Thousands of websites across the world have been the target of hacking attacks in recent years. The successful security breaches have had a negative impact on the finances and reputation of the affected companies.
So, why would someone hack your website? What do they have to gain?
What Motivates The Hackers?
Reputation and financial gain are the two of the main reasons for hackers attempting to gain access to websites. In the first instance hackers may take considerable pride in overcoming the security measures that have been taken by major businesses. As an example, the high profile group of hackers known as LulzSec managed to breach the Nintendo website in 2011. They later claimed that they hadn’t ‘meant any harm.’ Hackers such as this enjoy the intellectual challenge of violating websites and the kudos that they gain in the web community.
Those hackers who are interested in making substantial amounts of money might focus on the websites of e-commerce stores and specialist financial institutions. If they are able to hack the right sites it’s possible to gain access to the personal records of customers, which could potentially be used to commit credit card fraud. In 2011 the FBI arrested a group of high profile hackers who had made millions of pounds by accessing and exchanging credit card details online.
In some cases the hacked third-party accounts are used to send spam and phishing emails to unsuspecting customers and clients. The hackers might even request the disclosure of passwords and the details of accounts, which could be used to fund their illegal operations.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your business is, if your website stores personal data about you or your customers, there is a financial incentive for hackers to gain access.
How Will You Know If Your Website Is Hacked?
In some cases the webmaster may only realise that their website has been hacked when it completely stops working. You might start to receive emails from customers who wonder why your company has seemingly disappeared or you might be lucky enough to discover it yourself. Obviously, this is very bad news for any business.
A hacked website may also be flagged up as being potentially harmful by Google. Following the warning messages you can expect to see a significant decline in search engine rankings and sizeable fall in the number of website visitors even after your website has been restored.
Another major downside to having your website hacked is that your email might stop working. Most companies will use an email system which is hosted on the same server as their website. If the server is hacked, all company email addresses are likely to stop working completely.
How Can You Stop The Hackers?
If you’re particularly concerned about the prospect of being hacked then it would be a good idea to regularly check your web files and install the latest online security software. It would also be sensible to register with a reliable web hosting company. The most reliable companies will provide comprehensive support and 24 hour security monitoring.
Unfortunately the security specialists and law enforcers are facing a real struggle when it comes to fighting the hackers. It seems that there will always be technological masterminds who are focused on abusing the online system. However, it is still possible to stop the majority of hackers by taking these simple precautions:
- Use comprehensive antivirus protection software that includes ‘internet security’.
- Host your website on a dedicated server.
- Keep your website Content Management System completely up to date at all times.
- Buy a Service Level Agreement from your Web Developer so to have a team ready to get the site live if attacked.
If you are worried about the security of your website then please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We offer dedicated server packages, full expert support, Servive Level Agreements and we also take many other extra measures to make sure that our customers are as protected as they possibly can be.