It is so frustrating to learn that your WordPress account is hacked. Before falling into great despair, let it be known that it is not only WordPress that is vulnerable to hackers. All websites can be hacked but WordPress is the most popular website builder that is why it is more prone to get targeted.
Because it is very popular, it easier for hackers to find websites that are not too keen on their WordPress security. Even if you have placed a strict WordPress security or has a variety of tools for WordPress virus removal, those who have a malicious intent will find a way to get into your website’s code.
Hacking in a Nutshell
Hacking is simply an unauthorized access to the website server. People often use the term to describe a situation wherein the website is inappropriately interfered with. There are many types of hacking and they all put the owner at risk.
A Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack is when a script is injected on the page for specific users. This usually happens when you use a shared public WiFi connection. Another type of attack is called a Denial of Service (DOS) wherein the site is overloaded with a lot of requests until it crashes the server. There are also random data queries with the intent of adding, removing, or stealing the site content. In most instances, hackers will want to gain full admin access so they can lock the owner out.
In case that you are in the worst-case scenario, will you be able to recover WordPress site back? How will you know that someone has indeed gained access to your WordPress site?
7 Signs You Have Been Hacked
Here are 7 signs that will warn you whenever you suspect that your WordPress security has been compromised.
1. Traffic Drops Abruptly
If you will check on your Google Analytics reports, you can see a pattern in your website traffic. If you notice that it is dropping suddenly, then it could mean that your WordPress security has been successfully attacked.
Malwares and trojans are plenty and they can hijack your traffic by redirecting the site into spammy websites. Logged in users usually do not get redirected so it is not too obvious at first. WordPress owners will start noticing this if they check by pulling up the site as another user.
Google also have a safe browsing tool that warns users about your site. Once your website has malware or if it has been suspected for phishing, then Google can automatically blacklist you. You may check your WordPress security status by using the Google’s safe browsing tool and see the safety report.
Related Post: How to Remove Google Blacklist Warning
2. A Defaced Homepage
An obvious sign that you desperately need a potent WordPress virus removal is a defaced homepage. This is a clear and visible announcement that your website has been hacked. There are hackers who prefer to remain unnoticed but there are also those who would like to brag by replacing the homepage with a message. Aside from causing stress to the owner, they also use this as a way to extort money. This is why paying good attention to WordPress security is really essential if you do not want to become victimized by this type of hackers.
3. Suspicious User Accounts
It is important to have a spam registration protection if you are having some sort of a user registration on your site. Spam user accounts are very common but you cannot just simply delete them.
If you think you didn’t allow user registration but you have it anyway, then you need to recover WordPress site fast. These suspicious accounts are usually registered as an administrator that is why it will be difficult to delete them by just using the WordPress admin area.
Related Post: 10 Simple Tricks to Eliminate Spam User Registration
4. A Slow and Unresponsive Site
There are a lot of random denial of service attacks. Any website can be victims, especially WordPress sites. There are hackers all over the world who will use several computers that have fake ip addresses. What they do is send out many requests to your server or actively try to break into your site.
With both activities attacking the server, your website will slow down and even go unresponsive. When it is overwhelmed, it will go down and become unavailable. To make sure that your site is not hacked and just needs a little boost, you may check on the server logs and look for suspicious ips. Those ips with too many requests may be blocked so they will not slow down the site anymore.
5. Suspicious Server Logs Activities
Server logs serve as a record of all errors that are happening on the server and in your internal traffic. They are plain text files that are kept in the web server. You can check the cPanel server log files by logging in to your cPanel dashboard. Open up statistics and you will have several choices, including Error Logs.
In the Error Logs, you will see a pattern that can help give an explanation as to what happens when a WordPress site is experiencing an attack. This is also a way for you to see the different ip addresses that were used by hackers when they tried to get entry to your site. You can block these suspicious ip addresses so they cannot access the site anymore.
6. Popup Ads on the Website
Popup ads are advertisements that suddenly shows up, or pop up, on the screen whenever you are browsing some sites. Many users hate this kind of advertising because they are annoying and they cover some areas of the content that they are reading. Most of those who see pop-up ads often get alarmed and close the website at once. This will not only hurt your traffic but it also takes away the opportunity for the users to read your content. If you are using your site for business, then you will lose a lot because of these popup ads.
If your WordPress security is lacking, hackers will hijack your site by adding spam ads that redirects to illegal website. Your traffic will be compromised as well as they usually just redirect without any other prompt from the user. Those who are accessing the website from search engines are the ones who usually get them. Logged in visitors do not see these popups so it can take some time to discover these illegal ads.
There are also what you call as pop under ads. These are ads that open in new windows so they remain unnoticeable even to the user.
7. Bad Links on Your Site
Data injection is a common method of compromising WordPress security. What hackers do is that they create a backdoor on your site. This can be done on unsafe plugins and themes downloads. They usually come as freebies from a supposedly safe website. Once they have a way to get into your site, they can have access and will be able to modify the files and the database.
Some hackers will add links that redirect to spammy websites. You may find these links at the footer or anywhere on your site. Even if you have deleted the link, they can still come back if you will not fix the problem on the backdoor or unless you get clean add-ons for your site.
A managed WordPress hosting site usually don’t get these bad links because they are strict in having clean codes for their plugins and themes. It is for this reason that a managed WordPress hosting is recommended if you are not too familiar with how you can protect your site.
The faster you see the signs and notice some changes in how your site runs, the quicker you will know that your site has been breached. This will give you plenty of time to sort things out before everything completely gets out of hand. More damage will be done on the site if the infection is not removed or repaired in time.
How to Secure and Fix a Hacked WordPress Site
It can be difficult to clean up a hacked WordPress site. It is recommended that you let experts to handle the cleaning up process as there may be a need to configure the codes, and all other methods that are not familiar to common users.
WordPress security is vital specially if you have user information that contains sensitive data on your site. Hacking attempts give hackers an opportunity to gain something out of a susceptible website. Most WordPress sites are hacked because the user has a poor web hosting security, a weak password, or is using an infected theme or plugin.
Simple hacking attacks can be avoided if you have basic site security measures installed such as enabling two-factor authentication, using SSL or Secure Socket Layers, and getting a trusted partner in managing and securing your site.
After understanding about the signs that your WordPress security has been compromised, you should have the best practices to protect your site. Check out Airflour WordPress solutions for your advanced WordPress security needs.