Website hacking has emerged as one of the most disturbing issues nowadays, where naive developers do not have any idea about how to stop the cyber attackers from destroying their websites and users databases. But, how does website hacking actually work? Is website hacking directly done by humans? The answer is no. Website trafficking is a result of sophisticated bots which have been developed and written to find out and exploit vulnerabilities lying within a website. These vulnerabilities consist of weak passwords and, outdated plugins and themes. In addition, working on a public network for prolonged time without any security, poor-quality web hosting may make a website prone to hacking.
What happens when a website is hacked? Let’s have a quick look at it!
What happens when a website is hacked?
- Upload of malicious files to the hacked websites
- Modification of website content
- Contamination of WordPress database by injecting codes
- Addition of new users with administrative access
- Removal of access of an authorized user, barring him/her from logging in again
- Addition of bad posts
- Redirection of the sites to malware sites
Not only this, once a website is hacked, you can also lose all your hard earned traffic in no time if the issue is not resolved quickly. Moreover, as per Google’s standards, in order to ensure a malware free hosting of websites, your hacked website can also be blacklisted by Google with a ’30 Day Ban’ restricting you from posting any thing for a duration of 30 days. This can have a very devastating effect on the traffic as well as the individual or company for sure. So, let’s check out some of the preventive methods to secure your websites and keep it hack-free.
a) Using a strong password
Although, it may seem somewhat childish yet it’s true that having a strong and difficult-to-crack password can save you from 80% of the headache of securing your website. This is because, with the advancement in times, hackers have devised various methods and applications which can find out a weak password within fractions of seconds. Hence, one should always keep long, complicated passwords which also has to be updated in regular intervals.
b) Keeping everything up-to date
Be it your WordPress theme, plugin or WordPress core, you must always ensure that they are updated regularly. The reason being that outdated and old plugins, and themes have higher chances to give in to potential threats and website hacking, exposing all your data to the hands of the hackers. Even more, one should not install any plugins before having a proper research on them and comparing their reviews with others. As many plugins have also been reported to be contaminated by malware.
c) Keeping WordPress server clean
A packed WordPress core can also prove to be very hazardous for your website as these unused or replaced files can be targeted by these malicious hackers or nuisance bots to penetrate into your website and hack it. Hence, it is always advisable to delete all the caches, cookies and unused versions of plugins, themes, and WordPress cores to prevent any potential hacking.
d) Installing a WordPress security plugin
Installing an efficient and fully-functional security plugin with good reviews can also help provide better security to your website. This acts as an added layer which regularly tracks malicious activities in your website and notifies in real-time before the case goes out of hand. But, one should be very choosy while selecting a security plugin. An efficient security plugin helps in keeping track of each and every phase involved in the website management, starting from the login protection.
e) Restrict from using public WiFi networks
A public WiFi network is like an attractive bait waiting for the target to be caught. Many instances of hacking have started from public WiFi networks, as when logged in every detail, including the most important credentials, can be visible to other participants in the network. To avoid this, one can also use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to encrypt all details you are using on your computer or website.
f) Installing SSL Certificate on your website
SSL certificates come handy, due to their ability to protect and notify the users in case of any hacking trials. When SSL certificate is installed, the certificate forces each site to run on HTTPS, which is comparatively more secure as it provides online security and safe browsing. Understanding their use has also encouraged various sites and big companies to provide their users with a free SSL-enabled site browsing to boost the trust of their users.
g) Backing up contents in regular intervals
Although some may refer backing up content to be an ‘old-school’ and partially effective idea, in more devastating conditions, it can serve as a boon to the website users. It is always better to have something left rather than nothing.
Although one may argue that WordPress websites can be hacked easily, here the content management platform cannot be the only one to be blamed. As we have already discussed in the above lines, regular inspection of the website, updating WordPress plugins, themes and core can also help the website to run efficiently.