Tell-tale signs that your website has been hacked and what to do if it has been compromised


Having an SSL certificate has never been this important. According to a study by the University of Maryland, the near-constant rate of hack attacks ranges between every 39-40 seconds. This means that every forty seconds, a site is hacked. Having a Thawte SSL certificate to secure your domain against hacker attempts will prove very effective and satisfying. It is economical and will perform better than most SSL certificates in the market today. Additionally, this article will provide you with the signs that will depict if your site has been hacked and what to do if this happened. It will also provide you with some preventative tips to keep hackers at bay.

A little-known fact is that, most cyber-attacks are aimed at small business. To get the facts for you, 43% of all cyber-attacks are towards small and medium enterprises. Do not be misled to believe that your small ecommerce store is not on the list of hackers, make no mistake, you might be next.

Just to paint a clear picture of these brute attacks that spare no one, a study was carried out in the health care system. It included health insurance agencies, treatment facilities, and healthcare organizations and the findings were horrible. Over 75% of the entire industry has been infected with malware, this means hackers had access to personal records of patients and other classified data. It is very sad indeed.

Let us now take a dive into the signs that your website has been hacked.

01. Google Search console will inform you that your website was hacked

Linking your site to Google search console has its benefits. You will receive an email informing you that your site was hacked. It uses a certain algorithm that can detect spam contents, malicious code or maybe it could be having enough reason to ascertain that you have been attacked. This message will be a detailed breakdown of all the suspected URLs and other sources of the malicious content deployed to your site.

02. Browsers will flag your site to warn visitors

Google safe browsing is a feature developed by Google. It flags websites that have been hacked and it warns visitors by displaying a message to suggest that your website may have been hacked. If this happens then the highest probability is that your website has indeed been compromised. Google will blacklist your site. However, Google is not the only browser that offers this service, Firefox and opera also have their warning messages.

03. Clients complaints that their credit card was hacked

Hackers are very witty in their business and one may be misled to underestimate these people. They will hack your site, steal credit card information from your clients and sell this information on the dark web that are later used to carry out illegal transactions of large amounts of money. Having an SSL certificate maybe the only card you can play to outsmart these individuals and stand a chance to block their hack attempts.

04. Having your website disabled by your hosting company

Before choosing your hosting provider, make sure they regularly scan their servers for spam content or malicious code. This will help you to know if your site was indeed compromised. If you find such a company, it should be smooth sailing for you. Most hosting companies use the following consider the following to disable your website:

  • Spam or phishing emails present in your site
  •  Presence of malware code
  • High central processing unit usage due to running of malicious content
  • Your site being blacklisted by Google and other browsers.

05. Your website is very slow and returns error messages

If a malicious code has been deployed to your site, then the site speed subsequently slows down a ton. The website will be slow because this malicious software is eating up its processing speed. Top of the hacker target pages is payment, login, signup, and checkout. These are targeted because they contain all the juicy stuff. Not to worry because there is a silver lining, the Thawte SSL certificate will help your site stay safe away from hackers and their ill intentions. They are lifesavers, to be honest, and you should not do without them.

06. Finding that some files have been modified

This is an obvious sign.  If you notice the core system files have been altered then illegal access was made to your site. Hackers tend to modify these files to insert malicious code and execute it on your site. If you find files with suspicious-looking file names that you did not create then you should be warned that you might have been hacked.

07. Finding new admin users or even FTP accounts

If you log in to find new administrators that were not initially there and you did not give consent to creating them, then this is a strong indication that you might have been hacked. Hackers will tend to leave behind privileged accounts so they can use it to continue gaining access to your website or server. Having an SSL certificate for your site will go a long way to prevent some of these attacks and keep you and your clients very safe away from any harm

In the unfortunate event that you have been compromised, then do not worry. Here is what to do if your website has been hacked.

01. Ask yourself why you were attacked

This is always the first step towards recovering and picking up the pieces. Where did you go wrong? Where was the breach? These are just some questions you should ask yourself before anything else. Always be sure to check emails, they carry many spam emails that may have been used to launch the attack. Lastly, knowing what they wanted from your site may also be a step in the right direction

02. Inform your clients

If you are an ecommerce store that houses credit card information and other sensitive information then it may be wise to inform your clients that you were hacked and that they should not respond to emails or other forms of communication from people purporting to be you.

03. Reset your passwords

Always reset your passwords immediately after you suspect you were hacked. Use strong alphanumeric passwords that are long. It should be having at least 8 characters. Additionally, do not reuse passwords, and often change the passwords after a few months. Lastly do not use passwords that are obvious like a spouse’s name or a child’s date of birth because these are often very easy to crack and it will cost you. Think of a strong password that you will not forget easily.

04. Update and scan

Always remember to update your operating system and security software very often you installed. Ensuring that your machine Is running on the very latest version of these software could go a long way in preventing certain hacking attempts. After updating, use your latest security software to scan for viruses and other malware that may be in your system.

05. Report any breach to the relevant authorities

Always make sure you inform the authorities that your website was compromised. They will put in the efforts to capture the culprits and even restore lost data and other material you may have lost.

06. Preventative measures

Prevention is better than cure, there are ways of preventing brute attacks. The first way is having an SSL certificate that will encrypt all your information so that no third party may gain access. Secondly, is having an anti-virus software installed. It will safeguard your website online and offline. Thirdly, always signing out of your website goes a long way to keep hackers at bay.

Wrapping up

Using a Thawte SSL certificate equals having your website safe from harm. It will keep you safe and unharmed. Lastly, having an SSL certificate is the most important security mechanism you can use to be safe from hackers.

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