We don’t hear it often, but every once in a while we will recieve a call from a business owner having issues with their website. After some quick troubleshooting from our Development Director, the business owner is informed that their site has been hacked and asked if they would like an estimate to resolve the issue. In most cases the answer is an affirmative yes, but in some cases they hesitate. This hesitation occurs under very specific circumstances: the site has been hacked, but the website still works. What would you do?
While most of us automatically think website hack = BAD, but what if your site is still seems to be working? You may not want to pay to fix an “invisible issue.” We are here to tell you that ignoring a hack can lead to accumulating problems on three important levels.
Once a hacker gains access to one aspect of your website, there is a good chance he is looking for opportunities to expand this bad activity. What kind of bad activity? Stealing private information, vandalizing the content on your website, sending out spam email, adding or removing code, taking control of the website and holding it for ransom.
A hacked site has a bad reputation with users and the server it’s on. If visitors to your site see the tell tale signs of a hack, they aren’t going to risk sticking around. If a hacker sets your website up to send out spam email from your domain, you risk having your domain name blacklisted by email services, which could result in mail delivery issues.
If a hack is caught immediately the cost to fix is may be minimal. Waiting to see if it gets worse is going to cost you anywhere from hours of removing hacked code to the worst case scenario – having to rebuild your website from scratch.
How to protect your website from hackers
Keep your website current
New versions of your website’s software, and the plugins used on the site are frequently updated to help keep your site safe. Take advantage of this and update your site often.
Do you know if your website is up to date? If you have a WordPress website you can log into the dashboard to discover if updates are available. Another way to find out is by asking your web team if your site is current and if they offer a maintenance plan to keep your site updated.
Take your passwords seriously
We can’t overstate the importance of using secure passwords. We know it’s a pain to remember a complicated password, but we’re here to tell you that it’s worth it. Measure the cost of rebuilding your website against insisting on using an insecure password, we promise your it’s worth the hassle.
Backup your website
Your web hosting company should offer you the opportunity to keep a backup of your website on a separate server. In fact, premium web hosts will keep a backup on their main server, an offsite server, and an in-office hard drive.
Step up to SSL
If your website domain starts with http:// it’s time to upgrade to https:// by adding a SSL certificate to your website. HTTPS sends information through Transport Layer Security Protocols that protect your information through data integrity, encryption, and authentication. Learn more about SSL Certificates or purchase one today.