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How to keep your website secure from hackers

by Louisa Claire on September 10, 2012

Last week I had the unhappy experience of being alerted by readers of my personal blog that they were getting malware warnings when they tried to visit my site. You have probably seen a warning like this in your own web surfing; it looks like this…

Now being the good blogger I am, I got straight onto this and looked into what the problem was, right?

Wrong.

Life is busy and the last couple of weeks have been particularly so and thus, it got pushed to the bottom of the pile. I did a quick site scan and chatted to my webhost but didn’t go any further.

On the weekend I noticed a tweet from Caz Makepeace that her site had gone down – she told me that she had been infected for a while but didn’t know and had now been hacked really badly. As at this morning, her site is unfortunately still not live.

Reality check!

I knew my site had an issue so there really was going to be noone to blame but myself for not acting on it.

Sucuri Security had been recommended to me by my host, Bluehost, and the free scan option on their site confirmed there were malware issues. Tweets from fellow bloggers including Caz, Crashing Red, Lizosaurus and Kelly Exeter also came through recommending Sucuri Security so I took the plunge, paid the $90 and got them onto the job.

The next day my site was clean, and this morning I was alerted to a new problem which they are now working on. I feel a lot better knowing that there are dedicated experts looking after my site and not just lil ‘ol me.

Should you look into security for your site?

  • Take the free scan – can’t hurt to know and it can hurt not to. If you have a malware issue then I would say yes, it’s worth it.
  • If you don’t have malware but you will be devastated if you ever lose your site to hackers then I would also recommend checking it out. Sucuri is a preventative measure as much as it is the place to go after you get hacked. And we all know what that say about prevention being the best cure right?!

A $90/yr investment is $7.50 a month – that’s not even 2 coffees. Crashing Red wrote a really helpful post (where she also recommends Sucuri) after her site was badly hacked – it’s a helpful read and one to bookmark for future reference: A story of triumph over hardship or How to protect your blog from hackers

Sucuri Security

Note: I have signed up to the affiliate program with Sucuri because I think there service is really fantastic – please note the links above are affiliate links.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Laney @ Crash Test Mummy September 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

Whew – I’m clean! Thanks for including the link to the free scan. It did alert me to some out of date software though. I’m thinking $90 sounds like a pretty good investment to avoid the headaches Caz and Craig are going through.
Laney @ Crash Test Mummy recently posted..Crap, we ran out of moneyMy Profile

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Louisa Claire September 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

Phew! It’s feeling like a good investment to me too & at least it means I can rest easy. I have another WP plugin installed that lets me know of “potential” attacks but I never really know how to act on it. Now, when I get those emails I can just check with sucuri and they will tell me if there’s a problem as well as alert me to problems that they become aware of during their routine scanning. It would be such a huge stress to lose the whole site – esp after almost 6 years of blogging and life-recording stored there!

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Helena @ WP for Moms September 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Backup Buddy also has the malware scanner provided by Sucuri built in.

The other thing that’s important to remember is to make sure you only have the latest version of your theme active – delete all other themes in the Appearance area of your dashboard. And same goes for plugins – minimise the number of plugins to only the essential ones, make sure they are up to date & delete any deactivated plugins.
Inactive themes and plugins can provide a route for hackers to gain entry to your site.
Helena @ WP for Moms recently posted..SEO Basics Part 1 – 5 Steps to Laying the Right Foundation for Your Business WebsiteMy Profile

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Louisa Claire September 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Great tips Helena – thanks for sharing!

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Jane September 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Thanks so much for this tip, Louisa. I’m clean, thanks goodness, but signing up is worth it for the peace of mind. J x
Jane recently posted..So when am I going to return to work?My Profile

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Louisa Claire September 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

hi Jane, yes I think so! So good to know that someone else who actually knows about this stuff is in control! x

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Denyse Whelan September 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hi Louisa, when Nikki had such awful troubles with her website & Securi was recommended for anyone who was concerned I bought it and had my web guy install & I have had no issues. There are too many “clever & not nice” people out there just trying to show how BIG they are by hacking.
Thank goodness for Securi & how bloggers & website owners can protect their work. Denyse

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Leanne @ Uber Simplicity September 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm

My site is clean, phew! So do you need this on top of your computer’s antivirus software?
Leanne @ Uber Simplicity recently posted..sunday sessions/feeding the soul {anyway}My Profile

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Margaret Perusich September 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Thank you for this post – both my website and blog are clean. It’s something I really hadn’t worried about, although having a few friends whose sites were hacked in the past six months should have made me a bit more aware of protecting my own sites.
Margaret Perusich recently posted..What to do with your old computer or phoneMy Profile

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Stylish Kylie October 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I was hacked last week and I could remember reading this post. Securi Security fixed my blog within an hour. The hackers apparently got in through a plug-in on my side bar and managed to go undetected by my anti-virus software. It was really scary. They had set up their own user account in windows. Anyway, all fixed now and I have some peace of mind knowing I am covered for the next 12 months.
It’s happening all too frequently.
Kylie
Stylish Kylie recently posted..Healthy Home Made PopcornMy Profile

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bec October 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hi Kylie, I’ve always been worried about this happening so i did the free scan {thanks for the link} and all good at this end. I will monitor it though on a regular basis. Great post thanks.
Bec x
bec recently posted..upcycling DIY project…My Profile

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