Plugins and social media links leave websites more open to compromise

hacker laptop

Adding extra features like plugins and social media links makes websites more likely to be compromised according to a new report.

The study by website security company SiteLock finds that sites with between one and five plugins have 1.5 times more chance of being compromised than the average site.

More plugins leads to more risk, with 10 to 20 plugins increasing the chance of compromise to 2.5 times and 20 plus plugins leads to three times the risk. Linking to social media adds to the danger of being hacked too. Sites that link to Facebook and Twitter accounts have 1.5 times the risk of compromise of the average site. Linking to a LinkedIn account produces two times the risk. Linking to accounts on all three networks produces 2.5 more risk of compromise.

The more Twitter followers you have the greater the peril too. Between 500 and 10,000 followers produces two times the risk of compromise and more than 10,000 three times the risk.

Interestingly the site platform used makes a difference too. Sites based on Drupal or WordPress have 1.5 times the risk of compromise of an average site, while Joomla sites are 3.5 times more likely to be compromised.

Looking at sites that have been hacked, the study finds that 73 percent are infected with generic backdoors. 39 percent are infected with shell programs to give the hacker control of the website's files and the ability to administer the site, while 53 percent are infected with malware designed to target the site's visitors. Hacking simply to do damage is relatively rare, only seven percent of hacked sites are defaced.

You can see more about the findings in the infographic below.

Image credit: vectorfusionart /

SiteLock Popularity Infographic 2017

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