Your Website highlights the great parties you attend, shows off happy dancers and your great set-up. Your ‘contact us’ page is working hard for you and you’re converting the enquiries it generates into paying work – well done! Your website is as important as the nice lighting effects you have, in fact perhaps even more important. Without it, potential customers can’t find you! But do you need to give it a bit of TLC to ensure it’s always working hard for you, even if you’re busy at a gig?
So, what’s the worst that can happen?
You wake up one day and find out your website has been hacked. Once you’ve exhausted your large vocabulary of impressive expletives, you wonder how and why?
In most cases, it will have been some kind of automatic attack that found your website to be vulnerable. These attacks are seldom specifically targetted, so it will be unlikely that it is your business, or you personally, that has been singled out. The reason that your site was able to be attacked is likely to have been due to either a vulnerability on your web host’s server or (more likely) within your website itself. And the bottom line is that unless you’re very technical, you probably won’t understand exactly how it happened.
Once your site has been hacked, the hacker is able to change the content of your website. This may involve making changes to what your site looks like, but it’s more likely to involve adding malicious code to it, which is known as ‘Malware’. This will likely use your domain to send out spam emails or attempt to infect the computers of your site’s visitors.
For this reason, it may not be instantly apparent that you have been hacked. It’s likely you’ll either find out if your web host suspends the site (because they detect spam emails being sent from their server) or if Google flags it as hacked (because their bots detect malware present). Either way, this is bad for business. If your web host suspends your account, your site will be offline so no-one will be able to see it. If Google flags it, anyone searching for your site will be warned to to stay away! Either way, it’s seriously bad news and will harm your hard-earned reputation whilst the site is in this state.
How To Avoid Being Hacked
I’m going to assume many of you use Wordpress. I think it’s a fair assumption, as approximately 1 in 4 websites worldwide are powered by Wordpress, and it’s particularly popular for small business sites. That’s because it’s easy to install and, with the plethora of plugins and templates available, getting an attractive and functional website running can be a fairly quick and straight-forward process. However, if you don’t use Wordpress, many of the principles that I’m about to cover will still be relevant.
As Wordpress is extremely popular, it is also subject to many, many hacking attacks. Once you add customisation (Plugins and Themes), you can be further exposed if these are not updated or are just poorly coded. A rough analogy is a nice house with poorly maintained doors and windows, some of which are very easy to open…
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 88, Pages 42-46.