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Why Is WordPress Targeted By Hackers?

Having your WordPress site hacked is one of the biggest nightmares for any website owner. In one flip, hackers can easily shut down your website.

That is when your traffic begins plummeting and all the energy, effort, time and money you put into your site gets on the brink of being lost entirely.

Finding and fixing the problem is hard work, however, it’s not as hard as winning back your audience’s trust. You also have the added baggage of getting your site off spam blacklists.

While getting hacked is never pleasant, it is much more common than you would want to think.

Vulnerabilities in WordPress core are responsible for less than 10% of all WordPress hacks. Most of those are from out-of-date WordPress installs.

The number of hacks that happen on actual security holes in up-to-date versions in WordPress core account for a tiny percentage of all hacks.

Is WordPress secure?

First, it is not just WordPress. All websites on the internet are vulnerable to hacking attempts. The reason why WordPress sites are a common target is their sheer popularity in terms of building websites.

It powers over 31% of all websites accounting for hundreds of millions of websites across the globe. This immense popularity gives hackers an easy way to find websites that are less secure so that they can exploit them.

Hackers have a different kind of motive when hacking a website. Some are beginners who are just learning to exploit less secure sites.

Some hackers have malicious intents like distributing malware by using a site to attack other websites or spamming the internet.

Because of its popularity, WordPress is a prime platform of the target by hackers and other malicious users. A common question we encounter on a daily basis is “Why would anyone want to gain access to my website?

I have no data of value to them. Whilst this is definitely an understandable statement, it is the wrong mentality to approach the web with.

An unfortunate statistic is that the internet is severely lacking well-informed users with roughly 25% of users globally able to complete medium-to-high difficulty tasks. This leaves a worrying amount of users open to abuse from the minority of technically proficient users.

Why are websites hacked?

We have explored some of the ways a website can be hacked but the question of why it can be hacked still remains largely unanswered.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why a malicious user would target your website. These reasons range from pure boredom to spreading viruses and illegal media all over the internet.
For pure boredom, while it’s a genuine cause, it’s quite straightforward. That said, let’s look at a more complicated scenario: advertising.

There have been many ways to fall victim to ad injection attacks – as they are commonly referred to. The concept is simple: you distribute your often malicious adverts on a genuine site to drive more traffic to your own.

This can take the form of simply displaying the adverts on the site or in extreme cases, redirect all traffic to the hacker’s site. These adverts contain malicious code that leads to the hacker gaining control over a user’s machine or sensitive data.

Another common cause of hacking one’s website could be to simply deface it as part of hacktivism. The causes of this type of attack are as varying as the groups who carry them out. There have been plenty of reports of “anonymous” hackers defacing websites of people they do not agree with and even ISIS deploys the same technique.

What to do when hackers gain entry to your website

The question then becomes “what should you do if your WordPress site is hacked into?” Before I answer that question, let’s look at the factors that make your site vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting leaves your site exposed to malicious hackers. If someone hacks into a site on the shared host they can gain access to other sites on that server.

Plugins and Themes from Shady Sources

Before you install a plugin to your site find out who the developers are. Always use themes and plugins from reputable sources and make sure to check their reviews.

If possible, avoid free plugins and choose those plugins with a high number of downloads. These plugins are more likely to be updated regularly.

Weak Passwords

Weak passwords make it extremely easy for hackers to gain access to your site. Using them is more like asking to get your WordPress site hacked.

When creating your password make it as complicated as possible. Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, characters and symbols.

Outdated WordPress plugins and themes

The various plugins that you use to increase the functionality of your site come with security flaws. The updated versions of these programs have added features to seal these loopholes as soon as they are discovered by the developers. Running outdated programs on your site exposes you to these vulnerabilities.

What happens If hackers gain entry to your site?

The tips mentioned are more useful only if your site has not been hacked into. If unfortunately, a hacker gets into your site, then the following steps will help you regain control and access to your site.

Scan your computer

Sometimes hackers gain access to your website through your computer. To counter this, install antivirus software and scan your computer. If you already have an antivirus update, then run the scan.

Also, update your operating system and programs to ensure they are safe. If the hack originated from your computer, then these measures reduce the possibilities of another hack.

Hire a professional

If you are an unfortunate victim of some malicious hackers, regaining access to your site is the most important thing.

Most internet users do not know the technical details when it comes to servers, codes and the WordPress core. Others are simply not confident enough to clean up the compromised site.

Hiring the services of a WordPress support company professional like WPFixs gives you the peace of mind to know that someone qualified is working on your site.

Most of these professionals have experience with these kinds of situations and are in a position to get you back on your site within a short period of time.

Such a person will also clean up your site and remove any compromised files that the hackers may have added. Hiring a professional also saves you a lot of time and stress.