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Has My Website Been Hacked?

Website been hacked?

Online threats are constantly on the rise. As technologies advance, so do hackers’ techniques to take advantage of vulnerabilities.

As online marketers, we know the importance of your digital marketing activities and how important your website is, so we’ve put together some useful tips to check if your site has been hacked or compromised.

Checking your site

There are a few things you can do to check your site’s health.

  1. Google Search Console. If you have Google Search Console installed and configured, you can perform a simple check on the health status of your site. Simply login to Google Search Console, click on your website property, and click ‘Security Issues’. In this section, Google will let you know if they have detected any security issues with your site’s content. security-issues
  2. Basic Google search. Perform a Google search of your company name to see your website listing in the search results. Under the URL for your site, you may see a notice like ‘This site may harm your computer’ or ‘This site may be hacked’. This is Google’s way of alerting online users that the site may be harmful. check-if-your-site-has-been-hacked this-site-may-be-hacked
  3. Browser notification. If your site has been hacked or breached, it’s likely that you may receive a browser notification when you click through to your website. This is a safety prompt allowing you to go back to safety before proceeding to the site. browser-warning

If your site is hacked or compromised

If you determine that your site has been hacked or compromised, you can take the following steps to resolve the issues as soon as possible: –

  1. Contact your website host and make them aware of your site’s hack and/or breach.
  2. Quarantine your website. You can do this by temporarily taking your website offline and repointing the DNS to a static page on a different server that uses a 503 HTTP response code.
  3. Check the Google Search Console to ensure that all users listed should have access to your account. Revoke access to any that shouldn’t have access, and also do the same for your website, updating passwords and login details.
  4. Navigate to Security Issues in Google Search Console and determine the type of hack. Google have outlined the following guides to assist you: assess malware damage and assess spam damage.
  5. Identify the vulnerability – again, raise this with your web host, as they will be able to investigate and run a scan on your website and web server.
  6. Clean and maintain your site. Use your web host to remove the vulnerability, and patch outdated software to ensure that the hacker can’t gain access in the same way they did previously.
  7. Once you’ve completed the above steps and you are sure the vulnerability has been removed, you can request a review from Google via Google Search Console.

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How does a hacker gain access to your site?

A hacker is always on the lookout for vulnerabilities, and usually, they use purposely developed software to identify these vulnerabilities to exploit them. Once they gain access to your site, they can carry out various things such as: –

  • Add spammy text to your site.
  • Create links to other sites.
  • Infect your site with malware to capture login credentials.

The technology used to power your website, whether that be the hosting servers, the CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, or developer plugins, is likely to be exploited if it is out of date. Our next blog post, on 5 Ways to Keep Your WordPress Website Safe and Secure, overviews the steps you should take to keep your website safe from hacking.

Has your site been hacked?

To find out more about safeguarding your site, why not contact us?

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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.