Every day, cyber attacks and hacks become more complex, disruptive, and hard to stop. Sophisticated technology and incredible skills are necessary for hackers who can take down large and small businesses alike. With that, it may be difficult for someone who isn’t a tech expert to know if they’ve been hacked.
So, are hacking attacks noticeable right away? Unfortunately, not always! Some very simple viruses, spyware, or malware are often the most easily recognizable. These programs cause your email to send out fake links, or your site shuts down right away. However, advanced hackers know how to steal your information without anyone noticing. In this case, it is vital you stay aware of the signs that a website has been hacked, and stay vigilant.
Signs a Website is Hacked
Not all hacking attacks are visible. Unfortunately, some sophisticated schemes collect data without detection or disruption, which can often be devastating. However, some sites will show signs right away.
1) Google Warnings
When you visit a hacked URL from your Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera browser, Google’s built-in security feature warns you that “the website you’re about to visit may contain malware.” Sound familiar? You’ve likely seen it around the web many times. Most browsers use Google’s blacklist to warn users about sites. As an owner, it’s vital to visit your website every so often and make sure Google doesn’t sound the alarm. If it is, that’s a clear sign that a hack, virus, spyware, or malware is wreaking havoc on your back end.
2) Site Disabled by the Hosting Company
If your site is linked or created through the usual hosting companies like GoDaddy or HostGator, they have a policy for disabling any sites when malicious code is detected. Though sites often get hacked due to a lack of security, hosting companies have something that constantly scans all the websites and disables any suspected of being hacked. They disable hacked sites so the virus doesn’t spread. They should send you an email when this happens, though.
3) Outbound Ports are Blocked
If you’re getting the error message that outbound ports 80, 443, 587, or 465 are blocked, that’s another clear sign your site is experiencing a hacking attack. Sometimes, the hosting company won’t entirely disable your site, but they will cut off any parts they suspect carry code that could undermine your company’s or client’s security.
4) Customers Complain About Stolen Credit Cards
While everyone has their information compromised at some point, if too many clients tell you they’ve had their credit card info stolen recently, that’s a big sign your site has been hacked. This information may be more challenging to track down as it’s hard to communicate with every customer. Still, some shoppers are savvy enough to catch on and will inform you if they suspect their credit card number was stolen while shopping on your website.
5) Emails From You End Up in Spam
If you send out regular newsletters or email back and forth with clients, watch where your emails end up. If you ever get responses where your contacts tell you that your email ended up in spam or you’re getting fewer responses than usual, your business is likely hacked. Email servers block those email addresses that have been phished or caught another virus that passes through email.
How to Stop a Hacking Attack
If you suspect your site was hacked, the best thing to do is get in touch with a professional who can help restore your site’s security. Then, it’s a good idea to upgrade your security. If you were hacked before, it will likely happen again unless you’re careful. It’s more important than ever that smaller and independently-owned businesses prioritize website security, as these businesses suffer the most when a hack happens.
If you’re looking to host a safe and secure site with an IT team monitoring it at all times, call Internal Computer Services at 804-672-1057. Our staff has over 30 years of experience working with clients to provide them with an array of technical services – with the best customer care around.