Did you know, that people are trying to break into your WordPress website all the time! Why do they want to do this? Motives vary but the main motive is a predictable one: profit. Here are the 3 main ways that hackers want to use your site.
1. Computing power
It’s not your website that the average attacker wants – they want the computer power of the web server that it’s running on. This can be used to perform complex computations or simply to hide the hacker’s identity while he uses a server that is not linked to his name to perform other tasks.
Computing power can also be used to churn out zillions of spam emails and in a way that’s hard to trace, since the emails will come from your server, not the attacker’s own computers and often by the time it is spotted, the attacker has got his pay-off. Another way is to insert links into web pages intended only to be visible to search engines to help the destination websites move up the search rankings. Sneaky!
3. Serving up viruses
A hacked website can be modified to serve up viruses to its visitors – catching vulnerable visitors whose own security on their PC/Mac/etc. wasn’t up to date. Viruses then allow the visitor’s computer to be used for the same purposes – and others. Weak passwords, un-updated plugins, etc., provide ways for the bad guys to use your computing resources, to make money.
I have had clients come to me over the years with sites that needed to be cleaned up and, believe me, it’s not fun!
What you can do…
One of the best things that you can do to protect your site is to add a freemium security plugin like Wordfence. Wordfence is a complete anti-virus and firewall package for WordPress. It not only protects your site from possible attacks but also keeps you off Google’s SEO blacklist and helps repair hacked files, even if you don’t have backups. It also includes a feature that locks out brute force attacks, hiding your WordPress version number, blocking fake google crawlers and many other security enhancements.
The most important thing though is to keep WordPress versions up to date along with all the plugins that you are using. So don’t be a slacker, update your site!