Hackers can attack WordPress websites in a variety of ways, such as exploiting known vulnerabilities in outdated software, brute force attacks to crack weak passwords, injecting malicious code through third-party plugins or themes, or using social engineering tactics to trick users into giving up their login credentials.
Once a hacker gains access to a WordPress site, they can perform various malicious activities, such as injecting spam links, redirecting visitors to malicious sites, stealing sensitive data, or installing malware that can infect visitors’ devices.
Signs of a Hacked WordPress Website That You Should Look Out For
WordPress is a popular content management system used by millions of website owners worldwide. Unfortunately, its popularity also makes it a prime target for hackers.
A WordPress website hacking occurs when an unauthorized person gains access to a WordPress website and compromises its security.
This can lead to the loss of sensitive data, a damaged reputation, and potentially significant financial losses.
There are several signs of a hacked WordPress website that you should look out for, such as unsuccessful login attempts, a defaced homepage, suspicious visits, a sudden drop in website traffic, slow and unresponsive website, inability to send/receive emails, blank pages, irrelevant pop-ups or ads, suspicious files, and spammy user accounts.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Unsuccessful login attempts: If you or your users are unable to log in to your WordPress website, it could be due to a brute force attack or a hacked database. These attacks can lead to potential malware infections, making it difficult to access your site.
- Defaced homepage: A defaced homepage is a common sign of a hacked WordPress website. The homepage may display malicious content or messages, harming visitors to your website.
- Suspicious visits: An increase in suspicious activity on your WordPress website may indicate a security breach. Hackers use automated bots to scan for weaknesses and exploit them, leading to a potential breach.
- A sudden drop in website traffic: If you notice a sudden drop in website traffic, it could suggest a security breach. Hackers can use your website to spread malware, resulting in search engines flagging it as unsafe.
- Slow and unresponsive website: WordPress sites are vulnerable to malicious attacks, which can lead to slow page loads or crashes. These attacks involve injecting scripts or flooding the site with requests, making it difficult to navigate.
- You can’t send/receive emails: WordPress security breaches can disrupt email communication by blacklisting the server, redirecting emails to spam folders, or unauthorized access by hackers.
- Site doesn’t exist: A blank page on your WordPress website may indicate that it has been deleted or hacked, possibly due to a sophisticated attack or domain name hijacking.
- Irrelevant pop-ups or ads: Hackers may inject spammy pop-ups or ads into your website’s code to redirect visitors to malicious websites or phishing pages.
- Suspicious files: Suspicious files in WordPress can lead to unauthorized access and website alterations. Look out for files or folders with strange names and extensions that you did not create.
- Spammy user accounts: Unauthorized spam user accounts can be a sign of a security breach. Hackers may use them to send malicious emails and access sensitive data.
What Are the Common Security Vulnerabilities for WordPress Sites?
There are some common security vulnerabilities that WordPress sites may face include outdated software, weak passwords, malicious plugins and themes, cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection attacks, brute force attacks, and file inclusion exploits:
- Outdated software: WordPress is constantly updating its software to address any security vulnerabilities, but it’s up to the site owner to make sure they are running the latest version. Outdated WordPress software can leave your site open to attack.
- Weak passwords: If you use simple or easily guessable passwords, your site can be hacked easily. It’s crucial to use strong passwords that are hard to guess.
- Malicious plugins and themes: Plugins and themes can be a great way to add functionality to your site, but they can also contain malicious code. It’s important to only use plugins and themes from trusted sources and to keep them updated.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS): This vulnerability allows attackers to inject malicious code into a site, which can lead to stealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data.
- SQL injection attacks: Attackers use this vulnerability to inject malicious code into a website’s database, giving them access to sensitive information or the ability to take over the site.
- Brute force attacks: Hackers can use automated software to try thousands of passwords until they find the right one, giving them access to the site.
- File inclusion exploits: This vulnerability allows an attacker to upload and execute malicious code on a website.
To prevent these vulnerabilities, it’s essential to keep your WordPress site updated, use strong passwords, and only use plugins and themes from trusted sources.
Additionally, consider implementing security plugins and regularly backing up your site to ensure that you can quickly recover in case of an attack.
Preventing a WordPress website from being hacked is crucial to protecting your business and customers’ data.
By recognizing the red flags of a hacked WordPress website, you can take immediate action to prevent further damage. Look out for unusual activity, changes in website behavior, and strange files or accounts.
Ensure that you have proper security measures in place and keep your WordPress website up-to-date to prevent security breaches. Don’t wait until it’s too late; take action today to protect your website and your business.
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