Many website owners view hacking as an unlikely event because they feel that their site as just one of millions of websites on the Internet. They don’t think hackers would be interested in their site even if they found it. What they don’t realize is that hacking is mostly automated with software that looks for sites and their web hosting servers that have certain characteristics indicating they can be easily compromised. The software patiently sifts through countless websites identifying and compromising those sites it knows how to hack.
What happens to a site that gets hacked? Sometimes the site suffers defacement where the normal site content is replaced by whatever the hacker chooses. The good thing about this is that it can be quickly detected and fixed fairly easily. In the mean time however, visitors will be scared away and customers will be lost. Even if lost customers return later after the site is fixed, they won’t feel confident about making further purchases through the site.
Another possibility is that the site remains visibly unchanged but customer information is taken from the site’s database. This information may be sold to others or exploited in other ways. This type of security breach can result in the site owner facing multiple lawsuits from the victimized customers.
Other possibilities include infecting the computers of those visiting the site or selling various “products” normally associated with spam email. The site may also be used to redirect traffic to various unsavory websites.
The longer a hacked site goes undetected by its owner, the more severe the consequences become. Search engines often indicate in the search results that a site has been compromised and will reduce its rankings. Some browsers such as Google Chrome will warn users that the site they are about to visit may be harmful to their computer. With time, a site may become blacklisted by ISPs which further reduces traffic to the site. By this time, the reputation of the company that owns the site will have suffered a lot of damage.
The dire long term consequences described so far can be avoided through frequent and diligent monitoring of your site. When a problem is detected, quick action must be taken to remedy and restore your site. Security steps must also be taken to minimize the possibility of your site ever getting hacked.
For more information about securing your website from hackers, contact us. At Applied Innovations, security is an integral part of hosting your site. To learn about our unique seven point security system, please visit this page.
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