WordPress users can easily install and activate free plugins from the official directory. However, with so many options and no formal review process, malicious code can sneak into the official directory.
Fortunately, the WordPress community is aware of this risk and actively monitoring for signs of malicious plugins. Users are also able to check if a WordPress plugin has been reported as spam or contains spammy or malicious code before installing it. This helps prevent users from accidentally installing a malicious plugin on their website.
Table of Contents
- How to Check if a Plugin is Safe
How to Check if a Plugin is Safe
Here are some of the easiest ways to check if a plugin is safe,
- Check the plugin vulnerability database by WPScan (https://wpscan.com/plugins)
- Check the official WordPress plugin repository for malicious plugins
- Check the wordpress.org forums for signs of malicious code
- Run a security review on the plugin
Use the WordPress Plugin Directory to Check for Malicious Plugins
The WordPress plugin directory (https://wordpress.org/plugins/) is the official list of all WordPress plugins. If a plugin is listed on the directory, it means it has been reviewed and approved by the WordPress community.
By using the directory to check for malicious plugins, you can be sure that malicious plugins have been reported and are not available for download.
To check for malicious plugins, visit the WordPress Plugin Directory and search for the name of the plugin you want to install. Click on the “View details” link to view more information about the plugin, including user reviews and ratings.
If the plugin has been reported as spam or malicious, you’ll see a warning message at the top of the page.
Check the WordPress.org Forums for Signs of Malicious Code
The wordpress.org forums (https://wordpress.org/support/forums/) are a great place to find and discuss plugins with a large community of users. If you’re checking for malicious activity in the forums, look out for signs that the plugin author is creating spam posts or offering paid promotions for their plugin.
It’s against wordpress.org guidelines to offer to “sell” your plugin in the forums or create spam posts. If you see spam posts related to a plugin, report them to the moderators. The moderators will review the post and take the appropriate action.
Check Your Website with Tools like Sucuri and WP Security Scan
Sucuri (https://sucuri.net/) is one of the most trusted names in WordPress security. Sucuri offers a website security scanner that can scan your website for malicious code.
The WP Security Scanner is a great tool for identifying potential issues with your WordPress site and plugin security. The scanner will let you know if any plugins have been flagged as malicious and provide instructions on how to fix the issue.
If the scanner reports any issues, it’s important to address them as soon as possible. Ignoring plugin issues can leave your website open to hackers and other malicious activities.
Use WordPress’s Built-In Protection against Installed Plugins
WordPress has built-in features that can help you identify and remove malicious plugins. If you’re installing a new plugin and the page displays a yellow warning, it means there’s a warning or error related to the plugin.
You can click on the warning to get more information about the issue. WordPress will let you know if the plugin is reported as spam or if it contains malicious code.
If a plugin has been reported as harmful, you’ll see a warning message at the top of the page instructing you to deactivate the plugin. You can also check for malicious code in your WordPress Installation by going to the Plugins section of your WordPress Dashboard.
Once you’ve installed a plugin, you will want to keep an eye on it for any signs of malicious activity. To stay up-to-date on the latest security threats, visit the WordPress Plugin Directory and read their blog for more information.
Stay vigilant for any signs that a plugin is harmful and be sure to report issues to the plugin developer as soon as possible. By using these methods you can be sure to keep your WordPress site safe.