“Google says the number of incidents of hacked sites grew by 32% between 2015 and 2016 – a figure it expects to rise this year as hackers become more aggressive, sites become outdated and the cyber criminals quicker to take advantage of that lax security.” — Wordtracker
When Google notices a site has been hacked it notifies the owner or webmaster through the Search Console. Are you connected through the Search Console? If not, then you won’t get these alerts and your site may go undetected until someone contacts you to let you know.
Here are some of the top ways websites can get hacked:
- Admin is kept as the log-in username
- A strong password is not used
- WordPress is not kept up-to-date
- Themes and plug-ins are not kept up-to-date
In addition to the alert from Google there is a Hacked Site Troubleshooter, Websites Help Forums and the Webmasters Help for Hacked Sites Guide.
Here are some of the most common types of hack:
- The Gibberish Hack creates a bunch of new pages filled with nonsense text but filled with keywords. These pages are usually redirected through another site – possibly one with adult content.
- Japanese Keywords Hack is similar to the Gibberish Hack except the new pages will be listed in directories filled with affiliate links. This hack can sometimes lock out the real owners of the domain by making themselves the site owners.
- Cloaked Keywords Hack also creates new pages, filled with text, links and images. The content is malicious. The links can have a word related to the article you’re reading. When you click on it thinking you’re getting related information but in reality it’ll bring you to an unintended site, such as a porn site.
Prevention requires a proactive approach so hacking doesn’t happen to you. Once I heard about this I logged in to all my WordPress clients who are on a Maintenance Plan and made sure their accounts were connected. Additionally, I go in on a regular basis and update WordPress, the theme and plug-ins. They are less concerned about hacking. Hopefully you are on a Maintenance Plan with your web developer to keep your website safe. If not, we’d be happy to give you some peace of mind and put you on one of our Maintenance Plans. Call us at 508-697-4027 or use our convenient contact form.