WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world, powering more than 40% of all websites. However, it is also a popular target for hackers due to its popularity and open-source nature. If your WordPress website has been hacked, it can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but there are steps you can take to repair a hacked website
How Did My WordPress Website Get Hacked
WordPress is targeted by hacked 24/7 because over 40% of websites online use it and many people who build websites with it don’t update or manage the website.
- Weak Passwords One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to a WordPress site is through weak passwords. Passwords that are too short, easy to guess, or have been reused across multiple websites are vulnerable to brute force attacks, where a hacker uses software to try multiple combinations of usernames and passwords until they gain access. To prevent this, website owners should use long, complex passwords and enable two-factor authentication.
- Outdated WordPress Core WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that anyone can view and modify its source code. While this has many benefits, it also means that vulnerabilities can be discovered and exploited by hackers. WordPress regularly releases updates to its core software to fix these vulnerabilities. However, if website owners fail to update their WordPress core, their site becomes vulnerable to attacks that exploit these known vulnerabilities.
- Outdated Plugins and Themes Like the core WordPress software, plugins, and themes can also contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Website owners should ensure that all their plugins and themes are up to date and come from reputable sources. Using outdated, unsupported, or untrusted plugins and themes can make your website vulnerable to attacks.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks Using public Wi-Fi networks to access the WordPress dashboard can also put your website at risk. Hackers can intercept data sent over these networks, including login credentials and other sensitive information. Website owners should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks and instead use a secure and encrypted connection, such as a virtual private network (VPN), to access their WordPress dashboard.
- Lack of Security Plugins WordPress has a wide range of security plugins that can help protect your website from attacks. These plugins can provide features such as malware scanning, firewalls, and login protection. Website owners should consider using security plugins to protect their websites from attacks.
- SQL Injection Attacks SQL injection attacks occur when a hacker inserts malicious code into a website’s database. This code can be used to extract sensitive information, modify or delete data, or gain access to the website’s backend. Website owners should ensure that all input fields on their website are sanitized and validated to prevent SQL injection attacks.
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks XSS attacks occur when a hacker injects malicious code into a website’s pages. This code can be used to steal sensitive information, such as login credentials, or to redirect users to malicious websites. Website owners should ensure that their website’s code is properly sanitized and validated to prevent XSS attacks.
- Malware Infections Malware infections can occur when a hacker gains access to a website and injects malicious code or files. These files can be used to steal sensitive information, modify or delete data, or redirect users to malicious websites. Website owners should regularly scan their website for malware and ensure that their website’s code is up to date and secure.
- Social Engineering Attacks Social engineering attacks are where a hacker uses deception to trick users into giving up sensitive information. These attacks can include phishing emails, fake login screens, and other forms of social engineering. Website owners should educate their users on how to identify and avoid social engineering attacks.
- Lack of Regular Backups Finally, lack of regular backups can leave a website vulnerable to attacks. If a website is hacked or goes down, having a recent backup can help restore the website quickly and efficiently. Website owners should ensure that they have regular backups of their website’s code and database.
How To Fix & Recover A Hacked Site
Step 1: Identify the Hack
The first step in fixing a hacked WordPress website is to identify the hack. Signs of a hack may include strange pop-ups, unauthorized content, or changes to the website’s appearance or functionality. You may also receive notifications from Google or your web hosting provider that your website has been compromised. It is important to take note of any changes and document them for later reference.
Step 2: Isolate Your Website
The next step is to isolate your website from the rest of your network. This can be done by taking your website offline or placing it in maintenance mode. This will prevent the hack from spreading to other websites or areas of your network.
Step 3: Change Passwords
It is important to change all passwords associated with your WordPress website, including your WordPress admin password, hosting account password, and any FTP or SSH passwords. Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess and include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Step 4: Update WordPress
Make sure your WordPress installation and all plugins and themes are up-to-date. Outdated software is a common vulnerability that hackers exploit to gain access to your website. Once you have updated your website, run a virus scan to ensure that there are no remaining vulnerabilities.
Step 5: Scan for Malware
Scan your website for malware using reliable anti-virus software. There are several anti-virus plugins available for WordPress that can help identify any malicious code or scripts on your website. Remove any malware that is identified and take note of any files that are suspected of being compromised.
Step 6: Restore from Backup
If you have a backup of your website, restore it to a previous version before the hack occurred. This will remove any malware or malicious code that may have been inserted into your website. If you do not have a backup, consider hiring a professional to help restore your website.
Step 7: Harden Your Website
Once your website has been restored, take steps to harden your website’s security to prevent future hacks. This includes using strong passwords, limiting login attempts, and installing a security plugin that can help identify and prevent hacks. Additionally, consider using a web application firewall (WAF) to monitor and block suspicious traffic to your website.
A hacked WordPress website can be a stressful experience, but it can be fixed with the right steps. By identifying the hack, isolating your website, changing passwords, updating WordPress, scanning for malware, restoring from backup, and hardening your website, you can recover your website and prevent future hacks. If you are unsure about any of these steps or need additional assistance, consider consulting a professional to help you fix your website.