5 Signs Your WordPress Site Is Hacked (and How to Fix It)

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Yes, there are signs that your WordPress or any website has been hacked, and yes, there are ways to fix it. This article offers five ways to tell if your website has been hacked, then offers some ways to fix the problem.

Remember that a malicious attacker has several ways to access it. It could be malware or a malicious plugin, but it could be something more sinister, like your email has been hacked or your smartphone/computer has spyware. Here are some signs that your website has been hacked.

1 – You are unable to log in to your account

If you can’t log into your account, that’s a classic sign that you’ve been hacked. Yet, despite being a classic sign, it is one of the least common problems. Many hackers don’t want you to notice that you’ve been hacked. This allows them to continue to collect your customer information and/or to continue working on your website so that they can continue to operate it.

There are some really good WordPress hacks where you have to log in two or three times. It will say your password is incorrect the first time or two, and the third time it will let you in. This is because the WordPress hack is actually processing your request. On your third attempt with your real password, you are granted access and all traces of the hacker are gone.

2 – Unknown files and scripts

For those of you who know programming, you might be able to clean your own website of malware and security risks. If you have the skills, you can browse your WordPress code, you may notice unknown scripts and possibly unknown files in your WordPress. This is often caused by nefarious plugins that leave their files behind which can be used by hackers or other malware at a later date.

3 – Your website has started to slow down

It is a signal that someone is using your website for nefarious reasons. It can be anything from people linking from your images and using your bandwidth, to spammy people being redirected from your Google secure website to one of their infamous ones.

Another reason why your website may take much longer to load than normal is that it may be compromised and used as part of a larger scale botnet. In 2018, researchers identified 20,000 compromised WordPress websites operating as a botnet to carry out cyberattacks.

4 – Weird additions to your website

A stupid trick is to add pop-ups to your website. It’s silly because it alerts you to the hack and makes you react. In fact, they will add links to spammy websites where your innocent viewers will be scammed. After a while, you will be banned by search engines for being a suspicious website.

5 – Your traffic or affiliate revenue is down

This is another classic sign that your website has been hacked. The attacker is using your traffic and maybe even your affiliate money for their own purposes. Often it is strange behavior in your analytics that alerts you to a WordPress hack.

How to fix it

First, you will need to identify the source of the attack. Otherwise, you can check your server’s access logs. Once you know where the attack is coming from, you can take steps to block that IP address.

Next, you need to start changing your passwords – for your WordPress account, as well as any FTP or hosting accounts associated with your site. Be sure to use strong passwords that are hard to guess.

Additionally, you can change the WordPress primary email address in case this is a problem. You need to go through your plugins to determine if any of them caused the problem. If you installed a security plugin, check its logs to see if there are any clues.

You have to go through the people you gave permission to, because they might have fallen for a WordPress scam or a fake website and unknowingly given up their information.

You may also need to suspect your hosting provider as they are often hacked or expose customer data online without any security authentication.

If you’re still not sure, contact a website security company like Sucuri or a service like WP-Masters to let them crawl your website, fix it, remove hijackers, remove malware, and resume the full control of your website. This is often the only definitive way to regain full control of your website. Finally, you will need to clean up any malicious code that may have been injected into your site.

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