5 key signs your WordPress site’s been hacked

Getting hacked is one of biggest concerns firms of all sizes face. The consequences of a hacked website can be huge, with impacts on your reputation and finances. Not only that, but there is the time and resources required to rectify the problem. And this can be costly when you take into account business disruption, lost sales, recovery of assets, fines and compensation.

It’s the kind of thing that you might think only happens to other people. But the truth is, anybody with a website can become a target and it’s not always obvious if you have become one.

There are many common forms of hacking that put your site and its users at risk which is why online security is vital, particularly if you store any user information or sensitive data on your website. It’s important to learn the signs that your site has been hacked now to avoid presenting malicious content to your visitors without even realising it.

Here are some subtle but common signals that may indicate your WordPress website has been hacked.

1. Unexpected users are registering on your site

If your registrations are turned off but someone is still adding users, it means someone else has administrative powers. These types of exploits often stem from an outdated plugins or security issues with your host’s FTP.

If you look under the ‘Users’ menu in your dashboard you’ll be able to see a list of people who have administrative powers. If there is someone on the list that you don’t recognise, it’s a tell-tale sign you have been hacked.

2. You are unable to access your admin account

Your admin account should only be accessible to you, via your unique username and password. If someone changes your password or deletes your account, you’ll lose access. Alternatively, you might find you are able to login, but that your administrative controls are missing.

To determine the reason why you have been locked out of your account, first check you’re entering your password correctly. If it doesn’t work, it’s likely that you have been hacked due to a weak password. A strong password should be a random combination of letters and numbers that would be difficult to guess. If you haven’t updated your password to a strong one, we recommend changing it now.

3. Sudden dips or spikes in traffic

Unusual drops or spikes in your website traffic is another sign something isn’t right. If you notice an unexplained dip, this could be because hackers are redirecting existing traffic away from your website. If you see a noticeable increase, it could be because hackers are sending new traffic to your domain after uploading their own content.

Improper file permissions are the likely cause of allowing hackers to do this. It enables them to add a custom redirect script to your WordPress site, steering visitors to a different location. To avoid this problem, you need to configure your permissions.

4. Your WordPress site redirects to a different URL

If your website redirects to another site, it’s another indicator that it’s been hacked. This issue often goes hand in hand with a dip in traffic, so analysing your website analytics is a good place to start.

You should regularly check that every URL within your side is displaying the correct information. This check should be done while logged in and out of your admin account, as some redirects are intentionally only detected to users who are logged out.

5. Your homepage design displays manipulated content

If you notice new content has been added to your site, you have probably been hacked. Although you might assume this would be glaringly obvious, the change can be as subtle as a few new links. It’s also possible for a hacker to include hidden links on your site which is trickier to spot unless you look into the website’s code.

Often a weak password and using default credentials, such as the admin username, are to blame in this situation so it’s important to choose yours carefully.

What can I do if my WordPress site has been hacked

Each day, hackers experiment with new ways to gain access to websites so it’s best to implement preventative measures to help secure your site more effectively such as avoiding default credentials, enabling two-factor authentication, using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), and opting for a secure hosting server.

Most hacking attempts are moments of opportunity with 51% of WordPress websites hacked because of a theme or plugin, and 8% due to a weak password. The rest are often down to poor hosting security.

At WP Tech Support, your website’s security is our priority and we know exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to site vulnerabilities. Not only can we implement measures to improve your current security level, we also backup your entire website to our secure cloud server every single day. Take a look at our monthly plans to find the one best suited to your requirements.

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