Below is an image that NOBODY wants to see, a Google blacklist screen. This happens when your website has been hacked, and Googlebot finds malware on your site.
What hackers look for
Why this warning now? Several friends and associates were recently hacked by some Russian hackers who ransomed their site, asking for money to remove their malware!
All the hacked sites were WordPress sites. Some had easy to hack passwords, others had machine generated complex passwords. They were hosted at a variety of hosting companies.
The only thing they ALL HAD IN COMMON was that they were not using the most recent version of WordPress. Some were using very old versions, and some were using fairly recent versions.
Take three simple and doable steps to protect your WordPress website
1. Back up your website regularly.
If you are hacked, you may have no choice but to start out fresh. That means reinstalling WordPress and your latest backed up version of your website.
Think of the tragedy a hacker can create if you don’t have a recent backup!
There are several ways to accomplish this. You have a backup manager as part of your cPanel. Go there, learn how to use it and back up regularly.
I discovered a simple plug-in option that I’ve grown to love – Backup Creator. I purchased and have installed it on all my websites. It takes a click and a few minutes to create and archive a complete back up.
Back up Creator has an affiliate program that I’m signed up for. If you click the link above and you end up purchasing it, I get a little benefit. I’d recommend it even if I didn’t… but I do, so use the link if you decide to buy.
2 Update immediately to the latest version of WordPress
This is vital. When WordPress updates it usually includes a security update. They publish the security weakness that they are correcting.
Guess what hackers read?!? Those updates give hackers a roadmap to invade the websites of anyone who is lazy about updating!
You might be thinking, “lil of Me??? My website is small beans. I’ll never get hacked.” 80% of the sites that were recently hacked were in that “small beans” category.
If you don’t regularly update, you’re asking for trouble.
You’ll notice that I put backing up first. Start every updating session with a backup. Sometimes backing up will cause a plug in to break or something else to go wrong. You want that back up just in case.
3. Keep your plugins updated.
Plugins can be a back door for hackers. Keep them backed up.
And while we’re on the subject of plugins, do an inventory of all your plugins and get rid of any you’re not using. Plugins can seriously slow down your website’s loading speed.
There are a zillion different plugin options, and it’s easy to get crazy loading gadgets that don’t serve your customer. And suddenly you find that your site loads so slowly, nobody has patience to stick around to see how wonderful you are.
So there you have it. Three important things everyone can and should do to protect their WordPress website.
If you feel like doing more, google “protect wordpress websites from hackers” and you’ll find a whole menu of additional practices, if you are really security conscious.
Here are several past posts about internet security: