Hackers are powerful cybercriminals that can mess with both computers and websites. According to an article from Forbes, these people hack an average of 30,000 websites per day.
A hacked website can spell disaster for a business owner. A compromised site can significantly destroy your site’s privacy and reputation, negatively affect your search engine rankings, and ruin your bottom line.
While some hackers make their website attacks painfully obvious, others are subtle about how they operate. If you’re not sure if cybercriminals have compromised your site (or if you have a gut feeling that they did something), take note of these red flags to help you validate your suspicions:
New Content on Web Pages
Some hackers are incredibly stealthy. Instead of rendering your site unusable, they insert images, links, or words that don’t fit in your website. If you come across web page elements that are out of place, there’s a good chance that cybercriminals have compromised your website.
Pro-tip: If you’re using a website archiving tool, you can easily figure out if hackers have messed with your site. You can, for instance, use versions of your archived websites to check for additions, deletions, and changes to the live site.
Not all cybercriminals are meticulous enough to cover their tracks. They leave behind strange codes on the bottom or top portion of your site. If you come across cryptic, obfuscated, or out-of-place looking codes anywhere on your website, take them out as soon as possible. Hackers may use these codes to slow down your website, reduce traffic, steal sensitive customer information, and redirect visitors to malicious websites.
Customers Are Complaining About Their Credit Card Usage
Some hackers use sophisticated, stealthy, and malicious techniques to hack websites and harvest entered or stored credit card details. These cybercriminals will then sell these pieces of information on the dark web. People who gain access to these credit card details can make fraudulent transactions.
You’ll know that something’s fishy when customers trace the fraudulent transactions back to your website. If this is the case, hackers may be targeting security vulnerabilities on your e-commerce site or taking advantage of security flaws in one of your installed plugins. If your customers are complaining about their credit cards after transacting at your e-commerce store, you may want to check your website for issues.
There Has Been an Update to the Core System Files
An attacker could access and modify the system files on the website to perform various unauthorized actions, such as:
- Executing a malicious code that slows down the website
- Creating a backdoor that allows other hackers to access the site
- Sending spam emails to customers
You can check for discrepancies in the core files by comparing them with earlier versions. If there’s a change in the file name, file size, or last modified date, it may point to a compromised website. Additionally, hackers may have attacked your website if you find suspicious-looking server-side scripts and files on your website’s upload directories.
When you notice any of these obvious and subtle red flags on your website, don’t panic. Take this time to temporarily shut off access to your website, clean your site of any unauthorized codes or plugins, and prevent future attacks by installing the latest security software