Why Do Small Websites Get Hacked

WordPress Security 9 min read
Last Update on November 29, 2022

For a long time, people thought that even the most advanced cyber attacks couldn’t hurt small businesses. But what the hackers have done recently tells a different story. Symantec, a security company, says that cyberattacks on small businesses rose by 300 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Insert Malicious Content on Your Page

Most of the time, hackers break into small websites that don’t matter much in order to put their harmful content or code on the front end of your WordPress site. If they are successful, anyone who clicks on a malicious link on your site could be sent to a spam site.

Not only that, but if the hackers link your website’s content to a spam site, they can send all of your site’s visitors to that site. They can also get the same results by leaving spam comments, submitting real content, and taking over emails.

Fetch the Visitor’s Data

Cyberattacks are a problem not just for the people who own the websites but also for the people who visit them. Many hackers target small but legitimate websites to get users’ information (user id, password, card details, etc.). They can use it for many things, most of which are illegal. If your company helps students write essays, hackers can use the information about the students who visit to blackmail them.

As you may know, if the website’s security is broken in any way, it is not good for the business. Most of the time, this is because cyberattacks can be used to get visitors’ personal information, and since user data is sensitive information, getting access to it in an unethical way can put you in a questionable position. You may also have to pay

Spread Malware

Another reason attackers go for smaller websites is to infect users’ PCs and mobile devices with malware. Since small sites have fewer security layers, hackers find it easy to install malware that infects the devices of people who visit the site.

Hackers can do this by adding malicious code to the back end of a WordPress site or by uploading files that can be downloaded on the front end. If you get attacked this way, it can affect much to your business. Search engines usually mark infected websites as “malicious.”

After such an attack, the SEO ranking will take so long to improve. Your site could also end up on several other blacklists. But the worst thing that will happen is that visitors will stop trusting them.

Stealing the Private Information of the Business

Hackers don’t always break into a website to get information about its users. They sometimes want to get important information about the company from its website. Hackers may get that information and hold it for ransom if you run a small business and keep all the essential information on the site.

Ransomware attacks on WordPress sites are nothing new. Last year, WannaCry ransomware was in a lot of news stories. Even though the number of these attacks has decreased recently, experts think they may be on the rise soon. Small businesses should not sync all their important data on their websites.

Use the Website’s Web Server to Host Phishing Pages

Phishing pages or websites are the landing pages that hackers set up on a site they have attacked to get information from users. Since most people can’t tell the difference between an actual website and a phishing page, they end up giving away their personal information on the phishing page.

They might try to copy the look of a popular website with a lot of users, like Facebook or Gmail. So when someone visits such a phishing site, they think it is the actual Facebook or Gmail login page. As the user tries to log in to that page, hackers steal their login information to use it for bad things.

Steal the Website’s Server Bandwidth

Bandwidth is a group of wires or fiber that connects a server to a single network. Internet service providers (ISPs) often limit bandwidth because sending too much data can slow down the whole system. Because of this, hackers often break into a website and steal its bandwidth so they can use it to host their activities.

Other things that could be done are mining for cryptocurrency and brute force attacks. If a group of hackers wants to, they can use the hardware from web servers to efficiently mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero. A brute force attack, on the other hand, uses a website that has been hacked to attack other WordPress websites.

Overload Your Web Server

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is a coordinated attack from a botnet that sends a lot of fake traffic to a target website. Most of the time, hackers use this type of hacking to shut down a website. There could be more than one reason:

No matter why it’s hard for small business websites to get back on their feet after taking such a big hit. Hackers find it easier to attack smaller sites because they are not as well protected.

Get Their Words Out in the Open

Hackers will sometimes take over a small website to spread their message. By attacking your site, they will be able to reach a large number of users. Most of the time, hackers do it to look good in the hacker community.

“Street cred” is a term that is often used to describe this. Finding out something that no one else knows makes them look cool in the eyes of their peers.

This could be a part of a group’s political movement. This kind of campaign can significantly affect the people who see it. Criminals have often done things like this to show the world how powerful they are. Last year, one of these campaigns moved at a very fast pace. After 24 hours, it was found that 19 different attack campaigns had hit the WordPress sites.

Host Genuine Pages on the Web Server

This is less likely to happen, but hackers make fake pages on high-ranking websites to help their SEO. Most of the time, this kind of page is about brands that hackers want to promote. They also include links back to the website they are trying to promote.

Even though this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, it can’t be ignored. The competitor company might pay a group of hackers to put something on your website that badmouths your brand. People will not understand why hackers do it. They are more likely to think it’s part of a trick to get people to buy something.

Conclusion

A great online platform will attract hackers regardless of how small your audience is or how much you spend on hosting. But there are several ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. You can also add some security layers to your website if you want to.

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