The Cost of a WordPress Site Security Breach

A security breach can be costly. Numerous studies and statistics put the average security breach at millions of dollars. That number, however, doesn’t mean much without context. Indeed, it can be complicated to derive an average cost for a security breach. Complications stem from the fact that many factors come into play. Factors include the circumstances of the breach, its extent, and the type of data stolen by the attackers.

WordPress admins and website owners might be inclined to downplay the risks of a security breach. After all, there’s only one website to protect, and that’s pretty easy with a strong password, right?

In reality, things are slightly more complex. WordPress does not operate in a vacuum and must rely on other systems to function. The number of systems that fall under your jurisdiction largely depends on your hosting plan. Either way, it would be wise to recognize that different systems exist and carry some risk, no matter how minimal. Even reputable hosting providers suffer breaches, after all.

This article lists the most significant costs associated with a security breach, with a particular focus on websites and WordPress administrators. We’ll also look at factors that typically affect costs to help you understand what your risk and exposure levels are if you experience a security breach.

To note: just in case, read this guide to check if your WordPress site is hacked.


These are some of the main factors to consider when estimating the cost of a security breach. As the section below shows, each factor can also have many variables, which can vary the actual costs widely. Either way, they are a good starting point.

What kind of data was compromised?

The first factor we need to consider is the type of compromised data. This is especially true when it comes to personal data. If personal data has been stolen, you will also need to consider whether it belongs to employees, customers, or both, as this will impact costs.

The next thing you will need to consider is the type of personal data that was stolen. For example, if you have an e-commerce store and credit card information or health data has been compromised, it would skyrocket costs. This data is very personal and may have negative repercussions on the persons affected by the security breach.

How many people have been affected?

The number of people affected by the breach will also impact the cost. Certain legal and compliance obligations also come into effect once a threshold is exceeded; however, this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

How did the break happen?

Understanding how the breach occurred is another crucial factor that can contribute to cost. This will help determine if the breach was due to negligence or not. If negligence played a role in the infringement, the costs tend to increase.

Is this the first incident?

Later incidents tend to cost more than first offences. The two main cost drivers here are fines and reputation costs.

Will it make the news?

If the security breach is likely to make the news, you can expect the costs to increase depending on whether it hits regional, local, national, or international news.

Where are you based?

The location of the business or entity running the website will also have a direct impact on costs. This is mainly due to legal requirements and/or obligations that the law of the jurisdiction imposes in such cases.


Now that we’ve covered the factors, we can look at the most significant costs typically associated with a data breach.


A lawyer and, in some cases, a breach coach are essential players who help businesses and WordPress admins navigate the often complex ramifications of a data breach. They are also helpful in dealing with fines, potential lawsuits, and many other costs associated with a data breach.

Forensic medecine

Forensic teams help determine the path forward. If you have an e-commerce store such as WooCommerce, you can also expect cardholders to request a specialized forensic team to assess what happened. The costs are often borne by the company that suffered the breach.

PR and crisis management

Depending on the scale of the breach, a crisis management team and a public relations person or team can help contain the fallout. The truth is, a breach can lead to reputational damage and long-term revenue loss, which is why monitoring is essential.

Notice of Infringement

Notification of infringement is a legal requirement in the United States. The rules vary depending on the state and the extent of the violation.

Customer service

In many cases, companies are required to provide their customers with a toll-free number that they can call to get more information about the breach. Here you need to determine if you have existing capacity for such calls or if you need to outsource it.

Credit monitoring

In some jurisdictions, companies are required to provide customers whose data has been stolen with credit monitoring services, ensuring that they do not experience fraud. Even so, it is still recommended to offer such a service and it can mitigate the reputational damage suffered from the breach.


Fines can come in all shapes and sizes. They mainly depend on the jurisdiction in which you reside, the extent of the breach, the type of data compromised and the sector in which you operate. For example, data breaches in the EU can result in GDPR fines of up to 4% of revenue. In the United States, violations of HIPAA are prosecuted by the State Attorney General and the OCR. PCI fines can also be imposed for stolen credit card data.


About 5% of reported violations result in some form of litigation; however, several factors should be considered here. Of course, lawyers are the best resource to offer guidance here; however, it should be kept in mind.

Prevention is better than cure

A data breach leads to many costly costs. Some costs are immediate and direct; others are long-term and difficult to assess, such as loss of revenue due to reputational damage. In many cases, the costs of a data breach can be high enough to wipe out a business. Fortunately, there is a simpler solution.

It is important to recognize that IT infrastructures are often complex and breaches can be triggered from any point, sometimes even from within. As such, a comprehensive WordPress security policy is critically important; one that includes risk assessment and mitigation, as well as a plan for how breaches are handled.

Also, while it’s not quite the magic bullet, two-factor authentication comes pretty close. Consider this. 81% of breaches are carried out through the use of stolen credentials. MFA stops approximately 99.9% of these attacks, helping you eliminate a large percentage of risk with a single technology.

Major companies, including Google and Microsoft, support 2FA, recognizing its effectiveness in reducing risk. As a WordPress admin or website owner, you can also take advantage of 2FA to improve your security with WP 2FA – an easy to install and manage 2FA plugin that comes with some of the most advanced and comprehensive features. who are.

Get started today with a risk-free 14-day trial.

The post The Cost of a WordPress Website Security Breach appeared first on WP White Security.

*** This is a syndicated blog from WP White Security’s Security Bloggers Network written by Mark Grima. Read the original post at:

Edwin S. Wolfe