In 2022, hackers actively exploited a zero-day flaw in the latest version of a WordPress premium plugin known as WPGateway, potentially allowing access to over 280,000 WordPress sites. In addition, a wide-ranging campaign to inject malicious code into WordPress-run websites has been ongoing for at least five years, with more than 1 million sites affected.
According to our best estimates, around 13,000 WordPress sites are hacked every day – that’s around 9 per minute. Sources: https://ithemes.com/blog/the-2022-wordpress-vulnerability-annual-report/, https://www.dailyhostnews.com/280000-wordpress-sites-hacked-by-exploitation-of-cve-2022-3180, https://colorlib.com/wp/wordpress-hacking.
Knowing whether your WordPress site has been hacked is essential to take prompt action and mitigate any potential damage. Here are some common signs that may indicate your site has been compromised:
- Unexpected website behavior: If your website starts behaving strangely, such as displaying unfamiliar content, pop-ups, or redirects to spammy websites, it could be a sign of a hack.
- Unusual admin activity: Unauthorized users with administrative access or unfamiliar plugins and themes installed on your site can be indicators of a breach.
- Slow performance: If your site suddenly becomes sluggish or unresponsive, it might be due to hackers injecting malicious scripts or using your server resources for their activities.
- Google warnings: Google may flag your site as “This site may be hacked” or “This site may harm your computer” in search results if they detect malware or other suspicious activity.
- Browser warnings: Modern browsers may display security warnings when users try to visit your site, indicating that it has been flagged for malicious content.
- Unexplained traffic spikes: A sudden increase in traffic from unfamiliar sources or locations might indicate that your site is being used for nefarious purposes, such as a phishing campaign or hosting malware.
- Unusual email activity: If you start receiving an unusually high number of bounced emails or spam complaints, your site might have been hacked and used to send spam emails.
- Modified or deleted files: Check your site’s files and folders for unexpected changes or deletions. You can use file integrity monitoring tools or compare your site’s current state against a known clean backup.
- Suspicious server logs: Review your server logs for any unusual activities, such as multiple failed login attempts, unauthorized file uploads, or unfamiliar IP addresses accessing your site.
- Blacklisting by security providers: Security providers like Sucuri or Wordfence may blacklist your site if they detect malicious activity.
To confirm if your site has been hacked, you can use online scanning tools like Sucuri SiteCheck or Wordfence Scan. If you suspect your WordPress site has been compromised, take immediate action to clean up the site, change all passwords, update plugins and themes, and implement security measures to prevent future attacks. It’s also crucial to maintain regular backups of your site to facilitate recovery in case of a breach.