The most commonly used website creation platform in the world is WordPress. More than 40% of the top 10 million websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. Unsurprisingly, the organization that created WordPress, Automattic, has a highly qualified and knowledgeable group of coders known as the “WordPress Core Team”. These top-tier specialists protect the fundamental WordPress software from hackers and malicious attacks.
However, installing various themes and plugins in WordPress may put the website at risk, as any minor security flaw might allow hackers to access your website.
It is important to secure your website against malicious practices. For that experienced WordPress website development agency like Esolz Technologies can be your best bet. But if by any chance your website gets hacked – how will you understand that and how can you fix the issue?
This blog will discuss this phenomenon and get an in-depth understanding. Here you can learn how to understand when you get hacked, the reasons behind and how to fix it. Also, we will provide some tips to prevent these malicious attacks.
Let’s dig deep.
Common Signs of a Hacked Website
Generally, if your website gets hacked, you may need significant time to notice it without professional help. Hackers usually keep them under the radar, damaging your website for their benefit. And when you learn about the hacking, it’s already been too late.
It would be best if you learned some common signs when you must check your website with the help of a professional. These signs can be a cause of any functional disruption, however, they are the prominent sign of hacking.
So to be at a safe site, contact a WordPress website development services provider when you notice these written signs below:
Website Loading failure
Website loading failure might be a common factor; however, it can be a sign that your website is compromised. There are a few loading errors that you must look out for. They include HTTP 500 Internal Server Error, HTTP 502 Bad Gateway Error or 503 Service Unavailable, 401 Unauthorized, 403 Forbidden, and Connection Refused by Host.
WordPress Dashboard is Unreachable
Resetting your password should be your first step if you need help logging into your WordPress account. It’s possible that you forgot that you changed your password on a specific website if you manage a lot of websites. However, it’s likely that a hacker gained access to your dashboard and changed your password and other security details.
When a user tries to access an unsafe site, Google Safe Browsing detects it and displays a malware warning message. Popular computers use Google Safe Browsing data to warn users when malware is present. You have most likely been hacked, if you see this warning on your website.
Some hackers insert content to obtain users’ personal information or direct them to other websites for malicious goals. If you discover any material on your website that neither you nor another authorized user who created your website might be compromised.
Fishy Website Ads
If you regularly post advertisements on your website, it might take time to figure out which is leading to a malicious website. Ads are used by hackers who indulge in “malvertising” to direct users to phishing and malware sites. These hacks are simple to miss, particularly in display network ads where the website may only sometimes have control over the precise advertisements.
Even though your site might be loading, if it’s prolonged or you’re experiencing server timeouts, the problem is probably due to a busy server. This might result from a hacking effort, a problematic plugin, or something else on your website using too many resources on your server.
Your Link Redirect Your Clients to Another Website
It’s not good news. You have undoubtedly been compromised if you attempt to access your website and are redirected to another website. A hacker would have to obtain access to your domain registrar account or the files on your server to do this type of damage.
Complains of Unauthorized Charges
You might be dealing with a data leak if you use an eCommerce system and are getting complaints about unapproved charges. Someone may have hacked into your payment method or website.
In general, e-commerce never saves security codes or credit card numbers on your website, but it does save other information like client names, addresses, and emails in your database. Hackers might use this data to steal users’ names or start using stolen credit cards to make purchases.
Unfamiliar User Accounts
The user account inventory might not be checked frequently. However, if you manage a sizable website where users can sign up for an account, frequently scan the user list in your WordPress dashboard for spam accounts. Your website may be hacked, if you discover admin, editor, or shop manager accounts you didn’t make.
Too many pages on a website that the owner neither created nor is aware of. Hackers may add web pages to host malware, phishing scams, or other malicious content. These pages may not be visible to the website owner or hidden from normal navigation.
The presence of foreign languages like Chinese or Korean on a website or in search engine results could indicate a website hack. If the language content is unexpected or out of place, it may be a sign of a hack. Hackers may add foreign language content to a website to redirect traffic to their sites or manipulate search engine rankings.
Notification From Security Plugins
If your site experiences any suspicious behaviour, a security plugin you use will notify you via email. You will also be informed if your website goes down for any reason if your security plugin includes downtime tracking. With these alerts, you can rapidly identify, diagnose, and take action in response to anything from plugin vulnerabilities and fatal errors to hacking efforts.
Reason Behind WordPress Website Getting Hacked
Your WordPress website can get hacked for many reasons. But the most common reasons are written below.
Weak Password Protection
One of the most common reasons for malware is a weak password. Most people use common figures as their passwords. Nowadays, most websites make it compulsory to put in a strong password. Secure credentials are required for all users, your entire site, including FTP and hosting, and your WordPress admin account.
Lack of Updates
WordPress, plugins, and themes are susceptible to security updates that must be applied to your website. Your website is only secure if you maintain your themes, plugins, and WordPress version updated.
Unchecked Plugins Installation
Themes and plugins from dubious sources may introduce security holes to your website.
So, always install plugins from the official theme directory if you need them. Check the vendor’s reputation before purchasing premium themes and plugins, and ask for referrals from sources and individuals you trust. Never install nulled plugins, expensive plugins from websites that offer them for free, and are intended to damage users or gather data.
How Can a WordPress Website Get Hacked?
Hackers are trained to find any loophole in your system and bypass that weakness to get into your website’s interface. There are a plethora of ways that hackers use to hack your website, and some of them are written below.
In this, hackers bypass your login system to enter your website via hidden files and scripts.
DoS (Denial of Service)
To disrupt your website functionality, checkers insert bugs and errors in your website’s code. This activity overwhelmed the website known as DoS.
Hackers can use malicious redirects to get into your site using backdoors.
Brute Force Login Attempts
This way of hacking involves using automation to exploit weak passwords. Brute force login attempts allow hackers to gain access to your website.
If your WordPress website is outdated, this hack is possible. Hackers insert rough code into your out-of-date version of WordPress and get access to your website.
The most typical WordPress plugin flaw is the ability to inject scripts that let a hacker transmit malicious code to the user’s browser.
This kind of web application and website attack allows hackers to insert malicious SQL statements into the website, possibly accessing sensitive database data or erasing it.
File Inclusion Vulnerabilities
An attacker can include files on a computer using the web browser thanks to a feature called local file inclusion (LFI). This flaw occurs when a website includes a file without thoroughly sanitizing the input, allowing an attacker to manipulate the input, insert jump characters from the path, and include additional files from the web server.
Things You Need to Do After Your WordPress Website is Hacked
If you notice your website is hacked, you must take serious actions to minimize the damage and fix the issues. Fixing a hacked website is the work of professionals, and you need to hire one. However, there are several things that you must do immediately after you discover the malicious attack. Keep reading to learn those actions.
Many people lose their cool after realizing their website has been hacked and take some irrational actions that delay the fixing process. So it would be best if you kept your calm. Now you need to take certain steps to help you control the damage and direct you to fix the issues.
Initiate Maintenance Mode
First thing first, you need to put your website in maintenance mode. You probably don’t want your users to know about the compromised situation. However, sometimes hackers change passwords and restrict you from logging in. Also, you may lose control of your dashboard and be unable to make any changes. In this scenario, initiating the maintenance mode will not be possible. But as soon as you can log in to your website, you are advised to follow the steps. This maintenance mode will make your website look like it is undergoing routine maintenance rather than disclose the cyber attack.
Check Your Backups
Now you need to take the first step towards fixing, which is to diagnose your backups. It may be compromised if you store your backups in WordPress files. However, you are in luck if your backup is in secondary storage. Then check your backup details and can assess the damage of the attack.
Now you need to change all the passwords; it will restrict the hacker from getting inside your website. As you don’t know which password is being breached, you need to change them all to be on the safe side. This includes your SFTP password, database password, and hosting password.
Remove Unfamiliar Users
Your website can have many users, and you may need to be more familiar with everybody. In a situation like that, you need to check carefully and remove all the users who are not active or have yet to make any changes in recent times. Also, if you find any admin accounts added without authorization, you must remove them immediately.
For this, you must go to your WordPress admin’s user screen. Then, you need to select the administrator link above the list of users. From there, you can delete their account one by one or in bulk.
Update Plugins and Themes
WordPress is an open-source platform, and various plugins and themes can be used to customize the website. These plugins and themes need to be updated regularly; if you have any plugins and themes that require updates, you need to do that as soon as possible because out-of-date plugins and themes can be an easy target for hackers to intercept.
Remove Unused Plugins and Themes
Another important task after the cyber attack on your website is removing unused plugins. Generally, it is advised to remove unused plugins which may affect your website performance. But this becomes a serious issue after your website is hacked. The hacker uses any of these unused plugins to get inside your website. Removing them can stop their intersection. So remove all the unused plugins and themes as soon as possible.
Clear Your Sitemap and Resubmit It
If your website is red-flagged by search engines, then your sitemap.xml file might be hacked. It can be infected with foreign characters and counterfeit links. In this scenario, you have to regenerate your sitemap. For that, you can use plugins or buy these plugins from an authentic WordPress site. It would be best to tell Google that your website is cleaned, add your site to the search console, and submit a sitemaps report. Also, you can tell Google you need your site to be crawled. However, it may take time, and you need to be patient.
Contact a WordPress Website Development Company
The most effective way to recover your website is by hiring professionals. An expert has years of experience. Also, they have extended knowledge in this field and they can help you proficiently. With the help of a WordPress website development company, you can relax a bit. They will use their advanced technology and in hand, experience to handle the situation. Also, they can help you tighten your security with helpful advice.
How to Prevent WordPress Website Hacking
Although there are many ways that your WordPress website can get hacked, you can prevent most of that by taking some easy steps. Below-written actions can keep your WordPress website safe.
Ensure Secure Passwords
Most common security breaches happen due to weak passwords. So you must make sure you put a complex password using all possible characters. Also, try to set different security passwords for different zones of your website.
One major task to prevent hacking is regular updates. You need to ensure that you update your plugins, themes, and website core whenever required. Schedule an update check every month.
Reject Insecure Plugins and Themes
Always install plugins and themes from an authentic source. If you come across free plugins and themes, try to avoid them. It will likely be a trick by a hacker to get into your website. Also, plugins from unknown sources may have broken codes which will be an easy target for hackers to intersect.
Remove Unused Plugins
Always remove unused plugins and themes. Keeping plugins and themes that are not in use can affect the performance and be an easy way to get in for hackers. So keep the plugins and themes which are in use and remove others. It will help you to tighten your website security.
Select Your Hosting Provider Carefully
Choosing your website hosting provider is one of the most crucial tasks to prevent hacking. You need to be careful and check the background of the hosting providers before you collaborate with them. It would be best if you choose a hosting provider with a phenomenal background and customer satisfaction rate.
Confirm Firewall Security
Install security plugins from an authentic source and configure a firewall for your website. With this, you can add an extra layer of barriers and reduce the chances of hacking. Also, with the security plugins, you will be notified of suspicious activity on your website. This includes unauthorized logins and suspicious files.
Check your website regularly With professionals
One effective way to prevent a cyber attack is hiring professionals for regular website checkups. You can do routine checkups of your website by a WordPress development company. Having these experts at your disposal can be a great asset to prevent hacking. Also, they can improve your website whenever required, which boosts traffic and improves user experience.
Getting hacked is an unpleasant experience, and most people panic in such circumstances. Hopefully, now you got a brief about website hacking and how to tackle the situation.
Just remember all the important notions and try following the process of controlling the aftermath of website hacking. It is highly advised to contact a company that provides WordPress website development services immediately if you are unable to recover the website by yourself.