Depending on who you are, the answer can vary.
Hacking into a computer system for mailcious intentions is nothing new. Since the eighties hackers have used their knowledge to break into systems without meaning. However with the attendance of web based applications the hacking attacks have dramatically increased. Most of the attacks nowdays are predominantly automated and therefore affect a large number of website owners.
An attack can be random, sometimes just out of boredom and amusement, protest or peerpressure. An attack can also be planned, these attacks are intended to collect info or use your resources. The most obvious reason is economic gain or when referring to resources, they ‘ll use your bandwidth and physical server resources.
The effects of these attacks can vary according to the type of attack and what the target is.
- The website can be hacked to serve spam and malicious files or can be programmed to attack other websites.
- The database can be explored to gain financial or personal information that can be used for credit card fraud or identity theft
- Denial of service attacks can cause a disruption in web services. These attacks attempt to make a server or network unavailable to its visitors. Your website can receive the attacks or can be used to attack an other server.
These attacks happen more often than you think. Google agrees they blacklist close to 10.000 sites a day for malware and flag over 20.000 sites for phishing every month.
Taking this into account, there are various things you can do to reduce the risk. But remember, security is not about risk elimination, but risk reduction. The risk will never be zero.
You can, however, install tools to reduce where you can an update specific plugins where needed.