WordPress is one of the most popular systems in use, with over 40% of all websites currently in use. Being such a popular system also means there are more potential vulnerabilities, simply because these vulnerabilities have the potential to affect so many websites.
Why are we talking about them? Because knowing the types of vulnerabilities that can affect your site, and how to protect yourself can oftentimes be the difference between a secure and responsive site, and a bloated site riddled with issues. And with that, let’s get into malware.
What is Malware?
What is malware? Malware is typically software that is intentionally designed to cause harm to your computer, server, client, or network, but it’s also a blanket term that includes trojans, viruses, worms, and other programs whose sole purpose is to lead a path of destruction in its wake, and in the process, leak data and information that would otherwise be secure. If you’re dealing with a virus, for example, that virus is going to self-replicate and inset its code throughout your site. For the purposes of this article, we are using malware as a blanket term.
How Malware Enters Your Website
There are multiple ways malware worms its way into your site, making yourself and users vulnerable. Potential paths include using out-of-date plugins, nulled plugins, or not renewing license keys. Failing to update necessary plugins and license keys opens you to all sorts of issues, not just malware problems. New, better, or safer versions of plugins come out in order to improve your site, not only to make something cool. Ignoring an unrenewed license key is in the same vein as failing to update plugins. You can miss out on new, updated features, bug fixes, and enhancements. Again, these changes are meant to be functional, and make your website run better.
Using nulled plugins (as we’ve covered in an earlier blog), can open yourself to issues because they have zero support. There’s no one to update them. There’s no one who alerts you and other users if there’s a problem or a vulnerability within said plugin. Once you purchase it, that’s it. You're on your own. And you have no idea who created it, or really, what it can do to your site.
How Your WordPress Site is Affected
The longer malware goes undetected, the longer it’s going to affect your WordPress site. Just like an illness working its way through your body, malware will infect every part of your WordPress site, rendering it completely useless. Malware can make your link to unrelated sites, spamming users and destroying SEO. All that work you put into getting your site to the top of a search is now gone. Your site can become painfully slow, increasing the bounce rate and making it difficult to use. User or client spamming can happen as well. Imagine one of your clients suddenly receives 50 emails from you in a matter of hours. How much time would lapse before they hit the unsubscribe button? And finally, your site can also be blacklisted, making it impossible for anyone to find you.
Just one of these issues can have negative ramifications for your website. A combination of issues can devastate your website.
Protecting Your Site
It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to securing your site. Maintaining updates, and monitoring your sites for any issues and vulnerabilities can keep you and your users safe. But what if you don’t have enough time to worry about your site’s safety and security? A simple and effective solution is one of Curious Minds’ WordPress maintenance plans. With one of our WordPress plans, your site is constantly monitored by one of our full-stack developers. They’ll keep your site secure, to date, and keep your clients happy. Talk to one of our developers today and see what we can do for you.