Why your website is getting hacked and what to do to stop it
If you’ve ever logged into your website only to realize that you’ve been hacked, you know what a terrible feeling it is to know your information is exposed. But if you have a plan and act quickly, you can contain the breach and come back even stronger than before.
What happens when a site is hacked?
Hackers go in with a plan. If they’ve hacked your site, they’re likely using your platform for one or more of the following reasons:
- To infect other people and providers connected with your site with malware.
- To gain access to, and to abuse, personal data from your site.
- To redirect your page visitors to malicious websites.
- To perform a denial of service (or DoS) attack.
You’re right to think that none of this sounds good. But the faster you’re able to react, the faster you can contain the problem and shut down the hack.
Why was your site hacked?
If you’ve been hacked, you might be wondering why this happened to your site rather than some bigger site with more data and resources that might tempt a hacker. It’s impossible to know exactly what a hacker’s reasons might be, but consider the following motives:
Hackers are attracted to valuable intellectual property like sales leads, vendor portals, confidential company documents, and brand secrets. If you have a significant amount of valuable intellectual property stored online, this could be what drew a hacker to you.
Just like intellectual property, personal data can be a goldmine for hackers. A hacker may have gone after your site if they believed they could access bank account information, customers’ credit card details, health records, and more.
In some cases, hackers are simply looking for platforms to help spread ransomware and crypto-mining capabilities further throughout the internet. Particularly if your site didn’t have strong defenses or much valuable information, hackers may be interested in using it as a malware host simply because they can.
Unfortunately, some hackers go after sites simply for the bragging rights, or so they can practice cracking website defenses. At the end of the day, while it can be helpful to know what hackers were after, remember that you may never be able to tell for sure.
What should you do if your site is hacked?
Once you’ve confirmed that your site has been hacked, the first thing to do is to act quickly. It can seem overwhelming to try to deal with something as technical as a hack, particularly if you aren’t confident in your computer skills, but acting now rather than procrastinating can save you a lot of difficulties later. While your IT team, malware software, or hired professional is at work removing the hack itself, the following can help limit the damage of the hack.
Let people know
There are two groups of people you should tell about your hack right away: your customers and your web host. It can be embarrassing to tell customers that you’ve been hacked, especially if that hack puts their information at risk. However, if you tell your customers yourself, you’ll have the chance to apologize, explain your plan for future security, and give them a chance to protect themselves. Customers won’t like the news, but they’ll appreciate the honesty.
Telling your web host can be a good way to gain customized information on how to remove the hack and get your site back to normal. Many web hosts have plans in place to help sites recover from a hack, and they should be able to give you practical advice and assistance.
Take what technical steps you can
Even if you aren’t confident in your technical skills, you can certainly change all passwords on your website. You may also want to consider taking your site offline, which can reduce the reach of the hack and potentially stop it from infecting other sites and page visitors. Depending on the style of your site, it can also be very effective to restore your site from a backup. Restoring your site to an earlier time can remove the hack, but may also undo some of your recent work. Keep this in mind before you decide.
Keep your site current to beat hackers
One of the easiest ways to prevent future attacks on your website is by keeping your site up to date. Site updates can include specified security features designed to fix known weak spots and can implement newer, safer security measures like two-factor authentication and other improved security options.
At Crash Creative, we pride ourselves on our ability to monitor your website and keep it up to date. We’ll regularly check in with your website and its security system to make sure you have the most modern, secure site possible. Using our services will not only give you a great-looking website that stands out among your competitors but a modern site with current security features that keeps your data safe.