Fixing site vandalism does not have to be hard to do…
For small business owners, websites are vital components of their enterprise. It is their digital storefront and is responsible for creating potential customers’ first impressions of the business. It also serves as a showcase of your products.
As such, the defacement of a business website would have lasting negative consequences on the company. Read on to learn more about this particular WordPress issue.
Why Do WordPress Sites Get Defaced? – Fixing Site Vandalism
Cyber defacement relates to “hacktivism,” the use of computer networks like the internet to promote a cause or political message. This method of protesting against an organization or entity is a gray area—while many hacktivists claim an ideology, their critics point out that defacement hurts the website owner’s freedom.
Attacks like these typically happen to websites of government agencies and organizations like the FBI or the United States White House. Hackers often display political or religious images, offensive phrases, and the signature of the person or group responsible.
Website defacement also happens for reasons other than geopolitical. Sometimes, radicals target websites of other religions. They might also deface a website for the thrill of it—there are even contests that award hackers points for defacing the most web pages in the shortest period.
How Do Hackers Deface Websites? – Fixing Site Vandalism
Hackers use various techniques to deface websites, like brute force attacks, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and DNS hijacking. They could also use malware to infect a website to gain unauthorized access. An SQL injection, also known as SQLI, uses a malicious SQL code to attack the backend of databases and handle information unintended for displaying on a site. This can include user lists, private customer details, and other confidential data.
Meanwhile, cross-site scripting or WordPress XSS attacks inject malicious code into vulnerable applications. XSS does not attack the application itself; instead, it goes directly for its users. Successful cross-site scripting attacks can have severe consequences for an organization’s reputation.
DNS redirection involves hijacking the domain name server and resolving DNS queries incorrectly, redirecting users to malicious sites. Hackers install malware—software that infects individual computers or networks—to conduct this attack.
Malware targets vulnerabilities like bugs in software that they can hijack. Malware infiltration causes data theft, extortion, and network system paralysis. It can also affect your SEO rankings negatively. Consult a WordPress repair service immediately if you suspect that you had been the victim of a website defacement.
How Does a Defacement Affect A WordPress Site? – Fixing Site Vandalism
Defacements and attacks have many serious consequences. First, it could cause your website to display warning messages. For example, Google shows a “This Site May Be Hacked” message to people who click your URL from SERPs. WordPress might also show a 500 Internal Server Error for some pages. You could also receive a Siteground or WordPress account suspension.
What’s worse, not all defacements are purely acts of vandalism. Sometimes, hackers use them as diversions. While people are focused on the defacement, they could already be stealing sensitive information, installing malware, or carrying out other more damaging attacks.
Is a Defacement the Same as a Phishing Attack? – Fixing Site Vandalism
The primary difference between phishing and defacement attacks would be motivation. Defacements are often more political or ideological, while phishing targets personal information and financial details.
However, some malicious actors might not be above using cyber vandalism to distract website administrators as they carry out a phishing attack. Once a hacker has privileged access to a computer or system, they can bypass various security controls and carry out other acts.
Conclusion – Fixing Site Vandalism
A WordPress site defacement attack could drive visitors away, damage your reputation, and give potential customers the impression that you cannot or will not protect your business online. Although it’s easy to identify and detect a defacement, getting rid of it requires downtime, which translates to lost revenue.
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