Finding out your website or multiple websites have been attacked by hackers is one of the most deflating feelings you can experience as a business owner. Essentially, your business is offline or may be presenting to viewers with spam pop-ups or worse. This can be incredibly damaging in terms of reputation and how you rank on Google in the future. Knowing how to secure your website from hackers is at the top of the priorities during website design and development.

In this post, you will find out how and why you need to ensure your website is secure against hackers.

Why do websites get hacked?

There are a number of reasons why a website might be hacked. It could be that someone enjoys causing issues for website owners and gets some enjoyment from that. Increasingly these days it’s because a hacker wants to hold the website owner to ransom and demands payment to regain access via Bitcoin or similar methods of payment.

How do I know if a website has been hacked?

Hackers often use Malware to gain access and infect a website. These files can access important core files of a website and begin damaging how the website operates.

In addition, viruses may also infect the website and the computer managing it.

Typically, the website will be down, not load to view or display with spam or popups.

Sometimes the website will continue to operate normally and you won’t notice anything wrong as the hacker moves through the website, taking it to a point of full damage or take over.

Can a hacked website be fixed?

When a website has been hacked, you will you go into thoughts of how bad it is and where to even start. An assessment will need to be conducted to see if it can be fixed. What information has been taken, am I being held to ransom over this. Or, can it be fixed and do I need to start over again at high expense.

It will depend on the severity. If it is detected early, you can have a higher chance of regaining control and removing the corrupted files.

A professional should be able to assess the damage and advise on the state of the damage so you can make a decision on how to proceed.

There are a number of providers online who can assist with this service.

Who should I talk to if a website has been hacked?

If you notice issues with your website, speak with your hosting provider to see if they can identify any issues behind the scenes.

The next step is to speak to a third-party developer to assess the damage to the website and provide services to correct the issues. This will include identifying core files damaged and locating the malware file/s.

What security measures should be in place for a website?

It’s vital to have a secure and trusted hosting service with 24/7 support. Cheap isn’t always good and often ends up failing.

A Firewall is a must on the hosting service. Speak with your provider about this. Some hosting services provide this or look at a third-party option such as Cloudflare.

Avoid plugins as they can be corrupted and don’t always do the job. Although a monitor such as Sucuri can be beneficial to monitor core files, logins, attempted logins and attacks to raise the alarm.

Passwords – always encrypt the password with a string of numbers, letters and characters.  Don’t use the word password, names, birthdays and the like.

Services like Roboform can generate passwords such as these or create your own. This is an excellent and affordable password management service that can be installed on your computer, browser and mobile device.

In addition, change any logins that use admin, user or similar. Make it something different and unusual.

Remove any unused plugins and themes from the WordPress installation. Hackers often use these to gain access to a website and start corrupting it.

Regular ongoing maintenance and upgrades should form part of your website management program to stop hackers accessing out of date plugins and themes.

Speak with your hosting support team or website developer to ensure all security measures are in place and will be monitored moving forward.

Your local computer should also have a good quality virus scanner installed to stop infected files from accessing a website.

Insurance Protection

If you’re managing websites for other businesses, it’s important to consider insurance coverage. If a website is hacked and the business cannot operate, or their reputation has been damaged, you may be held liable for this.

We recommend speaking to a reputable insurance broker or company about Cyber Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance. These insurances will cover you for legal costs, errors, costs to repair hacked websites, ransom demands (yes, they happen, typically with Bitcoin) and much more.

The Broker or Company will advise on what is suitable for your situation.

We have these in place for our company for peace of mind.

Next Steps

Protecting your digital assets is an important step for all businesses. Taking these steps will limit the possibility of major issues and downtime for the business.

Share your experience with us and feel free to ask questions on this topic. Leave a comment below this post.