Why WordPress Security Matters For All – Big & Small!
Should your WordPress website ever get hacked, you will quickly find out the hard way that fixing it can be a real nightmare. Depending on the kind of hack, just logging in can be a problem as your username and password have been removed! It’s frustrating and to add insult to injury, even after you’ve spent time and money removing the malware, you might find that your website’s traffic and search engine positioning has hit the floor!
So you will need to act fast to minimise the negative impact upon your business and reputation and regain control of your website immediately. But you may ask yourself, why did I get hacked in the first place? Of what value is my humble website to any hacker?
Why Would My Website Get Hacked – What’s in it for the hacker?
Website hacking is very profitable and it’s big business, and it’s growing! Hackers need to find clean reputable websites all the time and with over 30,000 websites been hacked on a daily basis – they’re really good at it too! So what’s in it for the hacker?
Once the hackers gets control of your website, they can place as many back-links as they like to as many websites as they like. These are very valuable, when you consider the number of websites looking for quality back-links. You can charge anywhere from $10 for 1,000 back-links to $350 for 4 high quality back-links. By hijacking websites of reputation and integrity, the hacker can charge even more! Without keeping an eye on your analytics, this particular kind of attack may not even come to the attention of the website owner for some time. However, Google will spot it immediately!
2. Infecting Your Visitors
Some malware is written with the intent of infecting all visitors to a particular website. So all your efforts to drive targeted traffic to your business could be completely wasted if you are blocked by Google! Equally, your existing customers who may need to visit your website for your latest special offer, or buy your products/services via online sales will be turned away when they see this sign!
3. Spam Emails:
Equally, hackers may decide to launch an email campaign using your website’s mail address. Any comeback from angry recipients will be to you. But the worse part of it is, when people don’t contact you but believe that it was you who sent out the emails – damaging your reputation along the way. Mass mailing without regard to Privacy Laws or Data Protection Acts (European/UK) or within the limits of your bandwidth will certainly land you in hot water and will cost you!
4. Identity Theft:
Again using an innocent website’s email address, hackers can target your local area/business sector and send out spoof emails with attachments that contain a Trojan. Unfortunately for the victim, these emails have a very good chance of being opened as they believe it’s from a trusted source – YOU. Once opened by the unsuspecting victim, the damage can be extensive. The malware can crawl their computer giving the hacker access to: their passwords, bank account details, and very importantly – their address book. Thus the virus lives on to infect thousands of others in this way.
5. Personal Data
If your website is infected, you risk allowing the virus safe passage onto your own computer. Every time you login to upload posts, images etc. or update plugins and themes you open the doorway for any malware to travel over to your computer and the network if you are connected to more than one machine. This allows any hacker complete access to all of your personal data and company files.
It goes without saying that there are lots of ways to protect your website and your computer from infections. This post is not intended to deal with security measures that you can undertake, but to inform you that every website is a target for attack – no matter how small!