You want to make sure that your website is safe. You know that WordPress security is critical if you hope to have a quality site that your visitors will feel safe using. However, there are many hackers out there today that are continually looking for ways to get into websites to cause problems, such as stealing personal information and even holding sites hostage. These issues happen far more often than many people realize, and hardening WordPress against these types of attacks is crucial.
There are many ways that you might detect that a compromised site. The following are some of the most common.
Table of Contents
The Major Signs of a Hacking Attack
In some cases, it will be quite clear that the site was hacked. Other times, it might not be as apparent right away. If you find that you are not able to get into your WordPress dashboard, and you are sure you are using the right password, it could be a sign of a severe problem. If you have a site that suddenly has a drop in traffic, then it could also be the sign of a problem. This is because the hackers might have used a backdoor, and they may have replaced some of the code on your website that then redirects visitors to another site.
The other site could be a spam location, it could be an unsavory site, and it could be a site that is designed to steal information of those who are visiting what they believe to be your site. When Google discovers that there is a problem with your website, the search engine will blacklist the site from the search engine until it is fixed. This can lead to a fast and massive drop in traffic, of course.
Most of the time, hackers try to be as invisible as possible when they are performing their dastardly deeds. They do not want discovery, after all. However, there are others out there similar to graffiti artists who tag their work. In some cases, they will alter the site in a way that is very easy to see, so they can take credit for what they have done. Why would they do this? It’s not only about holding power over you and showing you what they’ve done. Most of the time, they are maintaining the site for ransom and will request money to return control of the site to you.
You might also find that your website has started to slow down, and you see ads and popups on your site that should not be there. With this type of attack, the source is typically one that is automated. It might have been able to sneak in through a plug-in or a theme that was not entirely secure. One of the insidious things about this type of hack is the fact that it is so difficult to detect. Those who are logged in and who come to the site directly will not notice any difference. It only affects those who visit your website from a referral site, such as a search engine. You might not realize there is an issue until a customer brings it up.
Another sign that you might find that indicates a problem with your site is finding that there is a strange activity that shows up in the server logs. Check out the records, which will be in the cPanel. You can log into your hosting account to get into the cPanel and then look at the Access Logs and the Error Logs. The Access Logs, as the name suggests, will be able to let you know who accessed the site and the IP used. The Error Logs will what types of errors happened when the system files were modified.
This can give you a good idea of whether the site was hacked. Another benefit of checking these logs is that it will provide IP addresses used when someone accessed the site. You can then block those IP addresses, which can help with WordPress security.
What Should You Do to Keep Your Site Safe in the Future?
First, make sure that you have a backup of your site. Even if your host says that they have backups of your WordPress website, you will want to make sure that you also have backups available and ready to go if you need to fix your site. Removing the old and installing the backup can help to get rid of the problem quickly.
However, you will also need to go through the plug-ins and theme and remove those that you aren’t using. You also have to make sure that everything is up to date. Change up your passwords regularly and make sure that you have a firewall set up that can provide you with an added layer of protection.
Hacking Can Happen to Anyone
There might still be some people who believe that since they have a small website, they will not have to worry about it getting hacked. Even those who have small WordPress sites that do not have much traffic can still be at risk. Hackers can and do attack sites of all sizes. Some do it to attempt to get personal information, and there are those out there who do it for fun and practice against larger targets. Just because you might have what you deem a small and “unimportant” site does not mean that you are safe.
Make sure that you are taking all of the proper precautions and that you are working on hardening WordPress against these types of attacks. Perform your updates, make sure that you are changing passwords, and get the protection and WordPress security you need. You might also want to look into getting a plug-in that can run a security check for you and help to get your website as safe as possible.