Unfortunately, the world is filled with bad people and there might be the occasion where one of those especially-deviant souls wants to hack your website. I use WordPress to design and develop all of my clients’ websites because it offers state-of-the-art tools and functions to create awesome websites. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, many bad people aim their sights at these WP sites, much in the same way that Microsoft Windows has always been a target for hackers due to its overwhelming popularity as a desktop operating system.
So why would people want to hack your website? Revenge or competitive sabotage would be the obvious reasons; an unhappy customer or diabolical competitor might want to blow your beautiful website into oblivion. Other than that, it’s not our place to speculate the motivation but, if successful, these are the types of things a hacker could do:
- Inject a virus. It might be that someone wants to place a virus on your website that visitors might end up accidentally acquiring and take that little hunk of computer code back to their computer where it wreaks unspeakable havoc.
- Insert website links. Perhaps they simply want to place some hyperlinks on your website that might lead your visitors to other sites where bad – or unintended – things might happen.
- Steal customer data. If your website has any ecommerce functionality, hackers might think they could get in and steal credit card numbers or other valuable data. They might just want to steal your newsletter email list so they can sell or use the list for notorious reasons – or sell it to a competitor.
- Launch a DDOS attack. A Distributed Denial of Service attack is like having all of your doorbells and phones ringing simultaneously. An army of computers (often under control through a digital infection) all repeatedly begin “knocking on the door” of your website with the aim of allowing access to no one else. These attacks are often preceded by an extortion message, “Pay us $1,000 or your website’s going down.”
- Send spam from your email server. The culprit wants to gain access to your mail server so that they can flood the internet with spam that appears as if it’s come from you.
Website Security Software
Fortunately, we can employ security software on most of the websites we build to repel a significant number of these attacks, often originating from people on the other side of the planet who don’t even know you.
Of course, if someone was able to gain access to the back end of your website – or you (or I) made a site maintenance error that accidentally made a page or the entire site nonfunctional – then restoring the site with a recent backup would be the obvious fix. If you’re on one of our maintenance plans, these backups – which would automatically send backup files to both you and me – would be easily employed to quickly restore your website to its previous glory.
Software & Plugin Updates
The software platform upon which your website will be built, WordPress, is always evolving; new features and functions are added regularly and, occasionally, security “holes” are filled with new software versions. This is similar in many ways to a computer’s operating system. Also, the software tools I use, typically called “plugins” in WP jargon, are also updated. Obviously, keeping these plugins updated with new versions adds to the overall security of your site and we offer maintenance plans to ensure this happens.