So your site has been hacked and you’re probably wondering…
What do they want?
Is my info safe…
Is my customer data protected?
How can I prevent this from happening again?
Now, to help you make sense of it all, let’s start with
Why did your website get hacked with Malware?
Cybercriminals make money through ransomware, spammy backlinks, and collecting and selling people’s data (even card info).
The most common WordPress malware changes a website so that when certain visitors come to it they are redirected to a spam website that usually asks the viewer to click something or answer a question which can then infect that person’s device.
It looks something like this:
Fortunately, most people recognise that there’s something not quite right and close the page.
But for the less internet-wise, if they make the wrong click they could be opening themselves up to a virus being downloaded to their device.
And if their device is not well protected, then the virus can expose sensitive information for selling purposes or hold that person ransom by requesting that they either pay money or get ‘exposed’.
There are other bad things these viruses can do, none of which are good.
Some malware adds or changes links on your website to redirect to other dodgy sites to help them rank better on Google. This is called SEO spam and is one of the more lucrative ways cybercriminals monetize hacked sites.
One of the scariest Malware types can sit silently on a site and steal customer card details during the checkout process.
At the end of the day, it’s crime.
And what do criminals want?
So why was your website targeted specifically?
Actually, it’s nothing personal.
The number one reason WordPress websites get Malware is from outdated plugins and themes which should be done weekly, or at least, monthly.
The other main causes are insecure passwords and non-updated code.
Hackers (and cybercrime syndicates) create automated scripts that look for vulnerable WordPress websites with outdated code and insecure passwords.
So you see, they are not targeting you specifically, they are just searching for easy targets.
The next big question is…
Once malware Malware gets into your site, is its data and customer info compromised?
Unfortunately, in extreme cases, yes.
We haven’t experienced this before but it is possible for Malware to access customer info and payment details.
Not what you want to hear, I know, but it does emphasise the critical importance of website safety and security.
This leads to the final questions;
How can I prevent this from happening or from reoccurring?
Firstly, once a website is infected with Malware, it’s quite common in the first few weeks to be reinfected.
This happens if the site is not cleaned and secured thoroughly, or if hackers create a “back door” to regain access to the site.
Or, it could be due to a plugin or theme not being up to date, or a compromised and unsafe plugin.
Why all the updates?
Plugins and themes are upgraded so regularly to evolve and improve with the ever-changing improvements and vulnerabilities of the web.
The greatest benefit of WordPress websites is also one of its biggest weaknesses – Plugins.
Even some of the most widely used plugins (some used on millions of websites) have become compromised. For example, let’s say a plugin is used on 100,000 sites and it gets a virus, then all 100,000 sites are exposed.
These issues are picked up really quickly and a security patch is released within days, but if you don’t update the plugin’s latest version with the security patch, your website will eventually pick up the malware.
So, it’s pretty clear what you need to do:
To prevent malware infections and reinfections, our first recommendation is to use a premium Malware removal and prevention service called Malcare.
For step-by-step instructions, check out our quick guide for WordPress website malware removal & prevention.
I’m here to chat if you have any questions,