Huge botnet attack on WordPress!
Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it?
Not so fictional, according to the BBC.
Nearly 17% of websites around the world run on the WordPress platform (including this one.) It it one of the most accessible and flexible content management systems available, which has made it a popular choice for a wide range of businesses and organizations. That degree of popularity also makes it an appealing target for botnet operators. Because the underlying structure is the same for all these different sites, a hacker who manages to exploit a possible vulnerability in that structure may be able to apply that same technique to any the 64 million sites that run WordPress.
In this case, the attack is relatively straightforward–the default user name on most sites is “admin” and this botnet simply tries thousands of password combinations with that user name until one of them gets through. An easy fix is to change your password to something other than the default password. An even better fix? Delete the “admin” user altogether.
Later this month, I’ll be attending (along with several of these fine gentlemen) Wordcamp Minneapolis, a conference designed to strengthen and educate the community of WordPress developers and users in this area. One of the many sessions I’m looking forward to is the area of WordPress security. I’ll tell you as much as you can stand to hear about it when I get back.