Many WordPress sites that have been hacked will go undetected by the owner. This is because hackers are trying to avoid detection to pursue their purposes, like installing malware, collecting personal information and spreading the malware/infection to other users and servers. By the time you’ve become aware that your WordPress site has been hacked, it will be too late—all the harm has been done. Most users become aware that their site has been hacked when they are trying to access their site and their browser is alerting them that the site contains malware. In this article, I will show you how to detect early signs that your site has been hacked.
Your Browser Alerts You Of The Hack
Usually, you’ll become aware that your site has been hacked when you, or some of your visitors, try to access the site and they get one of the following messages:
A phishing attack is a form of fraud in which the attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in an email, IM or other communication channels. A malware is defined as a malicious program that can execute itself and spreads by infecting other programs or files.
Google Search Results Flag Your Website
When you Google search your site, you can get the following message of your site if it has been hacked:
Google removes hacked sites from search results, but sometimes the site is still left on the search results with a flagged message that says “This site may be hacked” or “This site may harm your computer”. When you click on one of the websites using your Chrome browser, if you’re using another browser then it usually doesn’t display a warning. These flagged messages usually mean that Google has detected malware on the site and if you click on the site you are doing so at your own risk.
Your Website disappears
When a website is hacked, a hacker can get in the into the files and delete your whole site. Sometimes, they’ll even delete every site that’s hosted on the same server. Performing regular backups of your site can help you restore your site if your files are deleted.
Your Website Is Suddenly Slow Or Crashes
Your site suddenly becoming slow, can happen for many reasons. But if a hacker got into your site, they can add various bad codes that it ends up slowing down your site or start crashing. Another reason could be that your site was added to a network of sites or a spam email network where traffic is sent to the site and then re-directed.
Unusual Activity in Traffic and Bandwidth Usage
If you notice that there’s a sudden increase or decrease of your website traffic, these could be signals that your site has been hacked. Bandwidth usage is the amount of data transmitted and received by a particular computer or user. The reason for the bandwidth going up could be that malicious scripts were added to your server that sends out thousands of emails, adding to your bandwidth usage. Unwanted content and large files added to your site by the hackers also contributes to the large bandwidth usage.
Emails Start Bouncing Back
You might start to notice that people are not receiving your emails or they start to bounce back. Hackers hack into your site and install scripts to start sending out thousands of emails. People report your emails as spam and your email gets added to a block list. Even emails that you send yourself, legitimate emails will not be received, marked as spam, or bounced back.
How To Secure Your WordPress Site?
Couple months ago I wrote about how to secure your WordPress. As you may know by now WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms around. Which means it is a very vulnerable target for hackers and spammers. There are many things that can make your WordPress site vulnerable: plugins, themes, and WordPress core. I will encourage you to read more about it and how to secure your site here.