Website Security

Safety First! Fend Off Scary Cyberattacks With Secure WordPress Hosting

We’ve all heard the cyberspace frightmares — the hacking horror stories, the spooky safety breaches… the nightmares that you think certainly can’t haunt you.

But, if you’re among the majority of brands and businesses — 64% and growing! — who use WordPress as the Content Management System (CMS) for your website, then we have some scary news for you. WordPress’s popularity makes it a common target for hackers and spammers. According to Sucuri’s 2019 Threat Research Report, 94% of all hacked CMS sites use WordPress. 94%!

PSA: It’s time to put safety first when it comes to the security of your site.

You don’t want to deal with the side effects of a hacked site. Not only does hacking put both your business and your customers in the danger zone with stolen data, account info, and more, it can affect how your site shows up in search engines and so much more.

The challenge for many WordPress users is that you don’t even know when your site is under a hack attack — until it’s too late. And, the reach of your website and its traffic numbers don’t matter; attacks happen no matter how big or small your site’s digital footprint is.

Let’s look at some common ways WordPress sites get compromised.

1.  Scary-Weak Passwords

You know you’re guilty here — we all are. You want to remember your password, so you make it something quick and easy. When you err on the side of a WEAK word in the hacker world, here’s what happens…

A hacker pretty easily finds your valid username and password simply by using countless random combinations. It’s called a “brute-force” or “dictionary” attack because it exposes weak, easy-to-guess passwords and/or the same passwords that are used everywhere across your platforms. Sometimes, after thousands upon thousands of tries, hackers just get lucky and land on the right combo, too.

Once a hacker gains access to your WordPress admin area, they can do things like post incorrect information on your site or install a program to send out tons of spam — and you might not even know any of it is happening. That can harm your reputation with your customers and lower your Google ranking. And, that’s why we call them scary-weak passwords.

2. Creepy Plugins and Terrifyingly Old Themes 

Here’s another cautionary tale for you: the curse of the creepy plugin and the terrifyingly old theme.

According to WP White Security, 29% of hacked WordPress sites are hacked via a security issue in their WordPress Theme, and 22% are hacked via a security issue in their WordPress Plugins. Unsafe and outdated versions of themes and plugins are a big vulnerability that you might not realize. Not every theme has been tested against hacking — and odds are that the deal you thought you were getting on that “free” plugin was more bad than good. It might have come equipped with a bunch of malware. All of this is why having a website expert on your side to work on site maintenance and regular updates is so important.

Because, just like with weak passwords, once hackers breach your site, they can manipulate your data and your customers’ data and even send them to phishing sites — sites that look like yours, but are designed to trick your customers into giving out information. No treats here.

3. Spooky Social Engineering

Speaking of PHISHING, it’s a form of “social engineering.” You might not have heard of this term, but you’ve probably experienced some form of it. Look no further than those suspicious emails you get, where attackers pose as trusted institutions or individuals to lure you into sharing your personal data, bank login, and more.

It’s also called “human hacking” because it’s a manipulation technique that exploits human error to gain private info and access to systems, accounts, and data.

And, you’re not immune; it can happen to your business and website, too. Hackers might scan your site and send phishing emails or SMS texts to site users or to your customers — a data breach with potentially long-term consequences.

Another common form of social engineering is called baiting. This can show up in the form of emails sent to your database with attachments that include details on a free offer or fraudulent free software. But, those downloads usually come with another trick, no treat — a malware infection.

So what can you do to stay safe and sound?!

Now, all of this might sound quite frightful — and it certainly can be intimidating. But, there are simple and effective ways to ensure your site is on guard and stays out of harm’s way from these hackers and cyberattacks.

A safety-first website strategy is one of the things we prioritize at CRANK Digital Marketing Authority when we design and optimize sites for our clients. To learn more about building a secure website platform, give us a shout here.

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