A significant number of websites across the web are built on WordPress. From personal blogs to organizational portals to eCommerce websites, WordPress remains a popular choice. But it also makes the web development framework a common target of ransomware attackers.
Most commercial websites built on WordPress are owned by small and medium businesses. They are also the most frequent target business websites due to the lack of proper security measures. Evidently small and medium businesses often fail to protect their sites. Seeking advice from a reliable WordPress development company dramatically reduce the risks of an attack. However, that’s often not the case.
This blog post aims to help small and medium businesses, among other website owners, to effectively prevent and manage ransomware attacks on WordPress sites.
What Are the Signs of a Hacked Website?
Before you take action to deal with ransomware attacks or even to prevent them, you must know how the enemy looks like. That means the common signs of compromised websites.
1. Unable to login
This is one of the most common signs of a hacked website. If you are unable to log in despite entering the correct credentials, there formidable reasons to be alert. When an attacker takes control of your website, the first thing they do is deleting admin accounts. This stops you from accessing your website as an admin.
2. Slow or unresponsive websites
A sudden decline in the speed or responsiveness of your website should cause serious concerns. Once a hacker has access to your website, they use the website to carry out malicious activities. These could include sending spam emails and displaying ads. Activities like these substantially increase the load on your website and reduce speed.
3. Unknown user account on the site
Most website owners and admins don’t regularly check the list of user accounts on the site’s dashboard. This gives hackers a chance to go undetected, sometimes for a long time. After breaking into your website, hackers create new user accounts. It lets them access the site from multiple accounts.
4. Redirected to another link/website
Hacked websites are redirected to other sites in many instances. This may lead to a significant dip in traffic without you noticing it. In this type of attack, the hacker steals your web traffic by redirecting web pages to a malicious address. Redirections may end up with different adverse results, including sharing sensitive information with the attackers.
5. Antivirus alerts about websites
Many antivirus software can detect malicious websites efficiently. If you are using a reliable antivirus, trust it when it raises red flags about websites. Hacked websites could lure visitors to download malware onto your computer.
The Most Common Types of Attacks on WordPress Websites
Hackers targeting WordPress websites with ransomware are constantly evolving their techniques. However, some attacks remain starkly common. Here’s a list of common types of ransomware attacks.
- Vulnerable Themes & Plugins
Plugins and themes that you use on your WordPress website possess great security threats if they are not updated regularly. WordPress developers always look for vulnerabilities. They release a security patch in an update as soon as they find any vulnerability. Updated themes and plugins mean your site is free from the common threats related to compromised themes and plugins. Schedule dedicated time for checking all the updates so you don’t miss any. Actions like WordPress theme customization and theme installation entail security risks if not done properly.
- Pirated Themes & Add-ons
WordPress offers a vast range of freely available themes and plugins. Some themes and plugins, however, create significant security risks. Such themes are usually not from an authentic developer. Pirated themes and plugins offer you free features and functionalities available only in premium themes. However, the pirated versions also come with significant security risks. Pirated software applications are overwhelmingly common sources of malware.
- Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks are associated with your website login page. The login page gives you access to your WordPress admin dashboard to manage the website. A shocking number of website owners use passwords that are common and easy to guess. Attackers use such passwords to get access to admin rights and breaking into websites. If you are not sure how to make your website’s login process, hire WordPress developers from a trusted vendor. Brute force attacks are common and greatly damaging.
- SQL Injection
SQL injection is one of the oldest hacking tricks. Attackers inject SQL queries to get access to the database of your website. If the hacker can break into your website, they manipulate the MySQL database. Then the attacker gets access to your admin page.
- Data Theft & Phishing
There is a staggeringly diverse kind of visitors to your website. Some simply explore your products or services, or just the overall website. Others might just read a blog and leave. But attackers on a look for malicious activities are different. They are always searching for ways to steal data from your site. They may break into your site and use identity theft tricks to redirect customers using ways like emails. Data theft is a big security concern for small businesses and large companies alike. This is a major security problem across industries and organizations.
Now that we have learned about the most common types of malware attack risks facing WordPress sites, let’s discuss ways to prevent them. Here are some effective steps you can take to keep your website away from malware attacks.
How to Protect Your Website from Malware Attacks
1. Regularly update WordPress
This seems obvious. But it’s the most fundamental and effective step to protect your website from attacks. Updates not only provide new features but also come with an array of security patches. Outdated WordPress versions attract all kinds of malware attackers.
2. Clean your website using a security plugin
You need to keep your website clean to keep it away from attacks.
Choosing the right security plugin for WordPress would make your task much easier. It solves the difficulties of finding malware by effectively cleaning the site. Don’t forget to take a backup before scanning the site.
3. Remove vulnerabilities through careful measures
Some vulnerabilities may remain on your site even after cleaning. Take all security measures like updating themes and plugins and avoiding pirated add-ons. Periodically change passwords. Use password generators if you are reluctant to create a unique password for every account.
4. Use trusted themes & plugins only
Never install pirated themes and plugins on your website. Pirated software applications offer attractive premium features for free. But you must always avoid them. Installing themes and plugins from authentic developers significantly reduce your risks of encountering a malware attack.
5. Remove inactive themes and plugins
The themes and plugins you no longer or use very rarely must go. They are sources of security vulnerabilities. Website owners often install themes and forget about them. Website security best practices require you to uninstall all the unnecessary and inactive themes.
Dealing with a hacked website is difficult. Even preventing all kinds of malware is not easy. But with careful measures and awareness, you can both avoid and manage vulnerabilities. At WordPress India, a WordPress development company, we help clients to avoid every kind of security risks. We do not just build websites with great features, but also incorporate robust security.
Q. How do malware attacks occur?
Malware infection occurs when malware, or malicious software, breaks into your website or computer. Malware is a type of software created with the intent of stealing private information or spying on a computer without the consent of the user.
Q. What is the best protection against a brute force attack?
Lockout accounts after a specific number of incorrect login attempts. This is the most effective way to prevent brute-force attacks. Account lockouts can last a specific duration, or the accounts could remain locked until you manually them.
Q. How much does it cost to develop a WordPress website?
The costs of developing a WordPress website vary widely. It depends mainly on your requirements. If you need a simple site with basic features, costs are comparatively lower.