8 Signs To Know If Your Website Is Hacked And How To Prevent It In The Future

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Paul Wheeler

Think your website is hacked? It takes more than just a gut feeling to know that.

Whether you’re a business or an individual, a website is one of the best tools you can have nowadays. It’s where you can share content, create services and products, help your business thrive, or provide help to your customers everywhere.

Running a website for whatever purpose it serves is like having your own store in the virtual space. There will be thieves lurking around waiting for the right moment to steal your data and identity. That’s why you shouldn’t be lax on keeping it secure at all times.

The Importance of Website Security

Protecting your personal information and that of your customers is crucial. Website security is a non-negotiable practice for any company on the web. Lacking proper precautions can lead to consequences like a hack or a data breach.

Hackers can access personal information such as full names, phone numbers, geolocation records, addresses, and financial information with the mere click of a button.

The threat to our personal online information is higher than ever. The dark web has opened up a market for cybercrime, and the popularity of everything digital is only growing.

Striking Statistics of Cyber-Security

According to Forbes, data breaches were at an all-time high in 2021. The numbers significantly grew from 2020 and were only a small amount away from beating the record-breaking single year.

Studies also predict that ransomware will cost about $265B annually by the year 2031. The attacks are seen to be growing as frequently as every two seconds, with malware technology becoming more advanced.

Among the biggest leaks were from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Cognyte. A security researcher found a whopping five million reports leaked online from cybersecurity analytics firm, Cognyte.

These striking statistics are proof of the epidemic proportions of the dangers of poor cyber-security.

Big Threat To Small Businesses

Contrary to popular belief, small businesses are not immune to cyber-attacks. According to studies, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Hackers do not discriminate and are simply after any information they can get.

Another consequence of a data breach is the impact on your company’s reputation. Customers will feel hesitant to do transactions on a site that was previously hacked. If you’re a small starting business, this can hurt your sales and overall site performance.

8 Signs To Know If Your Website Is Hacked

If you believe that your website was compromised, you must act quickly. There are various tell-tale signs that your site was hacked.

8 Signs To Know If Your Website Is Hacked

1. Browser alerts

If you’re using Google or any search engine, they would most likely alert you of the attack. Google flags you and warns that the page is infected with malware.

2. Hosting provider disabled your website

If your site suddenly turned offline without prior warning, chances are, your website must be hacked. Your web hosting provider monitors website activities and would perform operations once an attack is detected.

3. Random ads and redirects

If you’re bombarded with random ads and pop-ups that would start appearing on your website out of nowhere, there’s a good chance your website is hacked. Hackers can also incorporate spammy redirects that can compromise your page’s activity.

4. Ransomware attack

This happens when malicious malware encrypts files on your device and restricts you from accessing your website all the same. The hacker then blackmails you to pay them a fee in exchange for giving you access to your site again.

5. Compromised content

Another hacking strategy is cloaking keywords or simply ‘cloaking’. When hackers compromise your content, they can create disguised keywords, links, and unfamiliar content on your page. If hackers cloak keywords instead of the whole content, it can be harder to notice at first.

6. Website speed is down

Hacking can also lead to site crashes or a significant slowdown of loading. Higher activity in the whole server causes your website to load slower than usual. This might mean that malware might be using your server’s resources.

7. Traffic spikes on non-existent pages

Spamvertising happens when hackers use your hacked website to illegally increase their site traffic. They would create links to existing pages or new pages to vandalize your blogs, comment sections, and content with hyperlinks.

8. Customer complaints

The worst case is when your customers start notifying you about it. Hackers can break into customers’ information that is stored on your website and server. They might contact your customers through spam emails, or worse, get into their credit card accounts and perform fraudulent transactions.

Types of Cyberattacks

Hackers can threaten your privacy with various approaches. Become acquainted with the various forms of cyberattacks to protect your website.

1. Malware Attack

A malware attack involves hackers creating a code to hack devices.

2. Trojan Horse Attack

This attack is one of the most dangerous types of cyberattacks. Hackers disguise malware as useful software as a means to get them to install it themselves.

3. Phishing Attack

This is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. Phishing is a social engineering attack, mainly conducted on email or over the phone. Hackers disguise themselves as trustful sources.

4. Session Hijack

A session hijack is another very dangerous form of a cyberattack. The hacker takes control of the internet session and accesses all user information.

5. AI-Powered Attack

An AI-Powered attack is a growing threat with the rise of artificial intelligence in the coming years. Hackers use AI to hack into systems and steal personal information.

10 Ways To Prevent Your Website From Getting Hacked

Follow the steps to secure your website below to ensure a secure website experience.

Choose the right web hosting

Website hosting is important because it is one of the most essential elements that will be the backbone of your entire website experience. Choosing the best website hosting for your website adds an extra layer of protection that can help you secure it from different kinds of cyberattacks.

There are many elements to consider when selecting a website host. You should consider whether it has malware scanning, firewall protection, and other security measures. You also need to determine if the server used is reliable. Some web hosting providers use advanced security features that aid in keeping your site safe.

Invest in HTTPS and SSL Certificate

To ensure a secure internet connection, you should invest in HTTPS for your site. An HTTPS is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) extension with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) attached to it. HTTPS keeps internet service providers from violating your confidentiality when visiting a page. They cannot see what you visit beyond the top website layer.

SSLs contain encryption algorithms that provide an extra layer of security. An SSL certificate safeguards personal data by ensuring that, when transferring between two locations, the information is untranslatable. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a more advanced version with the SSL, providing extra protection.

HTTPS and SSLs can protect you from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. This hacking strategy is essentially virtual eavesdropping-MITM attacks are defined as when the hacker gets data sent between two parties. This technology prevents cybercriminals from accessing, changing, or stealing information.

Choose a secure Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) helps website owners create and manage content without the need for extensive technical expertise. It also provides a platform for user collaboration. Many CMSs simplify the content creation process by allowing you to insert your content into a simple, easy-to-use interface. A WordPress website is an example of a popular CMS.

Some platforms are more secure than others, and you must consider the implications of choosing a CMS that is less secure. The source code should be strong, and there should be a solid support team available in the event of a mishap.

Incorporate security plug-ins

A security plugin keeps confidential information secure and blocks spam. Plugins are easy to install and act as an extension of your browser. Sufficient security plugins will limit the amount of access that a specific IP address has per minute.

Security plugins are useful against brute force attacks. A brute force attack is an instance in which a hacker guesses your login information. They can use automation and can crack simple passwords as quickly as within minutes. Hackers can also find a hidden webpage in a brute force attack.

Plugins are helpful when you are using a CMS. Many CMS platforms have security plugins that are usually free.

Create strong passwords

A common mistake that users make is creating weak passwords because they are easier to remember. Passwords should be long and should use a combination of characters, numbers, and letters. Do not use information such as your birthday or pet’s name.

The most vulnerable victim to a brute force attack is a user with a weak password. Weak passwords can be compromised within minutes.

You can use a password generator to help you create a secure password. Strong passwords are a simple security measure for your web host.

Use Content Security Policy (CSP)

CSP can help protect your site from cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. XSS attacks are a type of injection attack. During an XSS attack, an attacker inserts a malicious script into a website’s content. This allows the cyber-attacker to compromise the user’s interaction. XSS attacks can lead to a user credential hijack and a sensitive data leak.

There are a few different types of XSS attacks. A stored XXS attack occurs when user information is in a database or log. A reflected XSS attack, the most common type of cross-site scripting, occurs when the malicious injection is reflected off of the server.

CSPs are considered the most efficient way to prevent XSS attacks. A CSP can prevent XSS attacks by using a whitelist of URLs that the browser can perform JavaScript from.

Schedule automatic backups

Automatic backups are a way to ensure that you always have a recent backup in the event of a hack or data breach. It will leave you in a less stressful situation when you are recovering from data loss due to a hack.

Install antivirus protection

Antivirus Protection programs have many advantages including protection from viruses and spam. These programs can prevent spyware from infecting your device. Antivirus Protection is not just a necessity for businesses; you should be using this for your devices, as well.

Use encryption on login pages

You can encrypt your login pages using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS). Encryption protects personal user data and login information.

Install a web application firewall (WAF)

A firewall protects your network from malicious traffic. A firewall is useful in preventing XXS attacks and SQL injections. The three types of web application firewalls are hardware-based, software-based, and cloud-based.

A Closer Look at Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is becoming a more prevalent threat with the innovation of technology and the growth of digital footprints. According to Forbes, businesses have spent about $152.21 billion on cyber security thus far. However, loopholes in network security systems open up businesses to vulnerability to cybercrimes.

Time metrics play a key role in cybersecurity. Hackers can exploit a weak online presence within seconds, so every moment counts. MTTD, MTTF, MTTR, and MTBF are all performance cybersecurity indicators.

MTTD, mean time to detect, is how long it takes a business to detect a security threat or incident. MTTF, mean time to failure, is the amount of time that a compromised system can run until failure.

MTTR, mean time to respond, is how long it takes a business to handle a security threat after identifying it. MTBF, mean time between failures, is calculated by dividing the number of operational hours by the number of failures during that time.

These metrics determine the effectiveness of a business’s security systems and the performance of the cybercriminals.

Wrapping it Up

The process of securing your website can be intimidating, and security vulnerability can lead to grave consequences for businesses. Hackers are a major security threat, and cybersecurity issues are only rising in the coming years with the use of more complex technology.

It’s important to use an HTTPS and an SSL Certificate to protect your info from MITM attacks. Also install a security plugin as a simple, extra layer of security for your website. Plugins are an easily understood security measure that can protect your system against an issue like a brute force attack. Login attempts from hackers are easily accessible with the use of automated systems.

Always know that choosing the best web hosting provider is the foundation of your site’s security.

The Downfall from Data Breaches

Cyberattacks can drastically damage your brand and your search engine rankings. Customers do not want to provide sensitive information to sites that were previously compromised. Data breaches can lead to revenue loss and damage to your brand’s reputation.

Protect your website and business while securing your peace of mind by choosing the right web hosting provider to help keep your website from hackers. Find out which is the most sensible option for you using our detailed web hosting reviews.