Why Drupal shines brightest in the open-source CMS security arena

Why Drupal shines brightest in the open-source CMS security arena

In the modern digital landscape, where cybersecurity is a top priority, the choice of content management system should be heavily influenced by its security features. 

Drupal Security

Open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal stand out due to their exceptional approach to safety, making them the top choice for those prioritising the reliability and protection of their online content.

The security strengths of open-source CMS platforms

Open-source CMS platforms often attract extensive communities of enthusiasts. Take, for instance, Drupal.org, which serves as a knowledge hub for everything related to Drupal and all its available modules. It's also a place where technical support and advice can be obtained from the community, adding another layer of benefit for those opting to implement this system. This dynamic community, composed of passionate users, facilitates the rapid detection of potential code imperfections. Everyone can test its functionality and suggest enhancements.

With Drupal, users can access well-tested tools because there's a well-defined patch delivery path, which undergoes ten specific stages:

  1. Detection of code vulnerability.
  2. Confidential reporting of the issue to the Security Team.
  3. Review the issue and evaluate its impact across all supported Drupal versions.
  4. If the threat is verified, the Security Team initiates an analysis and notifies the maintainer.
  5. The Security Team offers assistance while the maintainer addresses the issue.
  6. Discussions and reviews of the fixes take place.
  7. Creation and testing of code patches.
  8. Release of corrected versions on Drupal.org.
  9. Publication of security advisories through platforms like the website, newsletters, RSS, Twitter, and other social media.
  10. Deployment of the new versions across all sites.

Another crucial factor is the quality of the code. The more eyes that review and probe a code, the more developers are pushed to consider its optimisation. Professional security audits reveal that at least 90% of vulnerabilities and flaws in Drupal-based websites originate from custom themes and modules that haven't undergone community evaluation, unlike the core system. 

Drupal promotes good coding and security practices, thereby minimising the risk of developers introducing security vulnerabilities. Adhering to rigorous standards, Drupal maintains top-notch code quality. Remarkably, all documentation on Drupal.org is generated automatically based on the source code, ensuring transparency and accessibility.

Safety measures in Drupal

Drupal prioritises security risks as one of the most widespread CMS platforms in the market. Since 2005, the Drupal Security Team has been committed to upholding a high safety standard, allowing this CMS to meet international benchmarks such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). Drupal consistently monitors the top ten potential security vulnerabilities. However, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Database protection

Several modules available on Drupal.org, such as 'field_encrypt', allow for efficient and effective database security through complete or selective field encryption. This protection is vital for user data protection, particularly in compliance with regulations like GDPR.

Access and permissions management

However, database encryption is just one of many security measures in Drupal. This comprehensive system also allows for precise content access management, enabling targeted information display to specific user groups. Through the "People" module and the "Permissions" subsection, users can easily configure which users can edit, view, and delete various content types on the website. This functionality ensures sensitive content is restricted and only accessible to moderators, administrators, or members of private groups.

Data field permissions configuration

The next step in enhancing the security of a Drupal-based website is configuring permissions for specific data fields. While general control over content access is essential, there are times when more detailed data management is required. With Drupal's capabilities, we can tailor permissions for individual fields, determining who can read, edit, or delete them. Modules can be used, or permissions can be customised through settings in the admin panel. This adaptability ensures our website meets specific requirements and maintains control over data, especially vital given regulations like the GDPR.

Documented vulnerabilities of selected open-source CMS platforms

WordPress once had issues with vulnerabilities, especially Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), which allowed bad code to be put into forms. It has gotten better at protecting against these, but there's still a concern with Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) that targets the user's browser.

Wordpress Vulnerabilities

Source: https://www.cvedetails.com/product/4096/Wordpress-Wordpress.html


Joomla, meanwhile, hasn't performed exceptionally well. As of 2022, like WordPress, it remained susceptible to one of the most straightforward attacks - SQL injection. Such an attack can occur if input data isn't adequately verified before being injected directly into an SQL query. This vulnerability can grant access to all database data or even lead to its destruction. Contrastingly, Drupal has remained free of this vulnerability for years.

Joomla Vulnerabilities

Source: https://www.cvedetails.com/vendor/3496/?q=Joomla


Drupal, a CMS powerhouse, currently ranks sixth, accounting for about 2% of global internet traffic.

CMS Market Positions

Source: https://w3techs.com/technologies/market/content_management/10


Drupal's exceptional performance and scalability explain its preference among high-traffic websites, from e-commerce platforms to simple informational pages. Over the past year, Drupal-based websites have demonstrated resilience, with threats like SQL Injection becoming almost negligible. However, it's essential to note the continued existence of sites running on the older Drupal 7 version, which debuted in 2011, even as Drupal 10 is now available.

Drupal Vulnerabilities

Source: https://www.cvedetails.com/vendor/1367/Drupal.html


Security comparisons among CMS systems like Drupal can vary based on specific project needs and goals. Most issues arise from add-on modules and rarely from the core systems themselves. Thus, when designing a website, it's vital to prioritise security. In Drupal, several security modules can assist you, offering features like a Web Application Firewall (WAF) or malware scanning. Thanks to community support, advanced access controls, and these enhancements, Drupal remains flexible and scalable, accommodating varying business needs while swiftly responding to traffic spikes.

10 best practices to ensure Drupal Security:

  1. Update Regularly: The Drupal Security Team rolls out consistent updates and security patches. Ensure they're integrated promptly into your site.
  2. Engage with the Community: Report vulnerabilities, join developer teams on Drupal.org, and strengthen the Drupal community.
  3. Manage Contrib Modules: Ensure all modules are up-to-date and remove unused ones. Also, scrutinise new modules' update frequency and developer responsiveness.
  4. Maintain Custom Modules and Themes: Regularly review, maintain, refactor, and enhance your custom solutions. Custom modules and themes are often where 90% of security lapses lie.
  5. Monitor the Status Report: This tool auto-checks for potential site issues and helps address them proactively.
  6. Backup Data Regularly: Schedule daily backups, typically during off-peak hours, and store them securely.
  7. Limit Admin Access: Restrict access to the admin panel, especially to users who don't need daily access.
  8. Monitor Event Logs: Monitor your website logs for suspicious activities and swiftly address anomalies.
  9. Protect Users: Enforce strong password policies, consider CAPTCHA implementations, and safeguard against brute-force attacks.
  10. Utilise Revisions: Drupal's revision tool not only aids content creation but is crucial for site security. It allows content recovery, tracks changes, and identifies unauthorised activities.

In conclusion, Drupal is a leading choice in open-source CMS because of its strong commitment to security. Its active community, consistent updates, and the Drupal Security Team help it stay ahead against online threats. Furthermore, Drupal's detailed content and data management tools play a key role in protecting sensitive user data. With the extra security from content revisions, Drupal becomes an excellent option for those focused on application safety and code excellence.

Choose security with Magnetic Point + Drupal

Understanding CMS platforms and their security is challenging. Drupal stands out for its focus on safety and flexibility. But to unlock its full potential, the right expertise is essential.

At Magnetic Point, we specialise in Drupal. We don't just set it up - we optimise it. Our experience ensures that your website is visually appealing and safe, giving you confidence. Whether you're starting a new project or improving an existing one, our team is prepared.

Let’s achieve these outcomes together if you focus on security, scalability, and performance. Consider Magnetic Point for your upcoming Drupal task. With us, you're not just selecting a platform but choosing quality.

Contact us today and secure your digital future with Drupal