7 Telltale Signs That Your Website Has Been Hacked

A website is crucial to any business or entrepreneur. It’s where a lot of your functions and transactions take place. From e-commerce to blogging, you’d be falling behind without a website. Nonetheless, not everyone is aware of how their site is vulnerable for attacks. There’s so much risk for your business and your customers when your site is breached. Besides ensuring that you have precautions in place, you need to know how to determine when a website has been hacked. Here are seven signs to know that your website has been compromised.

Internet Browser Gives a Warning When Visiting the Site

One of the most visible signs that your website has been hacked is when Google or any other browser alerts you. Most Internet browsers have a ‘safe browsing’ mode which protects visitors from proceeding to a site that may have been compromised. The warnings can vary according to the behavior seen. For example, it can warn for malware if the hacker has gained access to your site and installed malware which can affect your visitor’s machines. Another example is when the browser warns for phishing, where your site has been used as a platform for phishing campaigns, and whoever clicks on the email they will think that they’re visiting your website. You can be prompted by:

  • Visiting your site regularly
  • Set regular schedules for checks on the site
  • Be aware of the latest cyber security statistics so you can quickly detect unusual behavior on your site.

Your Hosting Company Took your Site Down

Another way to tell that your site has been hacked is when your hosting company takes it offline, in which you should be informed through an email. Hosting companies have security measures in place to determine malicious codes on their servers. They shut down sites that are infected so that other websites on that server won’t be affected. If you’ve paid for your hosting, haven’t broken any terms or conditions that might cause your site to be disabled, contact customer support to know what’s going on if you don’t find an email. It’s crucial that you back-up your website so that you won’t lose everything in case of such unfortunate events.

Your Website is Unusually Slow and you get several error messages 

It’s tricky to tell if a site is slow due to poor performance or a compromise, and error messages can be caused by a glitch and not necessarily a hack. However, if your website is regularly maintained and runs well, these unexpected behaviors can be indications that your site is hacked. When this happens, run a malware scan or look for unusual error logs and verify the code’s authenticity.

Your site has strange content

You and your team should be familiar with content that you put on your site. You’ve made a lot of effort to deliver valuable content that’s optimized for search engines. However, sudden strange content and images that show up on your website can be a sign of a hack. A few examples of peculiar content includes:

  • Links to unrelated sites or products
  • Text or links in a foreign language that isn’t used on your site
  • Pop-ups that you didn’t create
  • Ads that you didn’t allow on your pages

You Have Altered Files

When your core files are modified without your knowledge, you’ve potentially been hacked. File modifications can be done by hackers to send phishing emails or spread malware to others. Check with your team if they’re aware of the changes and compare the current files to earlier versions when investigating. Here are some things you can look into:

  • Web application files that show recent revisions when you last modified them years ago.
  • New data on your server that can’t be accounted for.
  • Third-party plugins installed that you don’t recognize.

New Admin Users or Jobs are on your site

An unknown process or admin user is a sign that your website has been breached. These can be used by hackers as a back door to get data that they want and continually have access from your site. You need to monitor the users that are created, especially when the privileges and accesses are sensitive. Once you can confirm the hack, the best thing to do is to shut off the access of all users to the site so that you can still control the damage.

Reports from Customers

Sometimes, you or your team won’t be able to spot that something’s wrong, even with the regular checks that you do on your website. When you start receiving reports from customers that something seems “off” on your site, they’re getting spam emails from you, or if they report that a credit card they previously used on your site is hacked, then treat the situation with urgency and investigate immediately.

Final thoughts

Hackers can get through a site when they’re determined to do so, but the signs listed above should help you be alerted of a potential breach. It’s crucial that you don’t just rely on your firewall, but invest in malware and code scanners to lessen your chances of vulnerability. Keep the signs above in mind so that you can get things under control and clean-up your site immediately in case of a breach.