Many business owners are reaching out to us to better understand their WordPress website’s security vulnerabilities. In this article, I we will discuss why hackers and bots want to gain access to your WordPress website, and what they will do once inside.
Because of the popularity and ease of use, WordPress is used by about 455 Million websites worldwide, that’s 35% of all websites! Because WordPress is extremely popular, hackers target known vulnerabilities and create tools to hack millions of sites, including yours! Approximately, 70% of all WordPress sites are vulnerable to attacks, understanding why this is in crucial to keeping your website safe and online business running.
Most business owners don’t understand why someone would want to hack their site, and even some say they don’t care, because even if a hacker were to get in, there is nothing of value (credit card numbers, password lists, etc.) stored on their site anyway, right?
This of course is a misconception, here are a few reasons why a hacker would want to gain access into your WordPress site:
1) For the Notoriety
If you have a person trying to hack in, they may do it just for notoriety. Some people play cross word puzzles when they are board, other’s hack websites. You’ll really know you were hacked by this type of hacker, because when you open your website, instead of seeing your business, you may see an image with a “Congratulations, you’ve Been Hacked By…” message.
The motive here could be anything from a person being bored, to an intentional attack by a disgruntled customer. Also, just reverting your site back to its original state may not remedy the hack, the hacker may have included other incognito data on your site, that needs to be removed.
2) Linking From Your Site to Theirs (Backlinking)
This is a popular reason why hackers and bots alike are trying to get into your website. Google, Bing, and other search engines rank websites higher if other websites link back to your site. For example, if nasa.gov, a website that receives between 20 to 40 Million visitors a month and has a well know reputation for providing factual information, links to your blog as a factual authority, search engines may rank your site much higher when returning search results for certain keywords.
Also, if a hacker wrote a program that can hack millions of WordPress websites and have them all link back to a single site, that can translate into thousands of dollars worth of SEO rankings. Backlinks may be hidden within your site and may not be obvious to you.
3) Malware Software
This is also a less conspicuous type of hack where the hacker uploads software into your website that uses the resources of your server (i.e. processing power) to do any sort of malice deed. This type of hack can be completely invisible, and the functionality could be completely unknown, even after the fact.
One of the symptoms of this could be your website lags and doesn’t load very quickly. In the back end, the malware on your server can be doing anything from sending out emails from your server, to documenting and sending sensitive information (like your users’ usernames and passwords) to the hacker, to attacking other websites. This type of hack is extremely dangerous because it can be undetected on your site for months or even years!
How can you protect your website from the bots and hackers? In my next article, I will discuss how you can protect your website and your online business.
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