In the ever-emerging world of the internet, cyber security is always an important topic of discussion. In the last few years, efforts have been made to improve the security websites, blogs, and even social media accounts to make the internet a safer place. But sometimes, there are lapses in security due to which getting hacked becomes an unfortunate possibility. This can happen even if you are running your website using one of the most famous Content Management Systems; WordPress.
Realizing that you have got hacked can most of the times be pretty straight forward, since people discover unknown and weird stuff posted on their WordPress websites which they have no knowledge of. Sometimes, websites can even stop functioning and come to a halt, whereas, some other times you might discover that your website has been hacked using infected files. Also, it is important to note that WordPress offers some great security plugins too, to keep its users safe from any unfortunate incident but there are instances when even the best security plugins fail to cope with a cyber-attack. So if you are in doubt that your website has been hacked or something of the similar sort has happened, then there are many ways to check and confirm it.
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Therefore, to educate our readers about the ways you can check if your WordPress website has been, in this post, we have compiled an interesting list of “11 Ways to Check If Your WordPress Website Has Been Hacked”.
- Your WordPress Website Crashes: Starting with one of the simplest ways on the list to check if your WordPress website has been hacked, you must identify if your WordPress website is slow or crashes. This can commonly occur because hackers might add loads of bad code that slows down your site to load. Moreover, this can also happen if hackers include your site on a spam email network or in a network of spam sites where the sent traffic is re-directed over and over.
- Unwanted Content is added to Your WordPress Website: One sure fire way to confirm that your WordPress website is breached is to check if any unwanted content has been added to it. The aforementioned content can be unusual links, tags, or any sort of content present in the footer of each page, or there might be an instance when all of the content present on your website is replaced with completely new content.
- Unusual Content is posted on Your WordPress Website: Another simple way to check if you have been hacked is to see if you can find any unusual posts. This should be the most visible way to identify if your website has been hacked. Moreover, this way is not only popular to identify hacked websites but is also quite popular for hacked social media accounts since hackers usually post obscene and adult content on the victims’ accounts.
- You Experience Huge Variations in Your Bandwidth Bill: If you are experiencing a great amount of variation in your bandwidth bill, then this is a possible sign of your WordPress website being hacked. This happens because hackers can add large files to your website that increase the amount of data downloaded on every instance a user visits your website. Moreover, the hackers can also include your website in a spam network in which case your website experience huge traffic spikes and constantly increment your bandwidth bill.
- Your Emails Bounce: This is one of the long-term effects of a hacked website and only start to show after your website has been hacked for quite a long time. Hackers, after getting control of your WordPress website, add malicious scripts to it that send tens of thousands of emails which are marked as spam by many people. Therefore, various spam lists, including spamhaus.org and barracudacentral.org, add your website to their spam list and your emails start bouncing. So only after a long time you realize that your emails are bouncing and your website might have been compromised.
- Traffic on Your WordPress Website Surges or Plummets: Increase or decrease of regular traffic is also a strong sign that points out that your WordPress website has been hacked. The increase happens only if the hacker has added your website to a network of sites that re-direct users to each other. Whereas, the decrease happens when either your website is slow or if Google blacklists your site and warn users against visiting it.
- Your WordPress Themes and Plugins are not Up-to-Date: Updates to all the WordPress themes and plugins perform a couple of essential tasks; patching security flaws and improving functionality. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep your WordPress themes and plugins up-to-date. If you won’t, then you simply invite hackers to hack your website.
- Your WordPress Website Disappears: When hackers hack your WordPress website, they can easily get into the important files that are really essential to the existence of your website. Therefore, they have full authority to delete each and every file they find, resulting in the permanent disappearance of your website. Also, if you host a server for other websites, then hacking you would give access to the hackers in deleting the other websites too.
- You Can’t Login to Your WordPress Website: This way is pretty intuitive. If you experience that you can’t login to your WordPress website with your credentials, then it is 100% possible that the credentials have been changed. A good practice to prevent this from happening is to keep a really strong password and to keep changing it every once in a while.
- Unusual CRON Jobs: Another simple trick to identify if you have been hacked is to check the CRON scheduler in the CPanel of your website and see if there is anything you did not schedule. Hackers usually add malicious tasks to the CRON scheduler, which not only hack the website but also keep it infected even after you clean it up.
- Scan Your WordPress Website: Finally, to confirm the hacking of your website, you can scan your WordPress website using isithacked.com, sucuri.net or the WordPress plugin ‘Wordfence Security’. Such tools can help you in identifying potential malware, removing harmful malware, and provide further information on how to fix further issues.