Site maintenance is more than simply adding new content. Although new content is definitely important for SEO purposes, there are many other updates that you need to consider when maintaining a website. New content won’t stop your site from being hacked.
Many times, we use the word “Hacker” like there is some malicious person sitting behind a keyboard, gleefully chuckling as he attempts to crack your password. We picture a Mountain-Dew-drinking, hoodie-wearing geek cackling maniacally as he breaks into your site. That’s simply not the case. 99% of the time, it’s an automated script, or bot, that’s searching for vulnerabilities. It notices what type of site you have and starts running through a list of common weaknesses. However, for the sake of this article, we’re looking at the hacker as an actual person, because it’s easier to visualize.
“But why would someone want to hack MY site?” you may ask as a small business owner. “I don’t have any customer information. I don’t do online sales, so there’s no ecommerce information worth stealing. There’s nothing worth hacking me for.”
Actually, there are several reasons hackers might be interested in your site. Graffiti artists spray-paint the sides of buildings and steal nothing. Similarly, there are web “graffiti artists” who break into small websites. Many are using technology like packet sniffers, to steal login information from coffee shops and other unsecure networks. Typically referred to as Script Kiddies, they break into sites using other people’s cracking code, just to see if they can. Some are neophytes, training themselves to be better hackers, to go after bigger sites.
These graffiti hackers are the least of your concern. The same way you’d simply repaint your building if it got spray painted, your website graffiti can be cleaned. More often, a small site is hacked for its server access. Small sites tend to live on shared hosting accounts.
Hackers who take over your server access can affect your site in important ways. Possibly, they are using your site to send out spam mail. Now, your IP address is getting blacklisted, and your emails aren’t going through to your customers because of negative reports coming from your site. Maybe the hackers are using your server to attack another, larger site. It’s possible that they are going to use all of your available bandwidth to attack a credit card/government/political site. (These types of attacks are called DDoS, which stands for Distributed Denial of Service.) All of a sudden, your site slows way down, and customers are bouncing off your site because it takes too long. Since customers won’t waste time waiting for slow, clunky websites, you’re losing customers.
So, what can you do? For your business model, there’s no budget to hire a big web security firm to constantly monitor your site for attacks. You bought a site, and you thought you were done. Stop shaking your fist angrily at the sky, cursing the Internet. Davis Advertising offers security tune-ups, as well as basic security and maintenance services that should help keep the majority of the issues described in this blog post from occurring on your WordPress installation.