What Does A Hacker See In Your Website?

If you own a small business website, you may wonder why on Earth a hacker would bother to attack your WordPress site.  Surely larger e-commerce stores or sites that contain juicy or sensitive data would be far more worthwhile? 

Unfortunately, this most definitely isn’t the case.  Even though a site may not contain valuable information, hackers can make money and gain exposure from even the smallest site, in numerous other ways.

Forgetting to make your website’s security a priority, or not making it an immediate concern is human nature, and it is natural to hope that your website won’t be targeted.  However, by not putting precautions in place you are putting your business at risk.  If your site is hacked, your website’s ranking will be affected, and you subsequently lose clients.

In the event that your site is hacked, don’t panic you can install one of the following malware removal plugins  that will help you scan and repair your application.

 

How do attacks occur?

WordPress Sites can fall foul to targeted and non-targeted hacks.  Regardless of the type of attack that you are dealing with, it is important to know that the strategies used by hackers are continually evolving. 

Non-targeted attacks are generic and not aimed at one particular site.  Automated tools are used to send HTTP requests to a range of IP addresses to discover vulnerabilities such as specific versions of plugins, themes or even WordPress itself.  Once a weakness is found, the hacker can then launch an attack.

Targeted attacks are deliberately targeted towards a certain website or blog and can be even more dangerous than a non-targeted hack.  These types of attacks can consist of someone wanting to deface your site or perhaps by activists who want to advertise their beliefs.

When it comes to websites with less content, there are two core reasons why they are easier to break in to.  Access control involves issues with weak passwords and bad login practices, making it easier for hackers to figure out passwords by using brute force attacks.  Software vulnerabilities are due to outdated software that hasn’t had all the necessary security patches, which in turn makes them an easy target for automated attacks.

 

Why do attacks occur?

Motives can be summed up in two words - money and exposure.  Let’s explore this in more detail below:-

 

Defacement

More renowned websites tend to fall victim to this type of hack and the most popular reason to deface a website is to replace an existing site’s content.    There are various reasons why this might happen; hackers display ‘bragging rights’ in an attempt to become more famous, or extremist groups may use your site to advertise their own radical views.  Either way, if anyone visited your site, it would be extremely obvious that your site had been violated.

 

Phishing pages

The main aim of a phishing site is to trick a person into providing sensitive data.  This can be achieved by impersonating a well known web page, such as a bank or online shop.  By doing so, a hacker can steal a person’s identity or break into significant online accounts.

 

SEO

SEO spam can be used to increase search engine rankings and this is one of the most common ways that smaller sites can be affected.  During the attack, web content is replaced with spam links in order to improve the standing of a hacker’s link building scheme.  Thousands of pages with keywords and links can be added during the hack as well.  This ultimately improves the

SEO ranking for the hacker by diverting traffic away from trustworthy sites toward their more disreputable pages.

 

Email Spam

If a site is compromised, it can be utilized to send spam email to encourage readers to visit malicious websites.  Hackers benefit from this by using your server for free, and they get to use your IP address and domain with the added bonus of ruining your name at the same time.

 

Distribute Malware

By installing malware via a vulnerability on your site, a hacker can then install the same malware on your visitor’s computers, which obviously won’t improve your client relationships.  Google will also flag your site via their safe browsing program, which means that traffic to your site will significantly decrease.  This type of attack allows the attacker to gain direct access to steal sensitive data.

 

Malicious Redirects

If your site has been hacked, there is a possibility that attackers have inserted code to redirect your website to a disreputable site to steal your traffic, which can really damage your website’s reputation.  The site visitor doesn’t even have to click on a link for the redirect to work, they are simply taken straight there.

More often than not only some URL requests are redirected making it harder to detect the source of the hacker.

 

Ransom

Ransomware is a malevolent type of software that stops you from getting into your site.  In order to regain access, a sum of money is demanded from the hacker.  If you don’t pay the ransom, then you are threatened with file deletion within a certain amount of time.  Sometimes types of ransomware are fake, but it may not be wise to take a gamble.

Hackers can obviously gain a profit from this type of attack.  Hopefully, you have been savvy enough to take regular site backups you can do a restore instead, but if you haven’t you may need to pay up.

 

Conclusion

If you were under the impression that it is unlikely your WordPress site would be hacked, then we hope this article has helped to convince you otherwise.

Even though it is human nature to look on the positive side, there are people out there who want to take advantage of your site, regardless of the amount of traffic that you receive, or how many pages it consists of. By implementing a few security measures, you will be in a far better position to be able to avoid any potential attacks in the future.