Warning Signs That Your WordPress Website Is Being Hacked

Lots of people, myself included, have been extolling the virtues of using WordPress. There was a time when people used to recognize it as another blogging platform. Today, due to its ability to confer simple usability and provide best possible features to all websites, WordPress has nothing to prove!

This can be considered as quite a laughable understatement; especially when I say that websites have become a necessity here in 2018. In fact, many of you already believe in the fact that we cannot live without the internet, and while this isn’t strictly true, it certainly forms the basis of many people’s livelihoods.

The truth of the matter is that even the most obscure idea has a chance of making it online. And if you want to have the best chance of success, then your online presence should be nothing short of impressive.

The website Dilemma

A few names like WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Magento, Wix, and Weebly may sound pretty weird for an average business owner. But it’s not as sinister as it sounds. WordPress by far is one of the most preferred digital platforms that operate on open-sourced software, allowing its users and developers to contribute well. Over the past few years, the so-called blogging platform has evolved into a versatile content management system (CMS).Whereas Shopify and Magento are in the same boat; mainly used to run an ecommerce store. Well, it may also interest you to know that according to several researches, 42% of ecommerce sites are powered by WordPress. And one of the notable reasons why the platform enjoys such adoration and popularity is due to its vast array of specialist premium eCommerce themes- and not to mention, the open source, highly customizable, flexible and Search engine friendly nature. It is pretty safe to say that WordPress has succeeded in overcoming the misconception that traditionally belies it. As a result, a major shift has been seen taking place at the enterprise-level adoption with several reputable companies like The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, eBay, UPS jumping on the WordPress bandwagon.

Possibilities offered by WordPress, but isn’t limited to:

  • An eCommerce website like eBay or Alibaba
  • A blog such as Mashable and TechCrunch
  • Video website like YouTube
  • Appointment booking website
  • Photography website such as Flickr.com
  • Directory website like YellowPages
  • Classified Ad listing such as OLX
  • Question Answer Forum like Quora.com
  • Knowledgebase/Wiki website and what not!
Crucial CMS requirements

There is a reason why several corporate behemoths are utilizing CMS platforms to develop their apps and websites and get optimum results. I mean imagine creating a website that would look same as they seemed in early 90’s- a word document with no hyperlinks, images, graphics, animation, nothing. How dull! Looking around for the best WordPress solutions or building an interactive website is as same as creating one of the most important branding weapons you’ve got in your armory; it’s got unlimited potential. Further below I would like to mention a few requirements to take into account before considering a CMS platform.

  • Fast loading speed- Sluggish performance and slow loading speed are some of the major turn-offs for a website user. You will come across a plethora of WordPress plugins that can boost a site’s performance.
  • Navigation- Thankfully, navigation is at its best in WordPress. Apart from this menus, drop down menu functionality, tags, categories, and tons of widget seems quite robust and scalable.
  • Image optimization- Adding Title & Alt Tags in images is easy peasy. And even if you are a non-techie, you won’t feel any burden of optimizing the images for better ranking.
  • User experience- This pointer trumps everything else when it comes to a website. And WordPress is fully optimized to work well on multiple devices, browsers, and systems.
  • Social media integration- Never has the social media had such impact on how your business interacts with your user community as it does now. And that’s the main reason why WordPress supports social media integration.

WordPress as the CMS has come a long way from its beginnings as a simple looking “blogging platform” — allowing best-in-class flexibility, portability, scalability and WordPress customization for designers, developers and site owners.

It Is Possible To Hack a WordPress Website Featuring Airtight Security

Let me introduce you to a website owner’s worst nightmare –It’s the moment he finds that his website is getting hacked. Getting hacked is the kind of thing that happens only with giant companies. Well, that’s not true- You never know you could be the next in line. After having the rare ability to be hacked, 136,640 attacks are happening every minute across the globe. So even if you are not a million dollar company with tons of transactions happening day in day out, you could still be hacked. And you know what’s more frustrating? It’s when you found that the incident happened a while back and the damage in regards to your reputation has grown to a great extent.

Why your site can be hacked?

Well, there is no particular reason behind it as hackers may have several motives for launching attacks. All they require to do is, make to breach website security and use the same site to further their own intentions. Right from using your server to store illegal files to send spam emails and so forth. As soon as web hosts would find that your site has been hacked they will suspend your account and the worst of all, Google will blacklist your site.

Fret not! It doesn’t always have to be that way especially if you can look around for these common telltale signs that may help you figure out if your WordPress site is hacked or compromised. Apart from this as a savvy site owner, it is very crucial for one to check whether the website is susceptible to an attack or not.

#1 Google Chrome Alerts

Google Chrome Alerts

I am sure you must have come across such warning in Chrome. The site has been hacked and infected with malware. This means the hacker is using your website to host malware that tricks the victim into taking some action. For example- the victims are emailed a URL that contains a link to your website.

Google Chrome Alerts

This warning indicates the website is itself hosting malware. After gaining quick access to your site, a hacker is able to install malware and is infecting machines belonging to your site visitors.

#2 Unable to log in

One of the most common signs stating that your website is being hacked. However, there can be a different scenario when you have actually forgotten your password but if you are sure that you haven’t; the inability to log in is most likely due to a hacker changing your password or deleting your admin account altogether.

The bad guys will always end up creating difficulties for you while retaining the access to your website. Therefore, the forgot password tool won’t work anymore.

#3 A sudden drop in website traffic

For a WordPress site, the good news? It’s not usually too complicated. The bad news? It’s not a piece of cake either. If you see a sudden drop in the website traffic, do not waste your time in what you did wrong. As the drop might not have anything to do with you or your content; it’s actually been hacked.

Technically speaking, malware that target websites will often redirect visitors to the sites owned by hackers, resulting in a quick decrease in the traffic of the site. So keep monitoring and tracking your visitors at regular intervals. And don’t forget to watch out for any suspicious drop.

#4 Unexpected flow

Several website owners believe in turning off the registrations. And if you still find unnecessary users being added, it means that someone else has retrieved admin powers. There was a case found where a hacker was able to add their own PHP script to the server to bypass WordPress’ normal security measures. Exploit like this often stem from an outdated plugin or security issues with your host’s FTP, therefore, keep everything updated.

#5 Slow or Unresponsive

Any website can become a victim of random attacks. With the help of several hacked computers, servers, and fake IPs, a hacker can easily send too many requests on your server while actively trying to break into your website. This kind of activities will turn your website slow, unresponsive and unavailable.

In order to avoid such crucial situations, keep checking server logs to see which IPs are making too many requests and block them. However, there is also a rare possibility of your website getting slow and not hacked. But it is always better to be safe than sorry.

#6 Disfigured Homepage

This is one of the most obvious signs stating that your website is been hacked as it seems to be quite visible on the home page. Most of the hacking attempts do not deface the homepage as they wish to remain hidden for as long as possible. But there are a few hackers who love to announce that your website has been hacked in order to extort money or for any other reason.

#7 Emails start bouncing

One of the worst things that could happen on your site is when your email starts bouncing back. But the question is how this is even possible?

  • A hacker breaks into your WordPress site and installs scripts that send out thousands of emails from your IP address.
  • Your potential customer will report that as spam
  • Several renowned spam lists such as barracudacentral.org and spamhaus.org see these reports and successfully add you to their block lists.

There are times when you may not even know that your site has been hacked. All of a sudden you realize that people aren’t getting your emails.

#8 Bad content is added

After your site has been hacked, your hackers may gain instant access to one of your theme files. In fact, here they can fairly add things onto your site. And trust me, the impact can be pretty annoying and devastating.

  • Sites having a lot of bad code added. Such codes which are invisible to the human eye are quite visible to crawlers such as Google and have the potential to slow down the site ultimately.
  • Sites featuring unwelcome links and content added into the footer on every page.
  • Lastly, those sites which have been completely replaced with new content.
#9 Weird Search Results

Do you find your website showing wrong meta-description or an incorrect title? If so, it surely means that your WordPress website has been hacked. The hacker seems to have exploited a back-door and used it to inject malicious code into your site, which modified the site data in ways that only a search engine would see.

How to fix it?

Being hacked can be quite frustrating and one definitely needs to seek help from a reputable WordPress service provider. First and foremost, you need to change your password but this won’t get rid of your hackers completely. Also, do not forget to restore your site from a backup if you’ve created one and scan for malware.

Last but certainly not the least, never leave your door unlocked for burglars to steal. Clearly, this isn’t everything that you can do to safeguard your WordPress website, but it’s a good grounding at least.

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