web design blog | are you being hacked?
10 early signs of website hacking.
10 signs of website hacking.
How safe do you think your website is?
Having your website hacked sounds personal. After all, you poured hours into it, making sure that it’ll grow. But hackers don’t care how much work or time has been put into building a website, all they care about is fulfilling their needs.
When your website has been hacked, a lot of things are compromised, from your company’s and customers' data to the loss of customers. That’s why, as a website owner, it is important to be as quick as possible to observe changes.
Early signs of website breach must be noticed because studies have shown that hackers are present every 39 seconds, affecting online businesses faster.
To avoid completely losing your website, here are some early signs you should be aware of when your website has been hacked.
1. Visitors notice a red alert box.
When entering a website, customers (or you) might notice a red box alerting them that the website contains malware. This warning sign is often a caution that your website has been attacked by hackers.
Google and other browsers often show this sign once a website or page has been compromised. This means you have also been blacklisted by Google’s Safe Browsing. When your website is included in Google's list, it means that your site contains malicious content or threats that could be dangerous to users.
2. Your host provider blocks you.
Web hosting companies often check their servers to ensure the safety of their users. When you suddenly find you have been blocked by your host provider, there could be malware or malicious code on your website. The sudden block of your site is done to protect other websites on their server. If this happens, you have to immediately solve the problem. Hosting companies will immediately return your website once the threat is removed.
3. Your website is redirected.
Another sign that someone has entered and hacked your website is when your customers are redirected to another website. These websites can either be a compromised website, your competitors’ website or even redirected back to the search engine. When this happens, website owners often lose their traffic.
4. Your site takes longer to load.
When a website takes time to load, there could be many factors causing it; and a virus might be the cause. For you to be sure that it wasn't caused by malicious code, you can do a website scan. Most pages that these viruses target are login in or sign up pages and checkouts.
5. Your domain sends spam.
Spam messages are annoying. But there are viruses that could compromise your website and send out spam email messages to your clients. If you begin receiving complaints from your customers, or your hosting provider warns you of spamming, it could mean that your website has been hacked.
6. Loss of website traffic.
When browsers warn users or your customers that a website contains malware, people will not proceed to enter your site. This can, therefore, affect your website's traffic. There could be other reasons why your traffic suddenly changes, but often this is because customers or users avoid entering your site due to browsers’ warning.
7. Dropped ranking.
Aside from losing your hard-gained traffic to build your business, another cause of your drop in the search engine ranking can be because of a hacked website. Some cybercriminals insert malicious codes to drop the ranking of your site on Google or other search engines.
8. Website contains different content.
Your website’s content is often one part where cybercriminals or hackers attack, like replacing your content with unwanted messages. Some changes can be small or go unnoticed, like changes in file sizes or dates.
Sometimes you’ll discover pages on your website that are unfamiliar. These pages are a way for hackers to either steal your traffic or redirect your customers to other pages or sites. This could affect your website's credibility by losing customers.
9. Some functions are not working
Website owners are aware of the changes they make to their website. Therefore, if there are some functions on your website that are not working correctly, it means that an error has been encountered. Be quick to find out what the error is. Sometimes it could be a threat inserted into your website’s code.
10. Unwanted ads or pop-ups
Upon entering your website, spam ads appear inviting you to click - these infected ads are malware injected by hackers. Some hackers can even earn money from these unwanted ads.
A server can only handle a significant amount of traffic coming into your website. An excess can cause a performance issue to your site. If this happens, your hosting company will warn you about these changes.
An increase in traffic to your site could be two things. It could be that real visitors are entering your site, or that a hacker has entered a malicious code. This cybercriminal's purpose is to either increase the search engine ranking of their website or it could be another reason.
Now that you are aware of some warning signs that your website might be in trouble, you must respond quickly to these threats. Solving cyberattacks is expensive so the earlier you solve the problem, the better.
Here are things you can do when your website has been hacked.
• Scan your website for the possibility of malware or viruses.
• If a virus or malware is detected, immediately disable access to your website.
• Scan your site to determine the infected file and solve the issue.
• After fixing your website, install software or an app that will protect your website from future hackers and ensure that your site is encrypted with SSL.
Always be alert to any changes that happen to your website, and secure it as early as you can to avoid such cybercrimes happening. Remember, no website is too small for hackers.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer and member of the Philippine Tenors. Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia - the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.
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