Outdated WordPress Sites Become the New Target for Cyber Attacks

Older versions of WordPress sites have recently become the most popular target for cyber-attacks. Cybernews researchers first learned about these crimes in December of last year.

Outdated WordPress Sites Become the New Target for Cyber Attacks

Older versions of WordPress sites have recently become the most popular target for cyber-attacks. Cybernews researchers first learned about these crimes in December of last year, which led to the discovery of a money-making scheme. Hundreds of websites began to run malicious phishing ads after hackers injected a malicious PHP script disguised as legitimate WordPress plugins.

Vincentas Baubonis of the Cybernews team stated: “This particular piece of JavaScript code caught the team's eye because of heavy obfuscation and weird deployment conditions. Code obfuscation is a technique employed by legitimate developers and threat actors to prevent reverse engineering. In this case, it was used to reverse the actual payload for concealment of malicious code”

The malicious scheme resulted in innocent users being directed to malicious sites, where their data and devices were compromised and were at risk.

Top 5 reasons why you need to update your website:

  1. Cyber-Security – As mentioned above, outdated websites have become the most recent targets for cyber-attacks. This is due to the fact that, as cybercrime evolves and becomes more advanced, technology must also evolve to be just as advanced, if not more advanced, to deal with these cybercrimes. This is why, if your website is out of date, it will lack all of the necessary security to keep you and your website safe.
  2. Site speed – In an age that values time more than ever, the time to engage your audience has reduced significantly over the years. The most common cause of a high bounce rate is a slow site speed. The older your website gets, the slower it will perform. This is because your website is not fully optimised.
  3. Brand image – First impressions matter and your website is often the golden ticket to making a good first impression. Your website is a direct reflection of your company, and it helps to set the tone and feel of your company as well as portray your brand image. A well-designed, up-to-date website can not only support your brand message but can also be the deciding factor in whether a lead becomes a customer. An outdated website often leads people to question: ‘Does the company still exist?’ and will most likely be deterred from your site due to them questioning the validity of your entire brand.
  4. Mobile-friendly optimisation – With mobile devices accounting for roughly half of all web traffic, it is obvious that your website must be mobile-friendly. When your website is not optimised for mobile, you run the risk of losing half of your potential customers.
  5. Google best practices and SEO standards – Updating your website on a regular basis can help you adhere to Google best practices and will almost always prioritise showing users the most relevant and useful content. Google has some basic principles when it comes to building a website that is focused on the consumer

Google’s Basic principles:

  1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  2. Don't deceive your users.
  3. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?" Read more here.

Remember trying to get around the search engine’s best practice with cheats will only result in your site being flagged as spam which will cause more damage in the long run

The team here at Edmondson’s IT Services have compiled 5 top tips to help keep you and your website safe:

  1. Update your plugins and WordPress regularly and research the update beforehand to see if it will impact your current site.
  2. Have the appropriate WordPress security plugins installed onto your website to ensure your website has the correct safety measures to keep your site protected.
  3. Stay up to date with Googles changes and their best practices.
  4. Regularly back up your site to ensure that if something wrong was to occur, you can always recover your website through the backups.
  5. Choose a hosting company that values your website and provides multiple layers of security. At Edmondson’s IT, we provide secure website hosting services, including on and off-site backup of your website.
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