There is a hacking attempt on your website every.single.day!
September 14, 2022
Your online presence is oh-so important in today’s digital world. Your website is a reflection of your credibility, business and brand, so having a strong presence is crucial and can be make or break for generating leads and increasing sales.
With this in mind and cyber crime on the rise, you want to make sure your website is well protected and know the signs that your website might be hacked.
What do hackers want from my site?
You might be wondering why on earth hackers would want to hack into your website. Afterall, you aren’t storing valuable information like customers’ credit card information.
There are a variety of things hackers might do with your site. From holding your site for ransom to intercepting information being communicated or even using the trust people have in your website to redirect users to insecure and nefarious links.
How will I know if my website has been hacked?
There are a number of common signs that you can look out for that might indicate that your website has been hacked. Here are just some of the main ones to look out for so you can keep your lead generating machine ticking.
Your website traffic has suddenly dropped
If you notice a sudden drop in your website traffic (you can check this using Google Analytics), it could be an indication that your website has been hacked.
This could be because your website is redirecting your visitors to spam websites, or Google’s safe browsing tool could be displaying a warning that your website contains malware, putting them at risk of getting their information stolen or deleted. No visitors = no leads.
You find suspicious user accounts
Depending on your business, your site might be open to user registration, and without any spam registration protection you may find that spam user accounts appear. This is normal and you can simply delete these accounts.
However, if your site doesn’t allow user registration and you find new user accounts appearing, it might be a sign that your site has been hacked. Another telltale sign is that the suspicious accounts will be assigned as an administrator and you may not be able to delete it from the admin area.
Your site has become slow and unresponsive
Not only does a slow and unresponsive site result in a poor user experience and likely a drop in leads, but it could also mean that your site has been hacked.
This is the result of a random distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This involves a number of hacked computers using fake IP addresses to overwhelm your server by sending too many requests, other times they are actively trying to hack into your site.
You might be able to identify from your server logs any IP addresses that are making too many requests, so that you can block them. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem is resolved, as the hackers may change the IP addresses.
Core files have been changed
Hackers may change the core files of your site and place their own code within them, or create files with similar names to existing ones. An easy way to spot whether this has happened, is to install a security plugin that monitors the health of your core website files.
You lose access to your site altogether
If a hacker has taken your site, they may ask for a ransom in order for it to be released. We would always encourage you to speak to your hosting provider or web designer to see what you can do.
How can I protect my site from hackers?
You’re in luck - there are a number of simple things you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to hackers.
Make software updates a priority
It’s vital that you keep every piece of software your site runs up-to-date, to include the latest updates, this will make your site less vulnerable to the kind of attacks listed above. We provide this service monthly for all of the sites we host to reduce the chance of there being any vulnerabilities.
Choose strong passwords
By choosing a strong password (that is, one that includes a combination of alphanumeric characters, symbols, upper and lower case letters and is at least 12 characters long), you heavily reduce the chance of being hacked by brute force and dictionary attacks.
It’s wise to change your passwords regularly, have a different password for different sites/accounts and keep them secure. Additionally, store users' passwords in encrypted form, this means that in the event of a security breach, the hackers don't get your hands on their actual passwords.
Switch from HTTP, to HTTPS
HTTPS is a secure communications protocol that is implemented to ensure the secure transfer of sensitive information between a website and a web server. This keeps both your data, and your visitors' data secure from hacking attempts as a layer of encryption has been added.
Back up your website regularly
If someone does get control of your website, having a secure and reliable backup that the website can be reinstalled from can save a lot of time and pain. We back up our websites every 4 hours and our preventative software scans all our websites for possible attacks in order to prevent any chance of attack.
Secure what matters!
Trust takes years to build and minutes to destroy. Making sure that your business and website are trustworthy is essential.
No site can ever be 100% protected from hacking and with increasingly sophisticated hacking - it is incredibly important to mitigate the potential damage. To reduce the impact of any potential hack causing significant damage, all our websites are backed up and we can usually get clean websites back up and running again within a matter of minutes/hours.
If you have any further questions about this, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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