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What do you do if you think your website has been hacked?

There are business owner problems and then there are PROBLEMS. A month ago I woke up to an email from my website hosting company notifying me that my website was down. Later I visited what I thought was my website only to discover the content wasn’t mine. Turns out my website had been hacked! 

What do you do if you think your website has been hacked?

I started by calling my website hosting company who simply said, “Oh well someone hacked it and you will have to pay us to fix it. It was probably something you did on your site.” Wow. I hadn’t touched my website in months and I wasn’t about to pay them to fix a website I thought they were supposed to help keep safe. After a lengthy conversation, they helped me get my website restored free of charge but I was assured that wouldn’t be the case next time.

How often do websites get hacked? Every day if not every hour or minute by hackers around the globe.

My website is a small business website without any customer information like a bank, hospital, or government agency might have so I count myself lucky that it wasn’t held for ransom. Seriously. Websites are sometimes held for ransom!

The Grey’s Anatomy Factor

If you’re a fan of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, you will recall an episode earlier this season when the hospital was attacked by hackers who held the computer systems, security, and even the blood bank hostage with ransomware. Ransomware is software that blocks systems from operating until a ransom is paid, sometimes in cash but more recently in Bitcoin.

The Grey’s hackers requested $20 million in ransom before they would release the system back to my favorite team of television doctors. If you think that was a far-fetched idea, think again. Search “ransomware attacks” in the news and you will find a list of places around the globe that have been hacked just like the fictitious Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.

Let’s talk about how you know if your website has been hacked.

If you go to your site and the content has been changed or the entire site is different, like mine was, you’ve been hacked.

  • Is your web address redirecting to another website like porn or pharmaceutical site.
  • Has Google or Bing notified you that your site has been compromised?
  • Did the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla) indicate the site is no longer secure?

If you’ve noticed an increase in website visits, especially from other countries, that could be an indicator of hacking attempts.

At IT Ninjas, we understand that you may not always have the time to check the technology and data backups of your website and systems. With the proper data backup support and website hosting, you can have your website protected against hackers. While it isn’t a foolproof system with hackers learning new ways to access websites every day, rest assured with our team and the data backups, we will have your site up and running again.

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