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Ten things you need to know about hacking

We hear stories about hacking all the time. For anyone with a website, hacking is a scary thought. But few truly understand what hacking is, why it happens, and the consequences beyond the inconvenience of a down site. Hacking attempts happen all the time. This article explains ten things you need to understand about hacking and recovering when it happens to you.  

1. You are never too small to be hacked

Many small business owners make the mistake of believing they aren’t worth a hacker’s time. But unfortunately, that belief and lack of preparation against attacks can make a small business even more vulnerable. The fact is that most hackers target small businesses because they do not have the resources or technical skills needed to protect themselves. As a result, small businesses are low-hanging fruit. 

2. Hackers are looking for information

Hackers have no idea what they will find when they hack a site. However, depending on what information you store and where and how you keep it, your site may be a goldmine, which can lead to future hacking at an increased rate. Data breaches are the number one reason why hackers do what they do. Many will sell your data on the dark web, engage in corporate espionage, blackmail your company, or use the data for extortion.   

3. You may not realized your site was hacked

Not all hacks bring websites crashing down. most are far more discreet and insidious. Once they gain access to your website, they can install a ‘back door.’ They might get all your current customer information when they first hack, but the back door lets them access your site and discreetly steal information from you in the future.

4. Being hacked can affect your site's traffic

If your site gets hacked once, it’s not really going to affect Google or other search engines from sending traffic your way. But if the site is hacked and the hackers add something to deceive or install malware on visitors’ computers, they may block traffic until the next scan by the search engine. Then, they will block your site with a warning to each visitor, sometimes showing a warning saying the site is unsafe.  

5. It can affect your search engine ranking

Having a site that gets hacked regularly can affect your overall search engine score, pushing you lower down the list. The reason? Companies like Google want to keep their customers safe. Google makes its money from people relying on them. If their customers get sent to websites that compromise their personal data and privacy, Google’s customers will lose trust in them.  

6. Your site can get blacklisted

If the hacks continue without any sign of security improvement, that can lead to a site being blacklisted by search engines, ISPs like Cox, AntiVirus programs, and browsers. Once you’ve been blacklisted, getting removed from that list is a long and complex process. You will not appear in search engines when your site is blacklisted. Some antivirus programs installed on servers will also send emails to junk folders or block them if the email contains links to known blacklisted domains.  

7. You can get kicked off your hosting platform

When your site gets hacked, it can put other sites on the same server at risk. It can also bring down their servers which could take thousands of their client’s websites offline. If your site gets successfully hacked often enough, the hosting company may choose to terminate hosting services.  

8. Recovery from a hack is complicated

Even if the attack was small and nothing major happened, fixing and cleaning the code would involve costs and time. To recover from being hacked, you want an expert to go through the code, and your site, ensuring everything is cleaned up and ready to go. It is also essential to find out how you got hacked and then fix it, so it doesn’t happen again. Most hosting companies include security for their servers but not for your website. They do not protect code written by you or someone else.

Also, you must have a Disaster Recovery Plan to get your website online fast, so points four through seven do not affect your business.

9. Hacking prevention is not a one-and-done or one-size-fits-all

Hackers and the tools they use are constantly evolving. That means your hacking prevention strategy and software must continuously evolve as well. That is why you must regularly review your server logs, conduct routine penetration tests, and update your code for security vulnerabilities.  

10. Hacking also affects you legally

All 50 states and many other countries have laws regarding data breaches. All require you to immediately notify all persons that are or COULD be affected, even if the person does not live in your state. Additionally, you must follow the local laws of the person affected as well as your local laws. For example, if you are based in Denver, and your customer is in New York, laws from both states apply. Because laws vary by state or country, we advise that you contact an attorney who specializes in data breaches and Cybersecurity in the event of an attack.  

Red OnX is committed to keeping your site safe

Red OnX is committed to keeping your site, data, and customers safe. We ensure the latest technology and security techniques are constantly working to keep your site safe and running. We monitor your website around the clock to keep your site and data safe from hackers, viruses, and intrusions. No cybersecurity solution is 100% effective, but if something happens, we can recover your site and get you back up quickly.