WordPress is one of the most powerful platforms in the world today. While it powers over 300 million different sites on the internet and makes the concept of creating a website and blog extremely easy — it does have some security issues that every site owner and blogger needs to be aware of.
As with all software, there is always going to be a risk of potential security threats and openings for anyone to enter. Since WordPress is a free and open-source solution, it means there are a lot of moving parts, which means continual logins, updates, permissions, and upgrades are happening at all times. If you are with an expensive hosting solution that has 24-hour backup, automatic WordPress upgrades, and advanced support, these types of security threats won’t pose as much of a risk to your site. However, there are hundreds of millions of WordPress sites out there are leaving vulnerabilities to their sites through out-dated versions and plugins… leaving access for anyone to enter!
Why Someone Might Want to Hack Your WordPress Site
The good news is that there are plenty of plugins, tools, and software to help keep your site safe. Before implementing a protection plan for your site, you should also first have an understanding of why someone might want to hack into or take control over your site in the first place. MakeaWebSiteHub’s WordPress Security resource guide covers this nicely;
1 – SEO – If a hacker is able to gain access to your website they can use your site to improve the SEO of another site by inserting back-links. Alternatively, they can insert affiliate links designed to sell something (often of little or no value, as it turns out). Basically, what they are doing here is taking advantage of your website’s good reputation to further their own malicious cause.
2 – SPAM – If you find that you website traffic has all but disappeared in a short period of time, there is a possibility that you site has been hacked for the purpose of sending SPAM email. The result of which is having your website blacklisted. Once a hacker has used and abused your website and hosting account, they simply move on to the next victim, leaving you to clean up the mess.
3 – MALWARE – Malware is a term that refers to malicious software. Hackers love to place malware on other websites because it reduces the likelihood of them being identified as the original source. Malware can do many different things including spying on a user’s actions, keylogging, spreading viruses and more.
4 – THEFT – The average person stores an amazing amount of personal information on their computer: Passwords, credit card information, banking information, and more. Gaining access to your WordPress website can provide a gateway to your personal information and even the information on your visitors’ computers.
5 – ATTACKING OTHER SITES – Sometimes a hacker’s objective is to make a website unavailable to users. These attacks are often referred to as Denial of Service attacks. In order to accomplish their task, hackers will maliciously “recruit” a network of websites to assist in the attack.
As you can see, there are many reasons why someone might want to hack into your site to take complete ownership over it, delete it’s contents or simply inject a few lines of code. Unfortunately, this all comes down to a simple numbers game. If you aren’t actively protecting and monitoring your site, it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.
Who is Attacking Your WordPress Site?
Now that you know why someone might want to hack into your WordPress site, the next focus is on finding who it is and how they did it!
Instead of boring you with more text on this topic, I’ll let the hacking infographic below do most of the explaining for me — however, I did provide some of the most important topics and bullet points below.
Three Different Types of Hacks
- Single Bot – An automated computer that can attack one site at a time or a small number of sites simultaneously. These are usually unsophisticated attacks.
- Person – Someone who is manually operating a computer to attack one site at a time. While this process is slow, it is more thorough.
- BotNet – This type of attacks are from a group of computers (which can be thousands) and attack multiple sites simultaneously and at a rapid pace. Such attacks are unsophisticated but can originate from multiple IP locations throughout the world, which add more complexity to the clean up process.
The infographic below also covers how they got your information, what type of info they are going after and also what different areas are being attacked on your site.
For more useful information on how to protect your WordPress site from potential attacks and unwanted security threats, be sure to check out this security guide from Yoast.