For a website owner, the worst sentence is “Your website is being hacked.” This is the most depressing experience and non-digestive thing ever. They say, no matter which level of security your website using, your website may get hacked. You will be shocked after knowing the fact that “Nearly 30 thousand websites are being hacked daily according to Forbes.” Your website might be targeted by hackers one day, who knows?
As we have mentioned in our earlier post that WordPress is a common platform for hackers to perform malicious activities on WordPress website and they get succeed several times too. Let us clear the point that only those websites get hacked whose admins do not take care of their site security very seriously. Are you taking it seriously?
Let’s understand the significance of Security with a simple example: You created a website, worked very hard to make it popular and gained a large number of visitors. Unfortunately, your website is hacked. Imagine the level of your frustration! Almost all your efforts went in vain. Why did this happen to you? Only one reason “Not considering the security factor very seriously.”
But luckily, there are plenty of ways to get back the website on track and also prevent such nasty problems in future. Let’s understand it from the very step “Why website get hacked?”
Reasons for WordPress Website Being Hacked?
We are discussing on WordPress websites and so, we are going to describe the factors for WordPress website only. While hacking is not limited to a WordPress platform only; it may affect websites built in any other CMS. The core factors are:
- Cheap hosting services
- Poor Passwords
- Running website on outdated WordPress version
- Non-compatible WordPress Themes and Plugins
- Not using WordPress Security Firewall or Security Plugins like Sucuri.
In other terms, you can say these above factors as “keys for the WordPress backdoors” and hackers use them to exploit web data. Once they entered into your website database; they become the boss of a website and may charge you money to give website back to you or something else. WordPress continuously works for discovering such backdoors and closing those doors permanently time to time by upgrading the WordPress Versions.That’s why it is necessary to run a website on the latest version of WordPress.
In the end, it’s your website and you need to keep tightening your web security. You should stay updated with the up-to-date versions to close the backdoors before hackers reach with the keys.
Common Signs that Show Your Website Got Hacked:
The very first question in mind when you got a notice like “Your website is being hacked.” How couldn’t I identify this before? Actually, there are some red signs of being hacked website. And from onwards, you can identify easily too.
- A website is getting redirected to another website automatically
- Redundant Pop-ups appearing which aren’t added by you.
- See some unnecessary text in header and footer section that you didn’t set.
- Get a notice from the Google Webmaster Tools that Your “Website is being Hacked”. If you have configured it.
- Received similar notice from your web hosting provider.
Whenever you notice any of the above signs, start taking steps to secure your WordPress website. You can detect such nasty indication when hacker came through backdoors.
Backdoors in WordPress Website
It’s a way of by passing ordinary authentication to get the control of a website without being observed by WordPress website admin.
Hackers are creative and experimental minded. Hence, they leave the backdoor opened to get the access to a site again even if the website is cleaned up thoroughly. So, next time they can easily come into and exploit the data again.
It seems like you have removed all mice from your home but not closing the path. Obviously, they will come back through that way and start partying in your home.
What Can They Do?
- Being a website admin without being detected
- Upload or create the unnecessary file on your website
- Collect and/or delete website’s sensitive data & spoil your efforts.
- Send spammy emails and newsletters to your loyal subscribers
Common Backdoors From Where Hackers Hack Into?
Have you ever experienced that your website is compromised more often; the backdoor is might be located at those places which are visited rarely by a WordPress admin. The useless plugins can be a backdoor for them as they are ignored by the admin. Few more reasons, why plugins are mainly targeted by cybercriminals.
- Admin doesn’t pay more attention to inspect or update the plugins
- Admin ignores plugins which aren’t compatible with the updated versions and leave them as they are.
- Install plugins which are from third parties and poorly codes, much vulnerable to hackers.
It is fact that free themes are more vulnerable to be hacked than the paid themes. Are you using free themes for your dream WordPress website? We say, don’t use them. No higher level of security is provided to such free themes by the theme developers. It doesn’t mean that paid themes are secure, there is a chance of being hacked too. You only need to stay updated with the latest theme update and get rid of old version or inactive themes.
WP-Config.php is a control file where the username, passwords, server information, hostname and other sensitive information are stored. Now, just think what if someone else would get this file. Obviously, he will get all the critical information and can able to manipulate your website data. So, we can call this as a “Backdoor” for hackers and they leave this door open to gain the credentials again even after the hack is being resolved.
Now, you have names of those critical places on your WordPress site from where hackers can perform a malicious activity and exploit your web data. Now the next question is “How to Fix Them?” to get the answer, read on.
1. Scan Your Site for Detecting WordPress Backdoor
The very beginning step is to scan your whole site for malware and viruses that are actually manipulating your web app. WP scanners can help to detect such malicious files from the site by checking core files, plugins, themes for a backdoor, malicious redirects, spammy data and other database injections. Wherever, scanner gets any unexpected activities; it will show you whether it’s a vulnerable plugin or outdated theme.
Following are the Top 5 WP scanner which can detect the malware.
- WP Hacked Help
- Rex Swain’s HTTP Viewer
- Virus Total
2. Delete Inactive Themes:
As admin avoids to inspect mostly, hackers mainly target inactive themes to inject nasty links to get control over the website. So, remove such themes as soon as possible. If any backdoor which is opened through inactive themes will be removed too. Always use Theme Authenticity Checker to scan active and inactive WordPress themes for viruses and malware.
3. Remove Unnecessary and Vulnerable Plugins:
Generally, hackers discover victimization in the inactive and outdated plugins which are already installed on your website. Once they got, it is easier for them to get access form a backdoor. What’s the solution? Simple, just remove the inactive plugins. And make sure that all usable plugins should be updated to their latest versions to prevent future vulnerability.
4. Secure WP-Config.php file.
As we have already described above the “Importance of wp-config.php file and why it should be secured?” Use these free security plugins for WordPress site to keep secure your database, login attempts, etc. Remove unnecessary scripts or codes from the wp-config.php. It might be possible that such codes are inserted by hackers.
5. Keep Your WordPress Version Up-to-date
The current version of WordPress 4.9.5 is released in the first week of April. If you haven’t updated it; do it ASAP. Read more on “Why It is Necessary to upgrade website to the latest version?”
Note: Take a backup of your entire website before upgrading it to the latest version.
6. Stay with the Reputable Hosting Company:
Who knows, when cheap becomes costly? There is a minimal chance of getting the security features when you opt for the CHEAP hosting services. Needless to say, with minimal security features, the chances of your website being hacked are much more. So, be a partner with the reputable hosting company which provides security features and quality customer support 24X7.
After reading all points listed above carefully; you will become serious towards your website security and take as many as possible steps to protect your website from nasty hackers. Simple fact that “Prevention is better than cure” It applies here too. Keep your website clean and inspect on a regular basis to check the locks of backdoor so, that no hacker could enter from backdoor to exploit your website data.
Having any question in your mind regarding WordPress backdoor? Want to lock down your website’s backdoors? Let’s discuss below in the comment section.