Are you worried your business website has been hacked? Want to know the warning signs you should look out for to know if your site has been infected?
iThemes share their tell-tale hacking signs in this infographic.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Your homepage is different
- Your website performance has dropped
- Your website contains malicious or spam popups ads
- You notice a decrease in website traffic
- Unexpected file changes
- Unexpected new users
- Admin users removed
Check out the infographic for more detail.
A website hack can be devastating to your business. It takes time, money, and resources to resolve the situation. If you’re not sure whether or not your website has been hacked, there are some things you can look out for that will help you determine if your site has been compromised.
This article will walk you through 7 of the most common warning signs that hackers have left on your site, so you can quickly figure out if your site has been hacked or not.
Website hacking signal 1 – Your homepage is different
If you’ve noticed any unusual changes to your homepage or other key pages on your website, there’s a good chance that your site has been hacked. Even small details like font size or text color can be changed when someone takes over your site—so keep an eye out for anything unusual.
It’s also worth noting that hackers sometimes take credit for their attack by updating your home page with information about themselves and/or images of computer virus warning screens. So if you notice something new on your homepage, it’s important to investigate further before clicking any links within it!
Is data missing? Is data present but doesn’t match what should be there? Look for inconsistencies in both presentation and format. The changes could be subtle, such as a missing headline on an image link on page two of your home page that’s now showing up as a blank space.
Or they could be obvious and annoying to visitors, like seeing your credit card has expired messages when they try to make a purchase from your online store. In either case, hackers can destroy your business if you don’t take immediate action—which starts with finding out if they have in fact breached any part of your online presence.
Website hacking signal 2 – Your website performance has dropped
If your website feels slower, takes longer to load, or looks different from what you remember, it’s a sign your site has been hacked. A decline in page load speed could indicate that something malicious has been added to your code or could simply indicate performance issues with your server or local internet connection.
If you suspect something malicious might be going on, use a website security tool and contact an expert immediately. The nature of attacks means they may not be immediately apparent; hackers can infiltrate websites and hide their presence for weeks before anyone notices an issue. But if you notice performance issues, don’t ignore them—it could cost your business money.
Check out tools like Pingdom or Pingmon, which will test your website speed over time so you know whether there are sudden drops in performance. If you have significant reductions in speed without any explainable reason, it might be time to take action on securing your website.
Website hacking signal 3 – Your website contains malicious or spam popups ads
An unfortunate side effect of your website being hacked is that someone else will have control over your content. You may start to see spam pop-ups or other types of advertisements you don’t want to show up on your site. If you find yourself experiencing these problems, check to make sure you haven’t been hacked.
This can be done by using a website security tool, or reaching out to your hosting provider for help. As always, if something seems odd about your site in any way, take precautions before making changes. Hackers love setting traps and hoping users fall into them!
Remember: Treat any contact with a web platform as a potential hacking situation. It could end up saving you lots of time and money down the road.
Website hacking signal 4 – You notice a decrease in website traffic
If you notice your website traffic has dropped dramatically or search engine rankings have taken a nosedive, you might have been hacked. Check your website’s analytics for clues. If Google Analytics show a sharp decrease in page views, search queries, and time spent on site (or an increase in bounce rate), someone may be hacking into your site and stealing traffic.
If you suspect that you’ve been hacked or that your website has been infected with malware or viruses, contact your web design company immediately to deal with the problem. They can perform an emergency audit of your security system, restore any backups of your website content, and check if any malicious code is still lurking around.
It’s always better to take action right away than to hope that nothing will happen; without proactive maintenance your website can become unstable and risk losing its SEO credibility in Google searches and other platforms like Yahoo! Search.
Website hacking signal 5 – Unexpected file changes
If you know a little bit about website building, then a folder or a file that you don’t remember adding to your site is probably a red flag. If it isn’t something you added on purpose, chances are high that it’s there for nefarious purposes.
Check your file structure frequently and be alert for strange additions. And if something does look off, contact your web hosting company immediately. You can often ask them to restore everything back to its original state before any damage was done.
Website hacking signal 6 – Unexpected new users
If you notice people signing up for accounts or accessing your website, but you didn’t create these accounts yourself, your website may have been hacked.
Beware of new users who are registering with all-caps names, random strings of numbers and letters or no name at all. These sign-ups could also be coming from email providers that send out spam emails.
Either way, if something seems off about a user account, don’t register it as an administrator—this would give a hacker access to your entire site. Instead, delete any suspicious accounts as soon as possible.
Website hacking signal 7 – Admin users removed
Hackers often try to create admin accounts on a site they’ve compromised. Before you can do anything, you have to remove those users from your site’s administration panel.
Often, your host will have a specific page for resetting passwords; otherwise, contact their support team and ask them for instructions. If any of your existing admins had weak passwords (common examples include admin or 1234), force them to change their credentials right away.
Once all hacked-in admins are removed, immediately change your password as well.