Who wants to hack your website (and why)?

We have been designing websites for several years using the WordPress platform. Over that period we’ve seen WordPress evolve from its blogging roots to become one of the most versatile and well-supported content management systems available.

But as WordPress has gained market share, we’ve also seen it increasingly targeted by hackers, vandals, and malware merchants. To keep your site safe, it helps to know more about who you are keeping it safe from and what their motives are.

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Lock it up and throw away the cyberkey!

The Hackers

Hackers want to know what makes things tick. They are curious about how various pieces of code fit together, and how they might be made to work in different ways.

Despite what Hollywood often tells us, not all hackers are bad. Many are programmers who make valuable contributions to the development community, and our security efforts would be impossible without them. But when hackers devote themselves to mischief, bad things can happen.

A hacker might crack the security on your website just to prove she can, or to poke around for private information. There may be damage, caused intentionally or not, or you may never know a hacker has been there at all unless you know what to look for.

Hacker attacks are rare unless you have done something to present your site as a challenge or worthwhile target.

The Vandals

Vandals do intend to cause damage, and for you and the rest of the world to know all about it. They will often replace the content of your site with the text and images that serve as their tags–the digital equivalent of spray-painted tags on an overpass or wall.

Vandals don’t need any particular skill to do this. Instead, they use pre-made scripts, programs, and methods developed by hackers and spread around by communities of like-minded individuals.

For you, a vandalized site is a nuisance, an inconvenience, and an invasion of privacy. To the vandals, it’s all about the bragging rights or points in a game they are playing with their friends. It’s nothing personal, and not because of anything you’ve said or done to draw attention to yourself.

The Malware Merchants

The malware merchants, are gangsters, crooks, and thieves. They intend to use your server space, your computing power, your bandwidth, your personal information, your web traffic, and your contacts to make money for themselves.

That is their business model.

Malware merchants will insert malware, viruses, and spammy links into your pages and hope that you don’t notice. Like the vandals, they don’t use skill or finesse–just tools or hired guns that are easily available in the darkest corners of the Internet.

Are you ready?

These days, almost as soon as a new site goes online, it will be probed and prodded by attackers from all over the world.

  • Will your security hold up?
  • Will you know if you’ve been attacked?
  • Will you be able to quickly recover?
  • Will you be able to upgrade your security as new defensive measures become available?

If you have questions or concerns about your website security, give us a call to arrange a consultation.

Posted in Security

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