You may think that because you use WordPress, the most popular content management system to date, that your website is impenetrable. Especially because the WordPress core is so secure.
Well, even though WordPress is built on clean and solid code, the truth is any website, no matter how well protected, is vulnerable to attack. In fact, there are websites such as Website Hacked that make an effort to spread awareness that websites of all sizes and kinds can be hacked at any moment.
Making matter worse, hackers are not just after your user’s personal and financial information. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons why your website may become the next target.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why hackers are after your website so you can take a proactive approach to protecting your website, rather than having to be on the defensive once something bad has happened.
Bandwidth is expensive, especially if you have a highly trafficked website. Just ask anyone paying their dues each month to a high quality web host that offers plenty of bandwidth to accommodate site traffic.
Hackers sneaking into your WordPress website that are after your site’s bandwidth are typically using it to power their own site’s traffic. However, there are also those that steal your bandwidth and resell it for a profit.
A more subtle way of hacking into your website is by adding links to your site, sometimes without you even knowing it, that link back to the hacker’s own website.
The reason this works is because search engines crawling your website, and all the other websites containing the hacker’s links, see these links as a positive thing. That’s because web crawlers assume these links are valid and a measure of authority and search engines like Google reward the hacker’s website with higher search engines as a result.
3. To Bring You Down
Hackers can launch what are known as DDoS attacks in an effort to bring tons of websites down. This is especially true when you utilize shared hosting services. That’s because your site’s data, and hundreds or even thousands, of other people’s website data is being stored on a single server.
When a DDoS attack is launched, such as the huge attack on BBC in 2016, a botnet is released that overwhelms the entire system with enormous site traffic. As a result, the server crashes, along with every website that is hosted on that server.
This is an effective way of simply disrupting the system. It is also useful to hackers that want to shut down the competition for a period of time and reap their site traffic. After all, it is well-known that even the smallest amount of downtime can result in a huge loss in revenue and loyal customers because of the poor user experience.
In addition, hackers launch DDoS attacks and bring an entire system down to create a distraction of sorts. This way, while a hosting companies scrambles to secure the system and get things back up and running, the hackers can launch a side attack on other websites stealing data or injecting malware.
4. Information Leakage
Some hackers use their ability to break into websites to steal sensitive information and spread it to the general public. For instance, hacking into a competitor’s website and releasing their company secrets can be enough to bring an entire company down.
In addition, hackers might steal customer information and expose it to show how vulnerable that particular company’s system is.
Think about it. Remember the Ashley Madison scandal and how many people were affected by that catastrophe?
Lastly, government websites are often targeted by hackers hoping to create issues within a political campaign or to expose what the government might be hiding from the public.
5. Unauthorized Code Injections
Sometimes hackers will inject your website with malicious code just to take over the site for their own personal use. In fact, if an experienced hacker places the right type of code onto your website, your website may become a complete zombie.
If this happens, your website may be at the mercy of the hacker, who can then perform all sorts of other malicious activity, while remaining untraceable. This is not good for your own reputation and may even lead to your site being blacklisted by the likes of Google.
Additionally, torrents, malware, stolen information, and illegal content is often stored on the websites of others to prevent legal repercussions. Hackers will break into websites, and their servers, to store large amounts of information unnoticed by the website owners. In fact, the only thing a website owner might notice is a spike in bandwidth usage, which is usually attributed to site traffic.
Hackers like the shock value their attacks bring. Sometimes it can be for political reasons, such as defacing an opposing candidate’s website, or sometimes it is just for pure fun. But one thing is true, the bigger the site, the more excitement there is.
Website defacement refers to any unauthorized changes being made to an entire website or even just single web pages. This may involve injecting code in order to add images, popups, or even text to webpages where these things did not previously exist.
These types of changes are often meant to embarrass a website owner or harm the user experience and lower the amount of traffic the website sees on a daily basis.
More serious efforts of website vandalism include the insertion of malicious code onto a website not only to ruin the visual design of the site itself, but open the site up to more serious viral attacks in which the hacker can then begin to take full control of the site.
As you can see, there are several reasons why hackers will target your WordPress website. And, because of the false sense of security so many WordPress users have about the WordPress core and their security plugins, it is easy to see why hackers would want to take advantage of these weaknesses.
As a WordPress user it is important you always stay on top of website security. And to help you with that, you can always contact us today to see how we can help keep your site more secure than ever so hackers don’t become your problem.