Worried that your website has been hacked? Here are five of the most common symptoms…
1) Google flags your site as harmful
If your site attracts the dreaded “This site may harm your computer” message on Google’s search result pages, it’s likely that your site has been hacked.
2) Your Google listings change
The text that appears underneath your site link on search engines’ result pages should come from a page on your site. Beware if you see text that is unrelated to your site’s content.
3) You notice a sudden decrease in traffic
If your traffic drops off dramatically, it could be a sign that your visitors are receiving a warning from Google that your site is unsafe (as per point 1). If you saw that warning, you probably wouldn’t visit your site either.
4) Your visitors aren’t happy with you
Are your visitors getting viruses or antivirus alerts from your web pages?
Are they being redirected to another website when they are trying to visit yours?
Sound dodgy to you? Yeah, me too.
5) Your site contains files or code you don’t recognise
Can you see links, text, etc. on any of your pages that you didn’t put there? If so it’s possible that you’ve been hacked.
There are certain types of files that you might not recognise that are still okay. Many content management systems which are database driven will regularly store files in specific folders for short periods of time. The files are usually used to speed up you website (cache files). The disadvantage to this is that the location of these files and folders requires a specific set of permissions to be set within your website. This unfortunately becomes an attack surface for common exploits of popular CMS systems.
While your site probably does contain files you didn’t put there, but they should be easily identified. You can examine text files to see if their contents look suspicious using the file manager in both cPanel and Plesk. Don’t delete files just because you don’t recognise them.
If you’re unsure, please contact our support desk before deleting files that could be important!
Have you noticed any of these signs? If you suspect that your site has been hacked, please get in contact with our support desk as soon as possible.
Read our tips on securing your shared hosting account to make sure your site doesn’t get hacked in the first place 😉