WordPress powers more than one-third of the websites on the internet. And this is why it is easy pickings for hackers; since WordPress sites are more, the hacking will also be in proportion with it. There are some serious consequences of disregarding an attack. These are the repercussions that your business might face if your website gets hacked.
- Adversely affect the reputation of your business.
- Load time is very slow on all devices, or it could even crash.
- Your sales could get a hit.
- You may be liable for the damages that any third party websites or customers might suffer from (due to a malware that is installed on your site).
- Hackers may gain access to sensitive data, either your business info or particulars of your customers and clients.
- Destroy any saved data that might jeopardise your business.
- Repairing and cleaning your website is a time consuming and costly affair.
This is not a complete list by any means, but it should be enough for any website owner to take necessary precautions from being attacked. Let’s discuss the reasons why your WordPress site is vulnerable to hacking, and how you can prevent it from happening.
1. A Web Host that is Susceptible to Attacks
WordPress websites (like any other website) are hosted on a server or a web host. A good web host is costlier since it comes with a bunch of benefits, which includes security. Most websites are hosted on a shared hosting plan – which is inexpensive but involves sharing of resources with other websites. This leaves your website susceptible to an attack.
Solution: Select a trustworthy server when you launch your website. If you are already on a shared plan, check if your server offers a Virtual Private Server
2. Weak Passwords
Weak passwords are the bane for every accounts’ security, and a well-executed brute force attack can easily break it. Unfortunately, several people still use predictable passwords such as ‘123456’, or the all-time classic ‘password’. If an admin has used a weak password, it allows hackers easy access, and thereby the means of causing the most injury.
Solution: Change the admin password immediately. Alternatively, you could also use a plug in to reset all the passwords.
3. Out of Date Version of WordPress
WordPress sends out updates regularly for any bugs or issues that may have crept up with the current version. This also includes security patches. Nonetheless, a lot of website owners delay updating their website (or don’t update at all) due to a fear of losing out on important data, or a crash that would put their website out of commission.
We do understand the sentiments behind these lapses, but they are detrimental for the smooth functioning of your website, and will eventually cost your business. Hackers are on a constant lookout for these gaps and can cause some critical issues such as malware, spamming etc.
Solution: You could choose to either test the new updates on a test site (aka staging site). You could also back up your information before proceeding with the patches.
4. Obsolete WP Themes and Plugins
Similar to what happened in the previous point, website owners defer updating their plugins and themes. And it is understandable. As of Nov 2020, WordPress has more than 57,000 themes and plugins to select from; it is possible that a website may have multiple plugins used.
Solution: Update themes and plugins regularly. Set a little bit of time aside every month just for this purpose.
5. Easily Guessable Admin Names
Commonly used usernames such as ‘admin123’ aid hackers in gaining entry into the account and manage your files.
Solution: Modify the default admin name and only give access permission to the admin account to those who genuinely require it.
6. Pirated Plugins or Themes
Nulled plugins or themes are either hacked or are altered to harm those websites that use it. These are normally premium plugins and themes that are sold on third party websites (and not by the genuine creator). Nulled plugins generally affect the security of the website as well as have malware.
Solution: Utilise original plugins from reputable websites. If you don’t want to spend on themes or plugins, opt for the free or trial version.
7. Website without SSL Certification
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts data transferred between the server and the client browser. Websites that are not secure tend to be lower in SEO ranking and loss of reputation
Solution: Get a free SSL certificate for small sites. If you own a larger website, you may need to shell out a few bucks for a full-fledged SSL certification.
8. Lack of Firewall
A firewall is the last defensive perimeter for the website, and having no firewall protection will make hackers’ job easier for them. Firewalls are a good impediment for brute force attack, SQL injections and other attacks.
Solution: Install both web application firewall as well as a malware scanner.
There you have it. Hopefully, the solutions provided will be a good starting point for pre-emptive measures to be undertaken for fixing your website.