Interview with Deutsche Welle on WordPress Security

I recently did a short interview with Deutsche Welle about WordPress security. Listen to it here.

To expand on the topic, here are some of the details that didn’t make it into the final cut of the interview:

If your blog is compromised, you should install the latest version of WordPress, but first you should remove your old files. This is to prevent a hacker from leaving a back door (something like wp-give-hacker-access-forever.php in your WordPress directory. Just dropping the new version over the old version wouldn’t replace a new file that a hacker may have added, which is the reason for getting rid of the old files. Once you’ve done that (being careful to back up your wp-config.php and all your wp-content files), upload a clean install of WordPress. Restore your custom files. Next, look for any user accounts that weren’t there before, or that have higher access than they should. Sort that out. And lastly, scan through your theme/plugin files looking for backdoors or hidden links. This is mostly a manual process, but there are some common things to look for. Most backdoors use the eval() function, so be on the lookout for that!

The best way to keep your blog safe is to stay updated with the latest WordPress version! We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to update (one-click!), and we have big plans for making it even easier in the future.

I’ve never had one of my WordPress blogs compromised, and I don’t do anything “fancy.” I just stay updated.

Reminder: if you’re using WordPress.com or another “hosted” blog solution, they take care of security updates for you. The only thing you need to worry about is choosing an unguessable, complex password.