What gain would it bring if all you have worked for came crashing in one day because you were careless with your business?
Websites have become central to all businesses these days. They handle everything from e-Commerce transactions, customer data, marketing and everything in between. Yet website security seems to be ignored while building products and, most times, end up being hacked.
Regardless of where it’s hosted and the size of the development team, every website is vulnerable to being hacked at any point in time, so having 100% security is a myth. Security has to be a central bullet point in your online business model, so therefore you should take web security as a business.
What is a Website Hack?
A website hack is an event that happens when someone, usually known as a hacker, employs automated software to crawl the web to probe for specific weaknesses in the website.
These weaknesses may be in your payment infrastructure, business models, authentication processes, etc. These automated software programs crawling the web are called bots; these bots see the weakness in your websites and use it as an attack against your websites.
Why Should You Look Out For a website Hack?
Your website will likely have dynamic functionalities such as shopping carts, submission forms, login pages, dynamic content, and other sensitive applications if you conduct business online.
These web applications are put together to allow your website to function effectively and most securely.
Because your website has to be accessible day and night from anywhere globally, there are most likely to be insecure web applications that provide an open door for hacking attacks on your corporate backend database.
Here are some of the reasons you should look for a possible website hack on your website.
1. Sensitive information may be collected.
Many websites collect, store, use or process confidential information such as payment cards, account credentials, personally identifiable information or health records.
Payment card data and personal information are hot commodities in dark markets; they are easy to sell and fetch high prices.
Any website that utilises sensitive information should undergo a penetration test to identify vulnerabilities and breach those security gaps as much as possible.
2. Intellectual property may not be saved.
Many organisations use websites to store intellectual property, and websites can contain secret company documents, vendor portals, customer portals, sales leads, or top-secret military and government plans.
Hackers could take advantage of a possible breach in your web infrastructure to expose a competitive edge, damaged reputation, and compromise customer and vendor data, ultimately leading to a loss in business and potentially fines and lawsuits.
3. Your business depends on it.
Imagine having to build an online business, and it all went down the drain due to a single hack. The negative impacts of breached website security are immense, no matter the size of a business.
Think of a website as massive as Facebook, Twitter or maybe your local banking app built on a vast payment infrastructure being hacked in one Night; counting the losses can be devastating.
Signs That your WordPress website is being hacked.
All sites on the web are under constant attack – whether it’s a social network, payment infrastructure or a WordPress site.
Hackers employ automated software to crawl the web to probe for specific weaknesses in the website.
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) globally. Almost 40 per cent of all websites in the world run on WordPress.
Over 27 million websites are built with WordPress. That’s a huge number, an influence similar to Google’s hold over search engines and Facebook does on Social networks.
However, unlike Google, WordPress is open source and has helped almost anyone create a website with relative ease.
This doesn’t mean only small brands and individual blogs use the platform. Here are some of the signs that your website is being hacked.
1. Drop in traffic.
When a website is already being hacked, the first thing you notice is a significant drop in traffic.
One way to check this is to look at your analytics reports and see how your website’s traffic is.
If you notice a significant drop in traffic, even when Google Analytics is set up correctly, then this could be a sign that your WordPress site is hacked.
A sudden drop in traffic can be caused by different factors, including that malware on your website may redirect non-logged-in visitors to spam websites.
Or Google’s safe browsing tool shows warnings to users regarding your website.
2. Inability to log in.
The next sign that needs to be spotted when your website is hacked is the inability to log in to your WordPress dashboard.
If you cannot log in to your WordPress website, it may be a sign that your website is already hacked by someone who has gained access to the backend and shut you out.
However, your site will remain unsafe until you figure out how the hackers got into your website.
3. Suspicious User Accounts in WordPress.
The next thing to watch out for is the vast number of user accounts spammed on your WordPress website.
When starting this blog, I had this problem; at an exact point in time, I began witnessing unwanted registrations on my websites from people trying to spam my blog.
If your site is open to user registration and you are not using any spam registration protection, then spam user accounts are just common spam you can delete.
4. Slow websites despite having a responsive theme.
Another sign that your website has been hacked is being slowed down.
This results from hackers sending many requests to your server because they are trying to break into your website.
Any such activity will make your website slow, unresponsive, and unavailable.
You can check your server logs to see which IPs are making too many requests and block them, but that may not fix the problem if there are too many or if the hackers change IP addresses.
5. Users Are Randomly Redirected to Unknown Websites.
A malicious redirect is a code inserted into a website to redirect the site visitor to another website.
This implies that your website’s traffic is being stolen and sent elsewhere.
Attackers typically insert malicious redirects into a website to generate advertising impressions.
The truth is that most site owners are unaware that their site is redirecting visitors. They often learn of the redirection when there is a sudden drop in website traffic.
Once this is noticed, you should backup your website safely before fixing it, especially if you are unfamiliar with your content management system (CMS).
6. Popups or Pop-Under Ads on Your Website.
A popup ad is an ad that “pops up” in its window when you visit a website.
This is usually caused when you sign up for a spammy ad network that promises colossal pay.
Pop-up and pop-under ads annoy many users because they clutter up the desktop and take time to close.
This can become harmful when they are unsolicited, which can, however, affect the user experience of your websites and cause you to lose more traffic.
If you did not sign up for these ads on your websites, something might be wrong somewhere; your website may have been hacked and had these codes installed behind your back.
7. Hijacked search results.
A malware or adware infection somewhere on your system is usually blamed for a hijacked search engine.
Having your ranking pages stolen by another website can badly affect your search engine optimisation efforts.
To find and remove the problem, check your system as a whole and the Web browser involved. Then, make sure to browse across using other browsers.
8. Google Chrome and other browsers Show a Warning When Visiting Your Website.
Another sign to know that your website has been hacked is when your customers see a message from Google Chrome with a warning message saying that your website may be hacked, it probably is.
This message is shown when Google Safe Browsing has blocked your website.
Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari & Opera use Google’s blocklist to display warning messages to visitors.
Look at some warning messages that Google shows when your website is hacked.
The warning messages vary depending on what Google finds on your websites, but they more or less look like this.
It would help if you made the necessary efforts to fix this by doing the needful, such as Installing a valid SSL On your website, and if this does not solve the problem, you may have to contact your hosting providers or scan your websites on your own.