Hacked Site Content is On the Rise

Hacked Site Content is on the Rise

The amount of hacked site content we come across on the internet has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. With this rise, web users increase their awareness of what hacked content is and how to deal with it.

Hacked content is a problem for the owners of a website along with its visitors. As well as potentially compromising the system of anyone who visits the website, Google may notice something is wrong and blacklist it, so as to avoid any further damage to anyone visiting the website through Google. On average, Google blacklists around 9500 – 10,000 websites a day. These websites report an average drop of 95% in organic traffic, which will obviously heavily damage their sales and conversion figures. All this will damage your brand integrity and can cause existing and potential customers to avoid you in the future. To help you cope with the increasing trend of hacked site content, we’ve created a helpful guide on what it is, how to avoid it and how to deal with your site should it become compromised.

What is hacked site content?

Hacked site content can come in many forms, but is ultimately when the content on your website has in some way been accessed and altered by a hacker looking to achieve their own malicious goals. A few ways hackers go about this include:

Hidden content

Hackers may try to alter existing pages by adding content that only search engines are likely to be able to spot, such as adding hidden links and content using CSS or HTML.

Injected content

After accessing a website, a hacker can try to insert malicious content into existing pages on the site which, when clicked on, can infect someone’s system with malware or direct them to another malicious website.

Added content

If a hacker gains access to the CMS you use for your website, they may be able to add new pages containing malicious content or spam; affecting your sites performance in search engines.

Redirects

Redirecting can occur as a result of a hacker inserting malicious code into the site which redirects users to a harmful/spammy page.

How to avoid hacked content

While there is no full-proof way to avoid hackers entirely on the web, you can make it far more difficult for them to gain access to your website with a few simple actions.

Update your software

Stop ignoring those software updates! The main reason security updates are released is to help defend your system against the latest hacking techniques being employed by cybercriminals.

Create strong passwords

Combine letters, numbers and symbols in a unique way to help create stronger passwords that hackers will find far more difficult to crack. Also, be sure to avoid sequences such as ‘123’.

Increased vigilance

Make sure you are keeping a close eye on the status or your website on a daily basis, it doesn’t take long for hacked content to have an impact. Run regular security scans.

Create a backup

In the instance that a hacker manages to break through your security, you should have a backup for your data stored somewhere so that you can revert back to an older version of the site, one which has been unchanged by the hacker. Remember to fix the security issue which allowed them to access the site first however, otherwise they’ll be straight back in again!

Google Search Console

Utilise Google Search Console, a platform which helps you monitor the status of your site in real-time, allowing you to recover from issues far more quickly.

Choose a secure hosting provider

Be sure to use a reputable hosting provider with a good standard of security and support available.

What to do in the case of an infection

Unfortunately you can never be one hundred percent sure that your website won’t be hacked, therefore you should make sure you are prepared if and when it does happen. Several steps should be taken to ensure firstly that whatever is causing the damage has been removed, that the damage caused has been fixed, that the gap in security has been patched and that steps are taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Google have a very helpful tutorial on how you should carry out these steps.

Stay vigilant

The reputational and financial damage a hacked website can cause to a brand can be extensive. Maintaining constant vigilance will allow you to react to a security breach as quickly as possible, limiting the potential harm it can cause. For more information on the digital world and for a free website audit, please feel free to contact Impact Digital Marketing.

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.