Avoiding malware attacks on your WordPress website

What are malware attacks, and where do they come from?

Malware, also known as malicious software, is a term that is used to describe a vast collection of harmful and disruptive programs. Understanding them and protecting your website against malware should be at the top of your priority list. Before you learn how to keep your website safe, you need to understand a little more about malware and where it can come from. Different types of malware can infect and hurt your site in different ways, so it’s important to take security measures to prevent them from getting into your site.

Malware actually originated before the internet, and the earliest cases were seen around 1971. During this time, malware was almost completely harmless. However, it has now grown to be one of the largest threats to all digital systems and software. As malware has evolved, it has learnt new ways of damaging systems. With new types of malware being discovered every day, it can be an almost impossible task to keep up to date with how to protect your website from vicious attacks.

Whilst no devices or sites are ever going to be 100% safe or secure against malware; there are some ways you can protect your site from becoming infected or damaged. In this blog, we will take a look at the different types of malware you can expect to come against, what they could do to your website and most importantly, how to protect yourself and your livelihood from an attack.

The different types of malware and the dangers they pose

Now that you know a little more about malware and where it started, let’s take a look at some of the different strains of computer viruses and what they could do to your system should they break in:

Ransomware: Aptly named, once ransomware is in your system, it will hold your site to ransom until you pay the creators to remove it. The creators can charge astronomical amounts to free your site, and ultimately it’s up to you whether it’s worth buying back or moving on.

Trojan Horse: Much like the Greek soldiers who were hidden inside the belly of the trojan horse, this software will pretend to have one offering but will secretly perform something else behind the scenes, including corrupting your WordPress files or exploiting your resources.

Virus: The term is used to describe a host of malware; however, Virus does refer to one specific piece of software that will insert its own code into other programs, thus adding spam content or infecting visitors’ computers. Think of Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet!

Cryptocurrency miners: A new type of malware which infects a site and uses resources to mine bitcoin. This will slow your site down and leave it vulnerable to other attacks.

Adware: Have you ever been forced to interact with an advert before you can use a site? Although it can be harmless, it is undoubtedly annoying and can often make your visitors want to leave before they have even begun.

Spyware: This software infects your site but remains hidden, so it can take information from your visitors. This virus can lead to data breaches and the loss of personal data.

Whilst these are the most common types of malware, it is by no means a comprehensive list. As you can see, malware comes in all shapes and sizes and can do a number of damaging things to your system, so how do you protect yourself and your site from being infected?

Avoiding malware in 4 easy steps

WordPress is generally a very secure platform and a great place to start when designing your website. You will, however, still want to take some steps to tighten your site defences and protect your visitors. WordPress has a number of security routines and features that we recommend you implement, as these will go a long way to securing your site. Once you have this underway, there are some other ways to protect your business against threats of malware.

Strengthen your login page

Attackers will spend most of their time trying to break in through your login page, as this will give them access to everything. It makes sense, therefore, to protect your login page. We recommend you choose a strong username and password that is not relevant to your business. Enabling two-factor authentication is also a good idea. Two-factor authentication will require a mobile device to confirm it’s you before letting you in. Finally, WordPress offer a plugin called Limit Login Attempts Reloaded that will stop people from making constant attempts to break into your site.

Keep your site updated

The easiest way to protect your site is to ensure it remains as updated as possible. This includes any themes, files and plugins that have been installed. Older versions of your site will have vulnerabilities that make it easier for malware to get in. WordPress should prompt you to keep various parts of your site updated, and if you have a website developer to hand, it may be worth asking them to spend some time with you to teach you how to look out for updates.

Add a security plugin

WordPress offers some brilliant security plugins that will help you go even further to protect your site. We recommend discussing these with your web developer to find out which ones would be suitable for protecting your website.

Back up your site regularly

Whilst you may only use a backup once your site has been infected, if you have no backups, you will have lost the entirety of your data and content. Backups will revert your site to an earlier state. Rebooting your site to a time when it wasn’t under attack. Whilst you may have lost some data in the process, you will not have lost everything. Working with a reliable web developer will ensure you have regular backups of your site when you need them most.

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YostratO are your local WordPress website experts

To keep your website and business protected from the malware that is working hard to bring it down, we recommend you work closely with an expert website developer who will be able to protect your site on an ongoing basis, leaving you to get on with your daily business operations.

YostratO supports hundreds of businesses across the Home Counties and London to keep their sites safe and secure and out of the hands of malware and attackers. For more information on how we help our clients, get in touch today and speak to a friendly member of the team.