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Your Website Got Hacked . . . Now What?

hacked website

There are few worse feelings in business than going to your website only to find it suspended due to malware or a cyber-attack. You start to wonder, “Did I do something to cause this?”, “Why was my website hacked anyway?”, and “How can I get my site back up as quickly as possible?” The answer to this is simpler than you might believe, cyber criminals and hackers do not discriminate. You have data . . . data is valuable . . . they want cash.

Website security is a necessity for its health but most importantly, security is important because it creates trust for both your user and major search engines. A website that crashes due to malware attacks can cause the hacked website to become ‘blacklisted’ – meaning, search engines will not show the site in searches as not to infect users.

So what should you do if your website falls victim to hacking? Well, follow these steps and they should get your website back up-and-running in no time.

5 Steps for getting your hacked site back online after malicious infection attempt

  1. Run an anti-virus scan on your computer – Sometimes, hackers get into websites thru a hack on a local machine. Once allowed access into your machine, the hacker can watch your activity, gain access to passcodes and gather other vital security information. Before you do anything to fix the attack on your website, run an anti-virus scan on your local machine to make sure it is clean and safe to use.
  2. Change all passwords on all accounts– The next thing you will want to do is change all passcodes associated with your website account. This will mean CMS (content management system) template passwords, FTP passwords, and cpanel passwords (if your server has access to a cpanel). If your site is down due to a hacked system, you can reach out to server support. They can assist you with whitelisting your IP so you can make the necessary changes and perform the necessary cleaning. As mentioned in step 1, hackers get access to your site by stealing password information, by changing passwords; you remove their access to the site.
  3. Upgrade CMS Template to newest version– The next step is to upgrade the software for CMS template you are using for your website (*Note, if you do not use CMS, then you can skip this step). Each update executed for CMS platforms provides a security plug or patch that is necessary in order to keep your website secure. Keeping your template updated regularly can provide insurance that your site remains relatively healthy and safe. Performing regular updates is not a guarantee against hacking. However, keeping the CMS updated means there is one less hole in the template script for hackers to exploit. When updating, make sure to upgrade all plugins and themes as well.
  4. Clean out the website ­– Now comes the hard part, making sure your hacked website is completely clean. While some code might be easy to locate and remove, hacks can be quite intricate. Depending on how long a cyber-criminal had access to your site, code may be deeply buried within the core structure of your site. You’ll need to make sure to go thru it with a fine tooth comb. If you are unfamiliar with complex code, there are services and companies – including Andromeda Technology Solutions – that will assist you with this task. Once all malicious code is removed, you will need to submit the site for inspection with your server technicians.
  5. Resubmit site to search engines and increase website firewall security – Once your site is clear of vulnerabilities or malicious code, you still need to do two things:
    1. Resubmit your site to search engines if it is blacklisted – If search engines blacklisted your site, the only way to get your site viewable and searchable again is to go to the major search engines and let them know your site is clear and all hacked materials and code have been patched and/or removed. This can take a couple of days . . . be prepared.
    2. Increase the firewall prevention on your site. Once a site has been hacked, it can be slightly easier for it to become infected again. We know you don’t want that. One way to prevent a repeat attack is by increasing your website firewall. Having a proxy server that manages who and what can visit your site definitely helps. The proxy server provides an extra level of protection and deters cyber-criminal activity. Hackers and cyber bullies want to go after the lowest hanging fruit. A proxy server and beefed up firewall preventions make your site more difficult to tackle.

Seems like a lot, right? Well, don’t worry. Andromeda is here to help.

We pride ourselves in protecting clients against all kinds of threats from cyber bullies.

If website security is an area you know needs attention in your organization, fill out the form below for a promotional coupon good thru July 15th on Advanced Website Firewall and Monitoring. This service utilizes proxy servers as described above to protect your site. Additionally, our continued monitoring platform scans your site every 12 hours to ensure it is clean and clear. Rest easy at night knowing Andromeda has your back both on and off the web.

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