Website hackers have been on the prowl recently, hacking every website or blog where they find security loopholes, and giving site owners endless nightmares. Hacking your WordPress blog is relatively easy when there are lapses provided either by not updating your software or by using relatively weak password combination.
Webmasters are losing sensitive files, sites are infected with viruses, malwares, spywares, worms, rootkits, etc, no thanks to this act of wickedness perpetuated by certain individuals who are happy destroying what others have laboured for. But why on earth would someone intentionally hack other people’s sites even though he is aware that act would make the person lose his site’s data?
Hacking of sites comes in several forms, and the extent of damage done to a site depends on the files affected and whether or not such data are backed up by the site owner. It is easier to restore a site back to its functional state with minimal interruption if the site data had been backed up. But whereby there’s no back up, restoring the site back could take several days or weeks to accomplish.
Why do hackers attack blogs or websites?
There are several reasons why hackers attack blogs or websites. According to Sam Scholfield, the reasonscould be any of the following or for any other not mentioned here:
Some hackers are hacking your WordPress blog just for the fun of it. Having taken some hacking tutorials, they are happy putting what they have learned to practice. They derive happiness from the fact they are now able to successfully attack other people’s websites and blogs.
Some other people hack blogs in order to get sensitive information which they could not legitimately obtain from you. The only way to get these information is to forcefully hack into your system. Information they are looking for could be your login password which they might use to gain access to your credit card, Paypal account, Payza account, or other sites where they could easily gain access to your money and dupe you.
Your site could become so popular and financially viable as to arouse envy or malice from some other people who eventually find a way to bring you down by hacking your wordpress blog or website. These internet hackers are willing to go the extra mile to see that your financial empire is brought down. They can inject virus, spyware, malware, etc into your system and use them to destroy your site’s reputation so as to get unfair advantage over you.
Some could decide to use your website as a vehicle to spread their malware, spyware, viruses, rootkits, etc to other sites. You could be spreading these innocently without being aware your site has been infected. They could target your site if it has become a very popular site, especially if it is a file, music or software download site. By infecting your site, they can successfully infect others through you.
Link back to their site:
Attacks could come from someone who wants to link back from your site to his, and enjoy the link juice that an authority site like yours could provide. Gaining access to your database could help them add their link to your site without your knowledge.
Harvest users’ email:
Some could hack your blog or website just to enable them harvest the email addresses of your registered users which they either sell to third parties or use themselves for spamming purposes.
How about hijacking your site from you and claiming ownership to it? This is possible if he succeeds to change your login details, change your email address, add your site to his webmaster tools, change your DNS settings, etc. Once he succeeds to alter everything, it is difficult for you to reclaim such site from the hacker.
How Do hackers succeed to hack your site?
Hacking your wordpress blog is made possible as a result of one or combination of the following factors:
Hackers are looking for blogs with weak login passwords to take advantage of. When you use words that are in the English dictionary as your password, they can easily be guessed by bots. It is one of the loopholes that are exploited for hacking your wordpress blog.
Not updating blog software:
Failure to update your blogging software to the latest version could be an open invitation for hackers to attack your site. Internet hackers are always on the lookout for some of these lapses and use them against you.
Using default setup:
Your wordpress blog has the username set to “admin” by default. The attacking bots usually look for this default username and try to guess the remaining part of the login details to successfully attack your blog.
Allowing multiple users on your site could be a way to easily gain access to hack your site. WordPress blogs that allow members to register easily could face hacking issues as attackers could also register using attacking bots.
You can see how vulnerable your wordpress blog or website could be to attacks? Hackers are so intelligent that they are able to check for multiple areas of susceptibility to use for their demoniac onslaught against you. So as a blog owner, you need to take extra caution to avoid being caught off guard.
How to stop hackers from hacking your website?
To be able to successfully stop the hackers from hacking your wordpress blog, you need to put several security measures in place to provide some multiple layers of protection for your site. Using just one of the measures may not be enough to provide the protection your blog needs as attacks are usually launched using different means. So a combination of two or more of the following would be of help to your blog or website.
1. Use strong password:
A strong password would mean you are not using a dictionary word that could easily be guessed, and that your password count is at least up to 8 letters. You need to use a mixture of Upper and Lower cases, figures, special symbols including: “; + – = ? / > ~ < , etc in your password to make it much harder for bots to guess.
2. Change password regularly:
Namecheap advises that site owners should change password regularly for the safety of their sites. It is even advised that password should be changed as soon as you receive your first blog installation email, and then from time to time. Don’t use same password on several websites and social network sites on your blog too.
3. Keep password safe:
It might not be possible to store your password in your brain. Sometimes you need to write them down and make sure they are stored in a safe place away from the public. You can also use special abbreviations to store your password if writing them in full could land you in trouble.
4. Scan your webspace:
You need to scan your webspace regularly, using the in-built cPanel virus scanner to check for infected files, and make sure they are fixed as soon as they are discovered.
5. Secure your computer:
Your personal computer could be infected with spyware and hackers use the information they derive from your PC to hack your blog. To prevent this from happening, personal computers and laptops must be regularly scanned for viruses, spyware, rockits, worms, etc; and antivirus and firewalls must be up to date also to prevent them being exploited.
6. Backup Database:
You need to backup your blog’s database so that in case there is an attack, you will be able to restore your site to normal function within minutes without losing any sensitive files. You can do this manually from your cPanel or you can use backup plugins to do it automatically.
7. Avoid free plugins and themes:
Free plugins and themes contain base64 encoding which could be used to conceal malwares often cashed upon by hackers to bring down your site.
8. Limit Login Attempt:
T. J Greene suggests using Limit login attempt plugin to prevent hackers from having enough time to try out various login passwords. The plugins shuts out anyone who exceeds the time set for a specific login attempt. If you set the plugin to stop anyone who fails 3 or 4 login attempts, once that is exceeded and the perceived attacker cannot successfully login, he is shut out for the number of minutes or hours you set for another trial. This discourages the hacker from several attempts on your blog. The video below shows you how to set up the plugin
9. Better WP Security:
using the Better WP Security plugin to prevent access to your database is another way to ensure the safety of your wordpress blog, and stop hackers from gaining access to your files. This plugin helps you change your default “admin” username, rename your root files path, protect your .htaccess file, etc.
10. Bullet Proof Security:
This is another security plugin that can help you secure your blog. Bullet proof Security plugin plays a role similar to what Better WP Security plugin does for your wordpress blog, and ensures intruders don’t easily find your files in their usual locations. This plugin is really helpful and should be installed on your site as soon as possible.
What security measures do you have in place to secure your database and stop hackers from hacking your wordpress blog? What do you think I have left out that needs to be included here? Has your blog ever been hacked? How did you recover your files after the attack? Please share your opinions with us using the comment box below.
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