You’ve been hacked! Something is wrong with your website – changes are appearing that you didn’t initiate. Mysterious new users are appearing unexpectedly, or unusual links for “stock market tips” or the “cure for baldness” are showing on your footer or sidebar. At worst, your website is completely disabled and vandalized.
Why Was My Website Hacked?
Here are three reasons your website could have been attacked:
- The attacker makes money via your website. If your site receives considerable traffic, he or she can use all those eyeballs to get some clicks on spammy links (for example). These types of attacks will usually leave your website looking very normal, with just small changes here and there. This is because ideally the site owner will not notice the changes, and they will get left in place for days or even weeks – all the while generating some income.
- Your site had a large security vulnerability. When opportunity knocks a malicious attacker is going to exploit your server. If they can get a backdoor set up they will then use it for whatever purposes they please – generally this is sending spammy emails (a low converting but real revenue source).
- The hacker actively dislikes your company (or you). When the motive isn’t money, it’s probably personal. This type of attack is aimed at destroying your data or bringing your site and server completely to its knees. As revenge tactics go, disabling your website for hours or even days can be highly stressful and costly – truly an attack on your livelihood.
How Was WordPress Compromised?
The usual suspect for hacked WordPress websites is a vulnerable third party plugin. WordPress Core (which is everything that came with your base install) has a team of developers that puts out constant releases as new security vulnerabilities are found. The components that do not undergo intense scrutiny though are the themes and plugins – even those found on the official WordPress Plugin directory listings.
Consider plugins that accept file uploads (slideshow scripts, contact forms, etc) and those that store data in the database as a high risk add-on for WordPress. You should enable themes and plugins with great care however, and keep them updated.
What Happens Now?
After your website has been hacked you will need to task an experienced web development professional to assess the state of your website on your server and attempt recovery. If backups are available it will give the highest chance of restoration with as-current of data as is possible.
Your website may have ended up on blacklists or with the “Get Me Out Of Here!” warnings in search. Your website professional will take the necessary steps to get the site off those lists.
Sprise Media can help you if your WordPress website has been compromised and needs a thorough unfugging. We can clean up your site and get off the warning lists. Contact ASAP if your website has been hacked.