The world of Cyber Security can be a treacherous and damning place, especially if you’re not a certified Network Security professional that knows the ‘ins-and-outs’ of the industry. Everyone that’s ever owned a website or worked on its development will know that the fear of being hacked is real… and there are, unfortunately, enough people who can attest to that. After investing a hefty sum of money into creating your ideal ‘cyber-space’ there’s always a risk that something sinister can happen, and your new investment could amount to nil, so it’s better to be safe than sorry! The common misconception that the general public hold is that security will cost too much, but the reality is that small in-expensive changes can ensure your investment is kept safe. The best way to understand the security threat that hacking poses is to understand why some people go out of their way to cause others grief, so let’s discuss that.
Why do people hack?
The motivation as to why some shady characters choose to engage in these activities is often unknown and vague, but there are still an endless amount of reasons as to why someone would want to don the black hacker’s hat!
Spam – One of the most common forms of attack is simply to find a weak spot in a server or website and hijack the text to display varying forms of spam. This may include listing products that you don’t sell, listing services that you don’t provide or just run of the mill obscenities.
Phishing – Phishing schemes are one of the most iconic forms of illegal data collection that the general public knows about. These strategies aim to collect information such as credit card details, login information and pretty much anything that can be harmful.
Email Lists – Some shady individuals will even hack into users email addresses just to gain a larger audience to send spammy emails to in an effort to sell their service/products.
Just for fun – Some people attempt to hack sites and servers purely for the fun of it. The challenge of breaking into places that they shouldn’t, or gaining information that they weren’t entitled to excite some, and just like an adrenaline junky looking for the next rush, these hackers look for weaknesses to exploit.
WordPress and Hackers:
WordPress has become of the most used and well-known website development tools in the world, boasting not only simple site designs, but also a plethora of varying plugins to be used for just about anything under the sun.
But unfortunately, along with its greatest strength comes its biggest weakness. The plugins that make using WordPress such a delight are often made by individuals who either don’t regularly make patches to update security features, who didn’t make the plugin secure from its inception or made it specifically to trick people into using a purposefully bugged system.
The majority of plugins available are well made and secure (assuming you regularly update), but it only takes one mistake, or one bad add-on to ruin your day! So, to combat this from happening, Talk Digital has compiled a list of self-checks that you can do to prevent any mishaps from occurring:
- Make sure that your WordPress is completely up to date! This may seem like it’s an obvious tip, but many people tend to forget these menial tasks. These updates are often designed with security being one of their main concerns, so don’t slack off when you see the “Update Available” link after you log in!
- Make sure that all your passwords and usernames are different, unique and hard to guess. Having your WordPress backend protected with ‘easy to guess’ credentials is the equivalent of inviting hackers into your private domain. Have a variety of different passwords and usernames securing your personal domains and try to change them a couple of times every year.
- Cut down on the number of plugins that you’re using. If you only need 3 or 4 plugins for your site to run effectively, but you currently have 6 or 7, then you might want to consider scaling your plugin operation down a little bit! The higher the number of plugins you have, the higher your chances of having something unfortunate happen! If you do insist on having the full suite of plugins and themes, then make sure that you keep updating all of them on a regular basis.
- Change the URL that gets you into the backend! Anyone that has some form of malicious intent will easily guess your login URL if you haven’t made it unique, or changed it. Having something that’s unique to either yourself, your company or your site is ideal, so be creative!
- Getting an SSL certificate definitely won’t hurt! Not only does the HTTPS conversion ensure a more secure transfer of information from the browser to the server, it also doubles as a nice way to boost your google rankings and makes your web-page more trustworthy.
These tips are super easy to implement and will take almost no time at all if done correctly. It’s important to remember that these steps only cover the bare minimum and won’t provide you with complete protection. If you’d like proper professional security implementation or just want some information on how to secure your site the professional way, then please contact us at 1800 34 4433 or use our contact form.
How to tell if you’ve been compromised?
After reading this heading you may think to yourself that it’s obvious to tell, but unfortunately, this is often not the case. Hackers often go through heroic efforts to make their presence unknown, meaning that there are a great many people out there that are hacked, but they don’t even know it yet. If you don’t know what to look out for it can be difficult to spot the warning signs, so how do you tell?
Google will let you know!
In some cases, Google can put its immensely complex algorithms and bots to use and detect suspicious activity on a website. If something fishy is detected, they will promptly insert “This site may be hacked” underneath a websites search result.
You may also land on this page when you try and enter your site, meaning that either malware or phishing attacks have been detected:
Check if your traffic has spiked:
Seeing massive increases in site traffic (that are out of the ordinary) can often lead to the conclusion that the site has been compromised. These spikes in traffic are usually caused by ‘spamvertising’, where the perpetrator uses your site to redirect users to whatever it is that they want users to see. Using Google Analytics, you can monitor and record the traffic that your site receives.
Look for any unauthorised website changes:
These ‘unauthorised’ changes can be anything from small text changes, all the way to the addition of new pages and the deletion of others. If you’re the sole owner/editor of the site and you start to notice any differences, minor or major, it may be worth your time to investigate further.
Securing your website can seem like a super daunting task to those who aren’t familiar with the I.T world, but it shouldn’t be a deterrent! It’s now easier to have a secure system than it’s been ever before, so take advantage of whatever you can, and keep your site for yourself!
We’ve covered why people are running hacking operations, how they may go about executing these attacks and how you can effectively prevent them. Hopefully, you have been able to learn something about the internet industry that you haven’t already heard before, and we hope that your sites stay safe and secure!
If you have any questions or need professional WordPress security services, then Talk Digital is always here to help! Contact us through email for a speedy response here.
Talk Digital doesn’t only deal in WordPress based security, we also offer professionally done Branding, Web Design and SEO Optimisation. If your website is in need of a professional touch, don’t hesitate to call us through at 1800 34 4433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.