10 Dead Give-a-Ways That Your Website Has Been Hacked (And What to Do About It)
The internet has become commonplace for people looking for information. Due to the internet’s role in everyday life, it has become susceptible to threats like hacking. If you’re a website owner, waking up to a hacked website is the most frustrating thing to see. However, hackers have become clever. Sometimes, it’s hard to say if your site has been hacked.
Here are the ten telltale signs that your website has been hacked:
1. Google Flags Your Website
Web administrators call this the “red screen of death.” When Google flags your website, it warns you that a website might be hacked. You’ll probably see it flashed on your screen the words “this site might be hacked” or “Phishing attack ahead.” It’s called the “red screen of death” because the color of the background is red.
Perhaps, it’s Google’s way of saying not to proceed. If this were a horror movie, you’d probably proceed anyway. But in reality, don’t even dare to proceed. Hackers might steal your information.
2. Your Browser Warns You About It
Sometimes, your browser will warn you before Google flags your website. You’ll see the message “The Website Ahead Contains Malware.” If this happens, it means that someone hacked your website through malicious software that can steal information from you. If you see this message, don’t proceed.
Before customers see this message, contact your website hosting service provider or administrator to shut down the website.
3. Customers Inform You
If your websites serve as a platform where customers can view and buy your products, it is expected that they’ll be the ones discovering the problem. Today, many website owners face DDOS or direct denial of service attacks wherein hackers make your website unusable and dysfunctional.
DDOS attacks are meant to destroy you by attacking customer experience. If customers call you about this, contact your web administrator immediately.
4. Website Runs Slowly
A typical DDOS attack is making your website run slowly. Moreover, some hackers can penetrate your HTML codes and modify them to make your website underperform. The best way to check this is by testing your website firsthand. First, you have to check if your internet connection is at its optimal speed. Then, try your website features. If everything is indeed slow, contact experts now.
5. Your Web Hosting Provider Notifies You
Web hosting services like GoDaddy or Hostgator automatically put your website offline if it’s been hacked. After they do that, they’ll email you about it. Consider yourself lucky if your web hosting provider detects this early on.
6. Your Website Disappears
Your website vanishing in thin air is something to be wary about. The level of hacking the hacker must be exceptional, the same as those you see in movies. The only way to check this is by accessing your website every day. However, don’t be too afraid of this kind of hacking. Hackers today don’t want you to know that they’ve penetrated your website quickly.
7. Unusual Ads Appear on Your Website
If you put ads on your website, you’re a candidate for hackers who sneak in ads to your websites. Most of the time, these ads contain illegal or obscene images. However, that is not always the case. You might see decent ads, but you’ll probably not notice it right away. The best way to prevent this is to check your website and monitor ads regularly.
8. Your Emails are Sent to Spam
Are you a fan of subscription mailing lists? If yes, hackers can find a way to destroy your online reputation. Hackers can steal your mailing lists and spam your subscribers with emails. Once the email service provider (e.g., Gmail) detects that you’ve been sending too many emails, they’ll flag your company email as Spam, and customers won’t be notified of your future emails.
9. Website Traffic Plummets Abnormally
When everything’s going well, you see your traffic go up or down by a small percentage. During your peak season, you might find it rare to see web traffic go down. Another way to destroy websites is by keeping you away from your customers. You won’t notice this immediately, but you’ll notice a decrease in your sales or if you visit your website dashboard.
10. Accessing Your Website Redirects You to Another Website
Another way to spot a hack is when your website redirects to an unfamiliar website. When this happens, you need to immediately call your website administrator to address the situation.
Remedies for a Website Hack
If you want to check if someone is messing up with your website, you can try the remedies below:
- Google Search Console. The Search Console can help you detect possible hacking of your system. You can do this by simply logging into your Google Search Console and going to Security & Manual Actions. Then, click View Report in the Security Issues. It will prompt right away if Google detects any irregularity.
- Google’s Safe Browsing Tool. Visit the Safe Browsing Tool and enter your website’s URL. This tool will detect any unsafe content it sees on your website.
- Use Google’s Hacked Site Troubleshooter. This tool from Google can help you detect hacked or missing content. However, it’s best to use the first two remedies above before this troubleshooter.
- Shut down your website to prevent complications. If you can still access your web dashboard, unpublish your website immediately. You must do this to prevent your customers from being affected by the hack. Your customers’ information is also at risk, and hackers may steal them as well.
If your website was indeed hacked, the next course of action is to consult with experts. However, don’t keep your hopes up. Your website’s content may disappear. You’re lucky if only a little content will disappear. But in a worst-case scenario, your website can be gone for good. Nonetheless, don’t be scared. That’s only the worst-case scenario.