Have you ever wondered what it feels like to have your website hacked? Unfortunately, we found out firsthand when our website fell victim to a malicious intruder. In this post, we want to share our harrowing experience, how we managed to recover from the incident, and the valuable cybersecurity lessons we learnt along the way.
With over 12 years of operating A Winsome Life, we never expected to face such threats, but we now understand the importance of staying vigilant in the face of increasing attacks from malicious hackers.
How We Got Hacked
Regrettably, we experienced a successful hacking attempt, during which the attacker gained access to our website’s backend. They changed our password and the email address associated with password recovery. While we cannot be certain whether it was a result of brute force hacking or SQL injection, we suspect the latter because we had implemented measures to mitigate brute force attacks, and we observed a rise in SQL injection attempts.
Our Recovery Process
Upon receiving the alarming notification that our password and recovery email were changed, panic set in. We tried various methods to regain control but were met with frustration. To regain access, we took the following immediate actions:
- We blocked all access to our .htaccess file and implemented stringent security measures for sensitive files, folders, and directories.
- We meticulously retraced the steps taken by the hacker. By reclaiming ownership of our account and changing the password, we were able to regain control. We owe our successful recovery to our access to the server, which enabled us to override the hacker’s actions. This highlights the vital importance of securing server access alongside website security.
Securing Our Website
Following the ordeal, we swiftly implemented additional security features to fortify our website. We installed the Wordfence plugin for our WordPress platform, which provides robust protection against anomalies and threats from unknown IP addresses. Furthermore, we implemented a two-factor authentication method as an added layer of defence, safeguarding against unauthorised access even if the initial security measures fail.
The Significance of Cybersecurity
It bewilders us as to why our website, devoid of payment processing or commercial transactions, became an attractive target for hackers. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to share our story and emphasize that cybersecurity threats are real.
If you operate a WordPress website with e-commerce features, it is crucial to frequently update your plugins and implement additional safeguards to secure your platform. The prevalence of fraud and phishing scams in the news serves as a stark reminder. As technology continues to permeate our lives, exercise caution when encountering anything that appears too good to be true.
Experiencing a website hack was an alarming and stressful ordeal for us. However, we emerged stronger and more knowledgeable from this experience. By sharing our story, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and help fellow website owners avoid a similar fate. Should you have any questions or comments regarding this topic, please feel free to leave them below or contact us directly.