How can I tell that my WordPress is compromised?
If your WordPress website has become a target of a hack, you can find out from several indicators. For example, your website may have changed visually and/or there may be strange and unfamiliar content on it. You may no longer be able to log in or you may even receive a warning message when you visit your website.
It may also be that your website visitors are contacting you or that your provider has sent you an email to inform you about suspicious activity. In these cases, you should act as soon as possible to protect both your website visitors and your data from further consequences of the attack.
Why exactly was my WordPress hacked?
WordPress is the most used content management system (CMS), running about 40% of all websites on the Internet. It is easy to use, has low system requirements and there are many extension options in the form of plugins. However, its popularity has consequences: Its broad popularity also attracts cybercriminals. If they find a vulnerability in the widely used system, they can infiltrate a large number of websites without much effort. Individual companies or website operators are rarely targeted. Most likely, the target is not exclusively you, but the general masses.
Strong passwords, constant updates and the use of security solutions like a malware scanner and firewall can limit the impact. We will be happy to advise you on this.
How do cyber criminals manage to break into a website?
There are a few reasons why WordPress can be vulnerable. Very simple passwords like "1234" or "password" are for example a big problem. If these passwords are then also used for multiple services (such as FTP, admin login, email), the criminals can log in anywhere after an attack.
Security updates are also offered regularly for WordPress, existing plugins and themes. Often, these updates also close dangerous security holes. Therefore, always make sure that your website is up-to-date!
Another point of attack can be the use of dubious plugins from unknown sources. For the installation of such extensions, it is advisable to always use the official WordPress Plugin Store or similar platforms.
For what purpose do cyber criminals attack websites?
A successful attack offers many opportunities to the criminals. Once they gain access to a website, they can and will perform the following malicious actions, among others:
- Data theft and leakage of account data (usernames and passwords)
- Manipulation and destruction of data
- Upload of phishing content or redirection to such content
- Distribution of child pornography content
- Integration into a botnet
- Spreading malware
- Illegitimate use of computing power for cryptomining
What needs to be done after a hack?
Stay calm and do not act in a hurry! First of all, check the devices you usually use to log into your website for viruses. An infected PC can also be the cause of an attacked website.
Then start cleaning up your website. Optional: In case of a company website, set up a maintenance page to inform your customers transparently. WordPress even offers an in-house solution for this. The log files of your web server help to analyze the attack. You may have already received a mail with details from your provider. The website must be checked promptly and the hack must be removed.
After the attack analysis follows the malware removal, the update of the system and used software, the change of your passwords and finally a backup strategy for the future. We at Tortuga Webspace Security are happy to help you clean your website.
How can I prevent attacks on my WordPress in the best possible way?
The first and most important rule for a secure website operation is: perform regular updates of the WordPress installation and all installed plugins. Also, delete all unused plugins and themes, because they represent a high potential for attacks.
Use clever passwords consisting of a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters and special characters. Get rid of standard usernames with administration privileges. Names like "Admin" or "Administrator" minimize the security of your WordPress. In the WordPress dashboard you have the option to create a new user with a secure username and then give it the role of an administrator. You can delete the old admin account afterwards.
What sets Tortuga apart from other cleanup services?
When cleaning a hacked website, we do not rely on standard scanners and other commonly used approaches. We have been working in the web security industry for many years and know how criminals behave and what tools they use. That is why we use in-house developed scanning tools to detect malware and malicious files. It allows us to react much faster and better to cyber pirates' evasive maneuvers. Our goal is to provide you, our customer, with first-class service and get your business back on track fast!
How long will it take to clean up my site?
The completion of the task usually requires a few hours up to a maximum of 24 hours (on working days). The crucial factor here is the complexity of the attack and the size of your website. And we promise you one thing: We focus on accuracy, because nothing is more depressing than a new hack after a few days. This applies to us as a service provider as well as to you as a website operator and client.