What to Do When Google Says You’ve Been Hacked
Between all the hassles and problems that come with running a website, the last thing you want to have happen is an intrusion. Hackers may wish to gain access to your site for a number of reasons: sometimes, they simply wish to obtain your email lists. Other times, however, they may be trying to gain access to financial or personal information for malicious purposes. Whenever we get a notification from Google that our site has been hacked, panic may set in at first. There is no need to worry, however, if you follow these simple tips to get your site back to par.
Clean and Inspect Your Computers
Most webmasters at first believe that some backdoor entry through their web server is to blame for a hacking incident. However, many cases of hacking originates from compromised computers that were used to work or access the site’s control panel. The first thing you should do is run a comprehensive scan on any and all computers that access the site to check for malware, spy software or keyloggers. Failure to do this may result in repeated – and more severe – attacks by hackers in the future. There are plenty of free and premium virus scanners available for download, so there simply is no excuse to skip doing this.
Change All Passwords
Most of us are guilty of not changing our passwords often enough, but it is a must-do when you have experienced a compromise in your website’s security. Not only is it a good idea to change your website’s password, but you may wish to change ALL of your passwords – especially if the former paragraph applies. Even if your passwords are different for various accounts, changing them will fix the problem if a hacker had a keylogger installed on your computer. It should be obvious that you want to wait to change passwords until after you have verified there is no malware on your computer.
Avoid Sketchy Emails
Hackers still use this age-old tactic and webmasters still fall for it. Hackers can use and install scripts to various websites that will then serve as the gateway for stealing your information. They send an email to you, hoping you click on it. Once you do, your information may be exposed. Much like you may be pinging websites in order to update them, hackers are constantly targeting you – whether you fall for their tricks or not. If you do not recognize an email that you have received, mark it as spam and move on.
Update Your Site
Especially crucial if you are running a content management system such as WordPress, installing the latest updates is a good way to prevent hackers from gaining access. By pinging websites for vulnerabilities, hackers can discover loopholes and security flaws that exist in previous versions of software. Whenever an update is released, it outlines what security issues have been fixed. If you do not update regularly, hackers will take advantage of your outdated website and wreak havoc on your day. By using common sense solutions like this, you can avoid the harsh reality of a hacked website.