Will My Site Be hacked?
In a word, yes. It’s not a question of if it will be hacked, it’s when. People assume that their website is safe because they are only a small company, and that hackers will only target large conglomerates. In fact, the opposite is true.
The reason for this is that most hackers simply want access to a big computer, which is where your website is hosted. They can do this by hacking any company’s website, large or small. However, bigger companies are more likely to have a security team, and to run updates on their website regularly. Whichever website the hackers target, the result of having access to the hosting computer is the same. Since smaller companies tend to have lax security, it makes them far more likely to be targeted.
Why Would Someone Want to Hack My Website?
Bored teenagers, who have nothing better to do, form a large part of the hacking community. They will target random websites or sometimes scan for vulnerabilities. The majority of the time, these people don’t have a good knowledge of web technologies. They mainly rely on tools provided by more intelligent third parties to hack and ruin websites.
The next motivation for website hacking is money. Mid to high traffic websites are often hacked in order to gain access to FTP or SSH.
Your website can also be used to upload phishing scams. This happens when the hacker copies the entire website front-end, so it looks identical to the website of a reputable bank or payment platform. This is then uploaded to your website, where it will be used to cheat people into providing their usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and bank account information.
Another money-driven motivation for hackers is Blackhat SE0. This is when all or part of the traffic to your website is redirected into an e-commerce or gambling website to generate income.
Misuse of your system resources
Malicious scripts can be uploaded to your server space, which can be used in several illegal activities, including sending spam campaigns via email and bitcoin mining.
Hacktivism is growing in popularity, and is a type of online protest, where people hack a website in order to claim their rights or support social, religious and political campaigns. Hacktivists often deface popular websites to spread their message by gaining media attention.
Content not allowed in the UK
UK hosting providers don’t allow adult content. So, sometimes hackers will attack websites in order to host their content there. Worryingly, when this happens you may find that you are being found in Google results for sex-related keywords that you can’t see on your website.
How to stop my website from being hacked
Firstly, a good strong password is absolutely essential. It should include a minimum of eight characters, with both uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. This is super important to prevent hacks.
Next, your computer needs to have some decent antivirus and antimalware installed. This needs to be updated regularly, as malware and viruses on your computer are often the first step to your website being hacked and exploited.
Never use pirated or cracked software on your computer that has been downloaded from third parties. Better judgement is so often outweighed by the perception of value. You may be tempted to download software, along with the crack, to avoid paying for it. This will obviously save you money in the short term, but a large amount of cracked software contains all kinds of malicious software that will cost you a fortune in the long run. A simple keylogger, hidden in the cracked software, will log any pressed keys from the last 24 hours, risking your login details being logged and used by others. However much it’s going to cost, it is always better to buy licensed software or a subscription package than it is to use pirated software.
Regular updates to your website software are the final way to avoid a hack on your website, Most modern CMS malware and virus infections tend to come from outdated plugins and themes, that hackers have accessed and added code to. Once someone realises their website has been hacked, the response is usually to run a backup. However, the backup often also contains the hacked code. This is why it is imperative to run regular updates. Modern web apps, such as WordPress, offer auto update options, which is handy for those people who struggle to get round such things.