Over the years, we have seen many stories in the news regarding hackers and how they are constantly on the prowl for information and access to websites. Even today, there are people who have a sole job to break into WordPress websites but why is this the case? When people read this, they instantly feel nervous and look for advice considering WordPress can be found on around 25% of all websites in the world. However, to find solutions and stay protected, we first have to learn their motives and exactly why they spend their days doing what they do.
Spam – When reading the introduction, you might be wondering why hackers would be interested in a small blog about cats that has a readership of less than a dozen. First up, we have the bane of many people’s existence – spam. For the hacker, this can be a method of releasing thousands of spam emails for no cost whatsoever. Because the emails come from your server, they are nearly impossible to trace back to the originator.
Since not all people delete spam as it comes, the hacker often gets their reward before anyone has realized what has been done. Also, invisible links are sometimes placed which helps the website appear on Google’s rankings. Although there is no intention for such a link to be visited, they are used for search results only. Sadly, many marketers are now finding it cheaper to get space on many hacked websites than spending the time building their own product interest.
Computing Power – Often, hackers have no interest in your website but purely want the power of the server on which the website is running. Once they have this ‘free’ electricity, they can complete a whole manner of tasks. Of course, the hacker can remain completely anonymous because they are using the someone’s power, someone else’s server, and have no involvement until their actions at the very final step of the process which cannot be tracked.
Viruses – Finally, this is potentially the big one and it is to cause a virus to all who choose to visit the site. For everyone who hasn’t updated their antivirus software, they are left with a nasty surprise. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of ‘hostage’ and ransom situations seen with personal files with what we call ‘ransomware’. As the name suggests, hackers will take files and then encrypt them offering only to decrypt them after being paid a fee.
These days, insecure websites are a valuable industry for all hackers which means that they can find a way in when passwords are weak and plugins aren’t updated. Since the amount of revenue received far outweighs the cost of hacking, it continues to be a profitable market.
With all of this information in mind, you would be foolish to think that your site is safe just because it is small. Nowadays, there is a risk to every single website on the internet which shows the need for backups and other preventative measures. Even after following all of the rules, you will sometimes find that you still become a victim so make sure the security on your site is as tight as can be. Most of the time, this starts with a good backup because then at least you can recover what has been lost in the event of a break in. In a way, it is an insurance policy for your site!