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March 28, 2019

How to Tell If You Have Been Hacked: A Guide for WordPress Website Owners

How to Tell If You Have Been Hacked: A Guide for WordPress Website Owners

how-to-tell-if-you-have-been-hackedCyber attacks are on the rise, with hundreds of thousands targeting businesses and individuals daily. There are more than 4,000 ransomware attacks alone each day.

 

These attacks can leave your website dangerous for visitors, lagging in speed, or even causing your traffic to drop drastically.

 

Spotting an attack as soon as possible will give you more time to fix the problem before it ruins your website's reputation. Keep reading to learn how to tell if you have been hacked.

 

You Are Locked Out of Your Admin Account

Perhaps the most obvious indicator that something is wrong is getting locked out of your WordPress admin account.

 

Related Post: Are you making backups of your website?

 

Unless it's been a long time since you last checked your website, odds are that you haven't forgotten your login details. Instead, hackers have likely deleted your admin account. This has given them completely, uninhibited control of your website.

 

Without you even able to login to make any changes, hackers can now do anything they want with your website. This is especially easy for hackers on websites that don't use multiple factors of authentification.

 

Your URL Redirects to a Different Site

There are countless different types of threats lurking on the web. Two common ones are trojans and malware. 

 

When these attach themselves to your website, they redirect visitors to your site to a different URL. Oftentimes, the new URL is some form of the spammy site.

 

If you ever Google your own website and click the link, only to find that you've arrived at a completely different site, you know that you've been attacked.

 

Unusual Drops or Spikes in Traffic

Another side effect of malware or trojans attaching themselves to your site is that you'll be getting far fewer visitors to your actual website.

 

If you don't follow links to your own site often, then the best indicator that your site may have been attacked could be a drop in traffic on your analytics.

 

If your site has been infected, Google's algorithms may also flag your site as dangerous, which can drop your ranking and cause your traffic to suffer.

 

New Links or Ads are Popping Up in Your Content

Malware or trojans that redirect your URL to a different website are more obvious. If you or one of your followers don't notice right away, the sudden changes to your analytics will tick you off.

 

But some hackers are sneakier with their spammy redirects.

Rather than redirecting your entire URL, they might replace or otherwise insert other links within your website.

 

Because hackers use backdoors to insert these links and hide them in your content or within your site's footer, simply deleting them isn't enough. When you delete one, odds are that another will simply pop up elsewhere. 

 

Instead, you'll need to find the root of the problem and get rid of the backdoor to your site to keep new links from popping up.

 

How to Tell if You Have Been Hacked

While there are tons of ways how to tell if you have been hacked, these are a few of the most common signs you should be on the lookout for.

 

Unfortunately, spotting any of these signs means that an attack has already happened. On average, it takes companies 191 days to identify a data breach after it occurs.

 

Smaller businesses and individuals may spot an attack sooner. But the effect can be equally as devastating when security budgets are tighter and customer bases smaller.

 

With managed IT services, you can prevent an attack from happening in the first place. Check out our managed IT services to learn more!

Mike Tungate
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Mike Tungate
Hello! I am the Web Services Manager @ EnvisionIT Solutions. I create business websites, help shape a businesses image through branding, and help them grow through content marketing. I am an avid photographer and a lover of musical instruments.
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