Hackers are targeting your website, and you can let them be your website’s kryptonite — or you can be proactive and protect it.
“Wait, why are hackers targeting my website? I’m no Oprah, I’m no Hilary or Bernie!” you may be asking (sorry, I don’t keep up with celebrities, so Oprah + political figures are the best I can muster #nerd).
Here’s the thang: hackers don’t care how popular or big your website is (or isn’t). Hackers are targeting your website regardless — and they’re doing it all the freakin’ time, mind you — because they’re assholes (in a nutshell).
Let’s dig into the whys and also what you can do about it (fret not, there is plenty you can do to protect yourself against website kryptonite!).
Why hackers are targeting your website
It’s cheap for them to try to hack you. In fact, most often it’s an automated brute force effort (where hackers attempt to log in many times repeatedly guessing different passwords and user names) as opposed to a manual effort. In other words, it’s not a greasy-haired geek in thick glasses trying to hack into your website — it’s his software doing it for him.
By hacking your website, these jerks can gain access to your server and use it for free to do things like send a zillion spam emails, hide their identity, insert links into your website that take people to other websites that sell things (sometimes only search engines can see these links, and these sketchy websites’ search rankings skyrocket), or insert blatant ads into your website that take people to other websites that sell things.
Listen, some people are just bored and mean and pathetic and wanna screw around (lots of teenagers in this group!). Maybe they want bragging rights so they can show off to their similarly pathetic-loser friends. Or maybe they have a worthy political cause (or not and, again, they’re just jerkfaces).
You can read this article on Sucuri on why websites get hacked for techie details on automated attacks and the motives behind them.
The good news
Heyyyy there’s good news, too! There are things you can do that are easy and quick and even free that are going to go an extremely long way to protect your website and make it as hacker-proof (a.k.a. kryptonite-proof) as possible.
WordPress(.org) runs about 25% of the entire internet (WHOA!). So hackers have a serial (and cereal?! Yum…) incentive to figure out how to get their grimy little code into it and the software it runs, so they can potentially infect a quarter of the goddamn internet.
It even happened to me maaaany a moon ago, back when I was a writer with zero Website Superhero knowledge, and all my little amateurish, templatey website had was some writing samples. And yet I got hacked.
But don’t worry, because I’m also gonna get into easy + quick + free ways you can protect your website TODAY. (Things I didn’t know I should’ve been doing back when it happened to me.)
What’s important to remember is that being on WordPress doesn’t make you vulnerable — being on WordPress and having an outdated, insecure website does.
So let’s explore various effective ways you can take your website from attracting hackers to punching them in their pasty faces (ka-pow!).
How to protect your website from hackers
There are plenty of things you can do and I’ve written about them before:
- Implement security basics
- Delete your admin user and replace it with a secure one
- Make sure you have backups of your website running (I recommend Backup Buddy for the job). Having backups is part of a solid disaster recovery plan.
- Learn how to set up the free security plugin Wordfence
- Choose a great hosting provider for your website to help keep you safe at the server level
- Only got 5 minutes to spare? Check out the 5-minute WordPress checkup.
The lesson? No business is too small — hackers are targeting your website, period. Everyone’s at risk. The good news? You can easily protect it.