Common Signals That WordPress Site was Hacked

There are some common signs that may help you figure out if your WordPress site is hacked such as suddenly behaving oddly or a drop in traffic, or perhaps changed theme, or maybe even new content. And now you can’t log in.

Hackers experiment with new ways to gain illegitimate access to websites each day. So it’s impossible to predict all the signs that your website has been hacked. In this article we will show you the common signals that your site has been hacked, to avoid presenting malicious content to your visitors without even realizing it.

Let’s get started!

  1. Spam Links Added to Your Website

This is one of the most common signs, hackers create a backdoor on your WordPress site which gives them access to modify your WordPress files and database.

Spam links are added to the footer of your website or any where. Deleting the links will not guarantee that they will not come back. You will need to find and fix the backdoor used to inject this data into your website.

  1. Unexpected Users Are Registering on Your Site

If your site is open to user registration, and you are not using any spam registration protection, then spam user accounts are just common spam that you can simply delete.

If you have registrations turned off and someone is still adding users, that means someone else has administrative powers. You might find the accounts under the Users menu in your dashboard, However, the suspicious account will have administrator user role, and in some cases you can not delete it from your WordPress admin area.

  1. Your site’s traffic have dropped due to hackers

If you look at your Google Analytics reports and see a sudden drop in traffic, then this could be a sign that your WordPress site is hacked.

Malware and trojans that targets websites will typically divert visitors to spam website. These will almost certainly be scam sites, and exist with the single aim of conning you.

  1. You are Unable to Login to WordPress

If you are unable to login to your WordPress site, then there is a chance that hackers may have deleted your admin account from WordPress. So you would not be able to reset your password from the login page.

hacked-incorrect-admin-password

There are other ways to add an admin account using phpMyAdmin or via FTP. However, your site will remain unsafe until you figure out how a hacker got into your website.

  1. Unknown Files and Scripts on your server

When you connect to your WordPress site using via FTP. The most common place where you will find malicious files and scripts is the /wp-content/ folder. Unknown files are named like WordPress files to hide in plain sight. Deleting these files immediately will not guarantee that these files will not return. You will need to audit the security of your website specially file and directory structure.

  1. Your Website is Slow or Unresponsive

Hackers attack your computers and servers from all over the world using fake ips. Sometimes they are just sending too many requests to your server, other times they are actively trying to break into your website. So it will make your website slow, unresponsive, and unavailable. You will need to check your server logs to see which ips are making too many requests and block them.

  1. Your Browser Alerts You To The Hack

If you or your visitors see one of the following warnings in Chrome, your site has likely been hacked and infected with malware.

hacked-attack-warning

This warning indicates that your site has been used in phishing campaigns. A victim is emailed a URL that contains a link to your website. A hacker is using your website to host malware that tricks the victim into taking some action that the hacker wants when they visit your site.

hacked-malware-attack-warning

The above warning indicates that your site is hosting malware. A hacker has gained access to your site, installed malware on the site and is infecting machines belonging to your site visitors.

  1. Failure to Send or Receive WordPress Emails

Hacked servers are commonly used for spam. Most WordPress hosting companies offer free email accounts with your hosting. Many WordPress site owners use their host’s mail servers to send WordPress emails.

If you are unable to send or recieve WordPress emails, then there is a chance that your mail server is hacked to send spam emails.

  1. Your WordPress Site Redirects to Another URL

Your site may be redirected to another site and you have to face that your URL has been compromised and is potentially harmful.

This issue often goes hand in hand with the previously discussed dip in traffic. Check your website while logged in and out of your admin account, as some redirects intentionally only impact users who are logged out (to avoid detection by the administrator for as long as possible).

There is one exception it’s worth being aware of, however. If the redirect goes to a location you recognize as appropriate to your business, and you have a dedicated developer, talk to them about the redirect first (as it may have been intentional).

  1. Spam Emails Are Being Sent

When people sign up to your site, they surrender their email address. This makes it easy for them to reset their password, for example. Hackers can take advantage of this by utilizing your host’s servers and sending spam emails to your regular visitors.

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We recommend you regularly sign into Google’s Search Console to check your site status, look at your own site in the search results to ensure that everything is in order and visit your own site frequently in Google Chrome where you will notice browser warnings. Developing a healthy routine of checks will help you catch problems early and fix them before any damage occurs. You can also check our guide on how to Fixing Your Hacked WordPress Site for more details.

We hope this article helped you look for 10 signals that your WordPress site is hacked.  If you have any further questions for us, don’t hesitate to put it up in the comments.
See you again in orther tutorials!

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