Hacking is usually thought of as happening on an international level. Spies from another country trying to hack the mainframe of America’s national security system. It’s all pulse-pounding, underground, Lisbeth Salander stuff and very scary, right?
Actually, hacking occurs on sites of all sizes and hackers are looking for personal information, banking info, or are just malicious.
And, there are also pissed off or scammy outsourcers that can take your site down. There have been countless cases where a small or medium business outsourced work, the outsourcer put in a back-door entrance in the company’s hosting account, then attempted a virtual hold-up, asking for more money than promised or your site will stay down.
For even small businesses, hacking can cost tens of thousands of dollars in business.
No matter how it happened, here’s what to do if you’ve been hacked.
Stopping Website Hacking
- Contact Your Host
If you see that your site is down, is re-directed elsewhere, or is displaying content that isn’t yours, you’ve been hacked. If you suspect that it could be a freelancer or employee, contact your host. Their techs will be able to close any entrances to the inside of your site, keeping the hacker out.
They can also take your site offline temporarily, and put up a simple landing page with phone number, if needed. This can lessen the damage of your site being down.
- Gather Your Info
If you have a web team on staff, get them on it. They’ll be able to access the site through FTP, hosting, and CMS logins. These are critical, as these give your tech team the ability to get inside and fix the damage.
If you don’t have an in-house staff, find a well-reviewed local service provider, preferably one with both designers and developers on staff.
- Utilize Your Back Ups
Hopefully you’ve been backing up your site daily, or at the very worst, weekly.
If you run a WordPress site, there are a number of free back-up plugins. These can be used to automatically back up and store your site’s info (away from the site, so it’s safe in case of attack).
Have a Team To protect Your Website
If you don’t have tech people one staff, find a reputable freelancer or service provider to take your back ups and re-build.
- Check Your Lead Flow, Bank Accounts, and Phone System
Make sure that your bank accounts haven’t’ been hit, your lead flow or customer-tracking info is safe (good time to change the password and call the software provider to make sure no one is getting in).
- Clean Up and Recover
Even if your site was damaged, it can be re-built. You should not only be keeping back-ups of the site itself, but keep all content (articles, text, pictures, video) backed up on hard devices (flash drives, external hard drives, etc.). This allows your web developer to re-build even if data was lost.
Now’s the time to make sure all passwords are changed (these should be changed regularly).