You might be under the impression that only websites owned by giant companies get hacked. As a small business owner, you think you’re not at risk, but that’s a misconception. Even if you’re not a multi-million dollar company with tons of user credit card information hackers often look to steal, you could still be a target. In fact, hackers can make a substantial amount of money hacking your small site by distributing malware, SEO spam and setting up email spam servers and phishing sites.
The thought of having your website hacked is scary, especially for WordPress beginners who may not know the ins and outs of cybersecurity. Luckily WordPress has built-in security features to help keep you safe, but you still need to protect yourself and be aware of the signs that your website is compromised. But how can you tell if you’ve been hacked?
There are some common signs you should watch out for. Here are five signs your WordPress site is compromised and how to fix it.
You’re unable to log in.
One of the most common, telltale signs that your website has been hacked is not being able to log in to your WordPress account. If you’re positive you haven’t forgotten your password, the inability to log in is most likely due to a hacker changing your password or deleting your admin account altogether.
Hackers like to make things as difficult as possible for you to regain access to your website and so to use the forgotten password tool on the login page is not going to work for you, especially if they’ve taken over your admin account.
Your website has been defaced.
Another obvious sign of your site being hacked is when it changes in appearance. If your website doesn’t look the way you left it, you’ve been hacked. Often hackers take over your website to gain exposure so they’ll change the design of your website to promote their own agenda.
If your site logos, images or content has been changed or there’ve been links added that you don’t recognize, it’s a clear sign that your site has been compromised. It might not always be so obvious too; hackers can actually include hidden links on your site. So always be on the lookout for anything that doesn’t seem right.
A sudden drop in website traffic.
If you notice a sudden drop in website traffic, it might leave you wondering what you’ve done wrong to make users not want to visit your site anymore. But it might not have anything to do with you or your content; it can actually be a sign that you’ve been hacked.
Malware that targets websites will often redirect visitors to the sites owned by hackers, resulting in a dramatic decrease to traffic to your site. Monitor your site’s number of visitors and watch out for any suspicious drop in numbers.
Suspicious user accounts being added.
With WordPress blogs and websites you have the option to be open to user registrations. If you do have open user registrations on your site and you start seeing suspicious users popping up, most of the time you can just delete them.
Suspicious users being added. www.wordpress.org
But if your site has registrations turned off and users are still being added, you’ve most likely been hacked. A hacker can not only add users to your site but add themselves as an administrator who makes it much more difficult to get rid of them and gain back control of your website.
Popup ads are appearing on your site.
Suspicious popup ads appearing on your website is another telling sign that you’ve been hacked. These popup ads are meant to redirect users, who find you through search engines, to the hacker’s own malicious, illegal website.
This tactic is yet another way hackers can make money from your small business website, and it can make your visitors vulnerable as well. The same goes for pop-under ads, which appear in a new window, that may go completely unnoticed.
How to fix it.
Being hacked is beyond frustrating, and it’s difficult to solve the problem on your own, especially as a new WordPress user. Changing your password is a must, but it typically won’t get rid of your hackers completely.
Contact your hosting company to see how they can help; many hosting companies will be able to tell you where the hack originated from and sometimes they can even solve the issue for you. You can also restore your site from a backup if you’ve created one and scan for malware.
But hackers can take all kinds of steps to stop you from getting your site back, so it’s best to turn to a trusted company to help you.
You’d never leave your door unlocked and invite burglars inside to steal, but even if your doors are padlocked, your house can still get broken into; you have to think about your website in the same way. Now that you know the warning signs that your website is being hacked and how to fix the issue, you’re prepared for anything.
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