It’s every website owner’s nightmare. You discover your site is hacked. Now what do you do?
It’s probably not as bad as you think
Over the years I’ve helped several of my clients after their websites were hacked. Most of the sites were easy to fix. In fact, about half the attacked sites I’ve worked on weren’t visibly affected. I could tell by the website code that something had happened. The hidden links to pharmaceutical sites were a dead giveaway. But they were hidden links. Their purpose was to try and draw the attention of the search engines to the linked sites. The sites looked and behaved normally to the casual visitor.
Contact your website developer as soon as you notice anything amiss. They’ll either roll back the site to an unhacked state or they’ll strip the malicious code from the site. The more complicated your website, the more at risk you re for data loss after an attack. Stay calm while your developer works the situation. Some hacks are catastrophic. Other website attacks are the equivalent of fender benders. They’re a hassle. They’re scary. They’re not so bad.
Be sure to ask your website developer how it happened. Do you need to update some software? Should some of the website code be rewritten to prevent further attacks? The developer may or may not know the answer to this question, but it’s always important to ask.
How to Prevent Hacks
There is no way to be 100% sure that your website won’t be hacked. However you can cut down on the chances of a website attack by making sure that your website software is always updated. The cost and time to update software is generally a good investment.
You should also ask your website developer to review the code on your site annually to see if it should be updated. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” doesn’t hold true for websites. Code that may have been state of the art a few years ago may be hacker bait today.
Backups are Good Insurance
Always ask your developer about site and database backups. If your site ever has a catastrophic hack, you’ll thank your lucky stars for those files.