[WordPress Security] Who is Attacking Your Website and Why

People are often shocked when their website gets hacked. Who is attacking your website and whyMany business owners think that because their website is not a 'big brand' website, or maybe because it's not a high traffic website, that they are safe and hackers wouldn’t be interested … but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your customers and potential clients need to be able to trust your website, and your business, and hackers can leave your reputation in ruins. Let’s face it … they are just criminals with a techy bent.

Why do hackers attack seemingly insignificant websites?

Hackers use any site they can get access to for many types of hacks, but all for one reason – to make money from someone else’s vulnerability. So it doesn’t matter if the site has huge traffic numbers flowing to it daily or it is a small site with not much influence yet.  In reality, with so many people trying to build their own websites these days, it means the smaller sites are easier to gain access to.

How do these cybercriminals use your website for their own gain?

There are several ways they use your website for criminal purposes. These include but are not limited to:
  • Hosting phishing pages
  • Mining cryptocurrency
  • Hosting spammy pages with their own links
  • Sending spam emails
  • Adding redirects to content on their own site
  • Attacking other WordPress websites from your site
  • Installing malware
  • Stealing data
Let’s look at these in a bit more detail.

Hosting Phishing Pages

A phishing page is a sneaky way for hackers to gain your information by pretending to be someone they’re not. There aren’t too many people in this day and age who haven’t seen one of those emails asking for you to confirm your banking details. Once you’ve provided that information, they then have full access to your data and can login to the real site as you and cause havoc. Because your website initially has a squeaky-clean reputation with Google, initially they won’t warn people about it being a dangerous page to visit. Eventually though, once it’s been reported, your website reputation is gone, and you can be blacklisted.

mining crypto currencyMining Cryptocurrency

This is quite a complex process where the hacker uses the resources of your website to mine for cryptocurrency all over the web. It can be quite lucrative for them … until they get caught!

Hosting Spammy Pages with Their Own Links

This is a favourite of hackers all over the world because Google likes your content. You are only put up legitimate content so when hackers plan spam pages and links into your site, Google initially thinks its good content. This boosts the results for the hacker and when you add up all of the little sites like yours, they are hacking it turns into big results for them.

Sending Spam Emails

Email clients have a variety of ways they ensure only legitimate emails get delivered. Their business is to block spam to keep their customers happy.  To do this they have SPAM filters. These filters block email addresses who send spam by using their IP address.  This is called blacklisting. Hackers like to take advantage of the fact that your IP address and reputation is pretty near perfect so they can use it to temporarily send out spam emails, until your IP address gets blocked. Great for them … bad news for you. Then the hackers move on to the next unsuspecting victim.

attacking websitesAdding Redirects to Content on Their Own Site

They try not to make these obvious, so they don’t usually redirect your whole site over to their online assets. When hackers use this redirection technique it allows your site visitors to go directly to their site without having to click on a link. They avoid detection by only using certain URLs, device types such as mobile phones, and browsers like Chrome only.

Attacking Other WordPress Websites from Your Site

This is where the hacker uses a bot to utilise the resources from multiple websites. Your website is used as a platform to carry out their work because of it’s clean non-blacklisted IP.

Installing Malware

A particularly malicious way to ustilise your website for their own gain is by installing malware. This software installs itself of the computer of everyone who visits your website. The negative effects of this type of attack are great.  This can cause your website to be blacklisted, it can cause your customers to get upset with you and your search engine ranks can be negatively affected for a long time.

Stealing Data

Don’t think the only data hackers want is credit card details.  There is plenty they can do with data that is collected on forms and username and passwords. They can use this information to try to login to other websites. In conclusion, it doesn’t matter the size of your website or how expensive your hosting is … criminals will work out a way to use your site for their own personal gain if they can gain access. Smarter Websites can help you get your site back if you’ve lost control of it. We can put in place the infrastructure you need to be as safe as you possibly can be.

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