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How to know if your WordPress site has been hacked?
Jul 8, 2024 4 minutes read

How to know if your WordPress site has been hacked?

As a business owner, your WordPress website is crucial for your operations and online presence. If you notice something unusual on your site, such as unexpected changes, unusual behavior, or performance issues, you might start wondering how to know if your WordPress site has been hacked. This raises important questions: “Has my website been hacked?” and “How do I know if I’m getting hacked?”. Here are some key signs to consider:

1. Unexpected changes to your website

Have you noticed unexpected changes to your website? For example, this could include new content that you didn’t add, strange pop-ups appearing, or even entire pages changing without your authorization. If your website looks different and you didn’t authorize the changes, it’s a sign that something might be wrong.

2. The website is running slow

Is your website suddenly running very slow? A significant slowdown in your website’s performance can be a red flag. If your site becomes unusually sluggish, it might be due to malicious scripts running in the background. Hackers often insert code that consumes resources, drastically affecting your site’s speed and reliability.

3. The website is blacklisted

Has your website been blacklisted by search engines? If search engines like Google have blacklisted your site, it’s a strong indication that it’s been hacked. This usually occurs when search engines detect that your site is spreading malware. If blacklisted, search engines might not display your website in results. Additionally, users may see a warning message like ‘This site may harm your computer’ when trying to visit.

Google blacklist the website

4. Spammy or malicious content

Do you see any spammy or malicious content on your site? Injected spammy content, like unsolicited advertisements or links to dubious websites, is a common sign of hacking. If you see content on your site that you didn’t post, especially in the form of spammy links or ads, it’s likely that your site has been hacked.

5. Users report strange behavior

Have users reported strange behavior on your site? Often, the first indication of a hack comes from your users. They might report being redirected to strange websites, receiving unusual pop-ups, or experiencing other forms of unusual behavior when they visit your site.

6. Unauthorized user accounts

Have you found any unfamiliar user accounts on your site? When there is a vulnerability, hackers often create new user accounts, preferring to add new admin accounts to gain and maintain access to your site. This allows them to access your site without the primary admin noticing. You might also receive emails about password changes that you didn’t initiate. If you notice unfamiliar accounts, especially with administrative privileges, or receive unexpected password change notifications, hackers might have compromised your website. Thus, it is important to act immediately.

WordPress suspicious admin users - hacked WordPress

7. Receiving security warnings

Are you getting security warnings? If you receive warnings from your web host about unusual activity, don’t ignore them. These alerts are designed to notify you of potential security breaches.

Do you know hidden threats can lurk unseen?

Not noticing anything wrong with how your site is working? Not all hacks show symptoms on the frontend. Some hacks hide within the system, waiting to be used. It’s essential to check your WordPress site from the inside. Many online tools only scan the site externally, which means they might miss hidden problems lurking in your system. These external scans are limited and can overlook serious threats that aren’t visible on the surface.

If you notice these problems, you might naturally worry about how to know if your WordPress site has been hacked. Once you spot any of these warning signs, it’s crucial to act fast to prevent further damage.

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Stay tuned

By staying vigilant and proactive, you can easily protect your business from the negatives of a hacked website. In the next article, we’ll explore what steps to take if you discover that your WordPress site has been hacked. Stay tuned!

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