You’ve probably heard the news already that WordPress websites are facing an XML-RPC Brute Force Amplification Attacks. But did you also know that Sucuri, iThemes and Wordfence already have you protected?
If you use Sucuri’s Website Application Firewall (WAF), the company has you covered:
Note that users of our WAF are already protected against this attack, so if you are on CloudProxy you are safe.
Similarly, the Wordfence Security Plugin has login protection that takes into account XML-RPC. Just remember to enable Login Security in the Wordfence Options.
Yes we do protect against brute force via XML-RPC and we have for some time now. We also protect against multiple attempts via a single XML-RPC call
Finally, the iThemes Security Plugin protects against XML-RPC Brute Force attacks (even the free version):
Brute Force Protection in iThemes Security just got more robust. Now when you enable Brute Force Protection this feature includes protection from XML-RPC attacks
Make sure your websites are protected!
Edit (16th October 2015): iThemes Security v5.1.0 and iThemes Security Pro v2.0.0 protect against the XML-RPC Brute Force Amplification Attacks.
New Feature: Added “Multiple Authentication Attempts per XML-RPC Request” setting to the WordPress Tweaks section. When this setting is set to “Block”, iThemes Security will block brute force login attacks against XML-RPC
Edit (15th October 2015): If you have Jetpack installed, the Protect Module also stops XML-RPC attacks.
A while back iThemes reported they had to remove VirusTotal Malware Scanning from their iThemes Security WordPress plugin. They have just announced that the plugin will now use Sucuri’s SiteCheck Malware Scanner.
While Sucuri’s SiteCheck is available in both the free and Pro versions of iThemes Security, the Pro version allows for daily automated scanning. That’s a nice add-on, if you ask me.
This is a great addition to the iThemes Security plugin. However, my websites already use the Sucuri Security WordPress Plugin which incorporates Sucuri’s SiteCheck (albeit scans have to be done manually) so this is a bit redundant for my needs. Having a different malware scanner would help cover more bases.
For alternative malware scanners, there’s always StopTheHacker. That service was StopTheHacker was acquired by CloudFlare last year so perhaps more integration is in the works.
According to iThemes, version 4.8.0 of iThemes Security WordPress plugin removed the malware scanning feature that relied on VirusTotal. It’s not iThemes fault; VirusTotal discontinued the service to all WordPress plugins. Well, darn.
iThemes suggests using VirusTotal’s URL scanner or Sucuri’s SiteCheck, both of which require you to scan each website manually. Sucuri also offers automated server-side scanning as part of their paid plans.
One other option that wasn’t mentioned by iThemes is the Sucuri Security WordPress Plugin which allows you to initiate a scan from your WordPress admin. The scan needs to be initiated manually though.
BackupBuddy by iThemes is a wonderfully simple solution for WordPress backup and migration. That is, when it works. On a hunch I decided to check my website backups and discovered that while database backups were fine BackupBuddy was failing to create full website backups. Even worse, emails that were supposed to notify me of the errors were not being delivered.
Yeah, that’s not good.
Now before you jump the gun and completely write-off iThemes, the TL;DR of this post is that there was nothing wrong with BackupBuddy; Acunetix WP Security had added an unreadable file to prevent directory listing. After adjusting some settings I got everything to work again.
iThemes recently held a free two-part webinar discussing WordPress Security. The first video takes an introductory level approach but I still grabbed a couple good tips from it.
The second video talks about the company’s iThemes Security Plugin and also hosts a Q&A session with Chris Wiegman, the developer of iThemes Security, as well as Tony Perez, CEO of Sucuri. Unfortunately the sound was non-existent during Chris’s portion so you might want to skip that section until it’s fixed.
I found Tony’s section particularly interesting as he talks about higher-level approaches to security. He also touches on the wide-spread belief that using a shared host is less secure because you run the risk of other websites on that host being infected or hacked. The tl;dr is this does not happen much today with reputable web hosts (Tony specifically mentions BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy as being OK).
Here’s that portion of the video: