    UPDATE wp_users SET user_login='hulkster' WHERE user_login='admin';
    Or create a new account with administrator privileges.
    Create a new account. Make the username very unique
    Assign account to Administrator role
    Log out and log back in with new account
    Delete admin account
    WordPress will allow you to reassign all content written by admin to an account of your choice.
  • 36. WordPress 3.0 lets you set
    the administrator username during the installation process!
  • 37. Knowing your username is half the battle.
    Don't make it easy on the hackers.
  • 38. 9. File / Folder Permissions
    What folder permissions should you use?
    Good Rule of Thumb:
    • Files should be set to 644
    • 39. Folders should be set to 755
    Start with the default settings above
    If your host requires 777…SWITCH HOSTS!
  • 40. 9. File / Folder Permissions
    Or via SSH with the following commands
    find [your path here] -type d -exec chmod 755 {} ;
    find [your path here] -type f -exec chmod 644 {} ;
  • 41. 10. Update Update Update
  • 42. SecurityPlugins
    • WordPress Exploit Scanner -
    • 43. WordPress File Monitor -
    • 44. Login Lockdown-
    • 45. AskApache Password Protect -
    • 46. BulletProof Security -
    • 47. Secure WordPress-
  • 48. BackupPlugins
    • WP Time Machine -
    • 49. WP-DB Backup -
    • 50. Backup Buddy -
    • 51. VaultPress -
  • 52. Website Scanning Tools
    Website Scanning Tools
    • 53. Unmask Parasites -
    Malware Removal
    • -
    • 54. VaultPress-
  • 55. Resources
    Security Related Codex Articles
    • 56.
    • 57.
    • 58.
    Blog Security Articles
    • 59.
    • 60.
    • 61.
    • 62.
    • 63.
    • 64.
  • @dremeda @williamsba are #WordPress security ninjas and #WELOVETACOS