Hacking is real! If You Run an Online Business Watch out for Hackers
Hacking is a technical effort which manipulates the usual behavior of connected systems and network connections. Hackers are commonly associated with malicious programming attacks mostly on the Internet and also on other networks.
Hacked content is the content that hackers place on your website without your authorization. This is usually due to the vulnerabilities of your site’s security. Hacked content results to poor search results and can in turn install malicious content on the machines of your users.
It is therefore recommended that you keep your site secure and clean up any hacked content you come across. The following are some common examples of hacking:
This occurs mainly due to security flaws. Hackers usually add pages to your website that have spam content. These pages are intended to manipulate your website. Your pages may not necessarily show any signs that your website has been hacked but the added pages are usually very harmful and will negatively affect your website’s performance in the search results.
Hackers also try to sabotage the existing pages on your website. They do this by adding content to your site that search engines can see but which are hard for you and your clients to notice. This may be in form of hidden text or hidden links.
Hackers may also inject malicious codes to your website which redirect your users and clients to other harmful pages and sites. This type of redirect usually depends on the user-agent, device or referrer. This happens when, for example you click a URL and it directs to a different page that you are not familiar with.
Effects of a Hacked Website
The following are some of the major potential impacts after your website has been hacked.
When creating a website for your business, you always have a certain clientele in mind. In doing so, you are sure to identify a potential audience because your business is based on the website. This audience will eventually find your website online directly or through referrals. Whatever service you may be offering or providing to your audience ensure that your website provides a safe experience for your customers. Ensure that your visitors are not worried about losing their identity or their personal information while on your site.
Hacked Email Accounts
Hackers have mastered the skill of gaining access to your personal email accounts. Such accounts usually have a variety of private files and information which is highly regarded as important by the owners. Hackers could also gain access to sensitive information which could be used against you or against your customers.
Violation of Customer Privacy
There are a variety of websites which have been hacked in the past. In a website security case, the hacker destroys data and leaves the website in a state that it can no longer operate. You are then left with the task of rebuilding your site from scratch should you not have back up. Such threats to a website could also pose high risks to companies which have their client’s payment information hosted online.
Bad Brand Reputation
Building your brand is critical regardless of what business or venture you might be into. For this reason, trust is very important for the success of any business. It can take a lifetime to build and minutes to lose. A hacked website can destroy the trust your customers have on your business. This can be in form of a drive by download or data breach which could infect your user’s computers. This could lead to total loss of trust in your brand.
Huge Monetary Losses
The cost of a hack is more than you can imagine. It can cost you a lot of money, including the loss of customers and clients. You might think that you will deal with it when the time comes or this cannot happen to you, but hacking happens to anyone and it is always best to be prepared. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you waste almost an entire week talking back and forth with your host provider, security professionals and developers to get your site back online.
Immediate steps to follow when your site has been hacked
- Find out exactly what happened to your site. The more you are familiar with the hack and what caused it, the more you will be able to seek and get help.
- Contact your host and tell him that your site is under attack and not in operation. This way, the host will be able to know the immediate steps to take to ensure that you are not compromised.
- You can search for online for help. The Internet is rich with answers and other people who have similar problems or IT professionals and you might end up solving your problem yourself or with their help.
- Scan your user accounts to see if anything has been added or deleted. Change your passwords, database access, system administrators and content management accounts.
- Take down your site so that you prevent the hacker from causing further damage and to protect your customers and clients from getting malware content on their computers.
Preventing Hackers on your Website
One of the best methods you can make use of to prevent hacks on your site is to keep the site updated. This goes hand in hand with backing up your site regularly especially because operating online is not very safe. This will ensure that in the unlikely event that you are hacked and lose all your data, your files will be securely backed up.
Hacks are like viruses, if you take precaution, you are likely not to suffer the effects of the virus. Therefore, it is always best to be prepared and take the necessary actions needed to ensure your website is not hacked in the first place.
This Guest Post was written by Lalit Sharma, an SEO consultant who runs a SEO house called Ranking By SEO. He is specialized in link building and other SEO related activities. You can also find him on Twitter, Google+ and his personal blog.