Website hacked. A scary thought!
Hackers of all sorts are lurking in the shadows, constantly looking for opportunities to have your website hacked. If you had your website hacked, then your business itself may be in danger. So much in fact that in certain cases even your critical Email function can stop operating properly. “How can my email be affected from a website hacked?” you may ask. I explain below.
You are not alone but you must ACT immediately.
This post assumes you have a WordPress site. However, our security methodology can be applied to other platforms equally effectively. Even if you don’t know what you have, please contact us ASAP.
For our business continuity and disaster recovery offerings please see our Business Cloud Backup solutions.
Contact us. IMMEDIATELY. Seriously!
(This is NOT a technical post. If you are technically proficient please search Google for the specific issues you are facing with your hacked website.)
Read this post in its entirety, then contact us using the blue form at the bottom. Unless you have an intimate understanding of malware, virus, clamscan, rkhunter, studying logs, restoring from backups (if you think you have them), RBLs and other blacklists, how to verify your WordPress files, and a plethora of other things, please do yourself a favor and do not attempt to fix things on your own. Instead, immediately contact us or any other business web hosting company or security experts to help you.
Once you contact us we will ask you for the following: (Please try to have this information at hand.) We have found that it is much more difficult than it sounds for people to gather this data for a variety of reasons I will not examine here. (Mainly because in the past they chose inadequate web hosting or web developers, or they never hired the services of a systems administrator or webmaster.)
1. Before we can even start: YOU MUST TRUST US.
We will require access to critical information, (i.e. your domain registry, web host, etc.) and unless you trust us explicitly we will not be able to help. Lack of trust will lead to delays, which may potentially cause more harm to your business and operations.
Study our website, find more about our team, read our page on “Why Choose Us“, Google our names, ask for referrals, talk to our existing customers and learn how we are interested in building long-lasting business relationships. Do whatever you need to do and do it FAST if you want us to try to minimize the damage of your website hacked.
2. Get access to your domain name registrar
ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL: Find your login information to your domain name registrar. This is where your domain is currently registered. (NOT where your website is currently hosted.) Common domain registrars include GoDaddy (US + Canada), NetworkSolutions, and Webnames in Canada. If you don’t know, please provide us with your website address and we will find out for you.
Before we begin we must be able to access your domain name’s zone file. This will allow us to make quick changes, if required, without having to go through any 3rd parties, which will slow us down, and/or potentially create all sorts of other problems and complications.
We will need your login information into your domain registrar. For example, if your domain name is registered with GoDaddy, we will need your GoDaddy login information. In most cases, we will repoint the DNS Zone file to our security partners. This will have no effect on your web/email services, other than adding security in front of your web service.
If you don’t understand what this means, or don’t know what a domain zone file is, please see point #1.
(Side note: We will manage your domain on your behalf, but you will still retain ownership of your domain, on the public record and anywhere else.)
3. Authorize website migration to our infrastructure.
Simply enough, we cannot help you while a compromised or insecure environment keeps hosting your website. Even if we fix the problem with your website, we cannot fix the underlying infrastructure. An insecure web hosting environment may be the source of the problem. Unless fixed, this may cause problems again in the future.
You don’t want to patch a problem. You need to solve it for good.
Improving the security of a website and its underlying infrastructure, which helps prevent a website hacked, is a complex undertaking. It involves webmaster and sys admin services, adequate knowledge and technical expertise.
One of the objectives is to ensure your website stays updated and secure at all times in addition to performing at its best at all times. Such work involves the implementation of a number of different security layers at the web server and infrastructure layers. These may include DNS protection, web server firewall, separation of web and database services, and much more.
If you don’t understand any of these terms, we must again ask you to turn to #1 above.
A prerequisite to our involvement helping you with your hacked website is to migrate your website to our business infrastructure. On our article about Web Hosting for Small Business we talk about what REALLY matters on a business hosting plan.
Of course, we will give you a price for a business web hosting plan on our secure infrastructure for your evaluation, and ask for your consent, before we do anything on your behalf. In order to minimize the damage to your critical business functions you must contact us immediately.
4. We do have a magic wand but is a child’s toy. It’s not real!
Please understand that we cannot perform miracles. If you are looking for a magician, you are on the wrong website. Perhaps, this may help instead. The only magic we can promise is in your face expression, once we fix your problem, when this happens.
Our guarantee: No success, no charge. Fair enough?
In the event you didn’t keep good backups, we may not be able to restore your website quickly, to a clean, working condition. We understand you want things done “yesterday”. Although we promise to you we will do everything we can, please read #4 title again, then the title of #1.
What we will do
Once you decide to work with us (here are 10 reasons why choose us), we will migrate your site on our business web hosting environment and perform a variety of actions, in an effort to resolve the issue with your website hacked as quickly as possible. We will also help ensure this won’t happen again. Furthermore, we will examine your current Email systems, and recommend our Outlook Business Email infrastructure, if required. Course of action depends on the type of attack you have suffered.
(Note: Technical jargon follows.) We will check for altered and/or infected files using a variety of techniques including clamscan and rkhunter. Restore from backups, if available, clean and valid. Transfer DNS. Employ DNS security protection, firewall, live traffic monitoring. Block visitors from certain countries notorious for harboring spammers and attackers. Verify credentials to your website admin. Who and why has access. Change things to a secure methodology. Establish https if not already present. RBL delisting, if blacklisted. And much more.
Note: Your existing web hosting for small business package may well be the culprit behind your website hacked. Protect your business.
Every website hacked case is different.
Best case scenario
In the best of cases, your domain has not been blacklisted, therefore your email functionality is not affected. You have clean and valid backups, taken before the attack. You have access to your domain name and WordPress credentials.
In this case, we will be able to migrate your site on our secure infrastructure and get you back online quickly with a clean website. This may time 2-8 hours, depending on the type of your website.
Worst case scenario
Email blacklists are a common way of reducing spam. If your website is generating a lot of spam, blacklists may enter your domain name in their index. Your email recipients will then stop receiving email from you. “How”, you may ask.
Once you had your website hacked, the intruder may abuse resources off your website to send out spam email, en-masse. Internet Service Providers will detect the huge amounts of email traffic coming from your website and domain name. Subsequently, the will block your domain name in order to protect their own clients.
The end result is that your email recipients will not be able to receive email coming from your domain name any more. That’s bad! Really bad, but we can help fix things for you.
This is the MOST URGENT type of situations, as it affects your email critical functionality. Please waste no time and reach out to us immediately. Depending on the type of blacklisting, it may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for a delisting to occur. That’s after we prove to the blacklists that we have eliminated the source of the malfunction. This may take time itself, so PLEASE, reach out IMMEDIATELY to save time.
Other bad scenarios include ones that you don’t have access to your domain name records, or your website. Some clients even tell us that they cannot track down the person who originally designed their website. Again, your best chances lie behind contacting us immediately to help you sort things out. We cannot provide a roadmap for such scenarios. There are so many unknown parameters. We will be able to assess the situation fairly quickly once you contact us.
Poorly maintained website: A source of intrusions.
A website compromise may occur due to a poorly maintained website backend.
- Is your website running on an outdated WordPress version?
- Are all plugins up-to-date?
- Do you have updated licenses for all commercial plugins you are using on your site?
- Is your site using a modern, secure and actively supported theme, which you keep up-to-date?
If you answer “NO” to ANY of these questions, then your website is not safe enough. Usually, this is due to an inadequate small business web hosting hosting plan. It won’t be long before hackers attack your website, if this has not happened already. Contact us immediately for assistance.
Note: If your website is sitting on outdated WordPress material, including old themes, conflicting plugins, etc, we may have no other option but to recommend redesigning your website. We will reuse your existing content, with new design software, methodologies and modern web design elements.
Unbeknown to you, your website may be running a high risk as we speak. Contact us ASAP.
Chances are you found this post because you searched Google for “website hacked” or “repair hacked website” or “my website has been hacked“. This means you already know your website has been hacked. Reach out to us immediately to help you minimize the damage.
But what if you are running a compromised website and you don’t even know it?
Or what if your website is currently not secure enough, thus running the risk of getting hacked at any moment? Probably, then, you are reading this post because you saw one of our mailings. (Use the small form at the very bottom of any page on our site to subscribe to our mailing list and Stay connected). Or, perhaps, you have arrived here through a link somewhere else. In this case you are better off, but may still be at high risk.
We can help you sleep better at night.
Have you, or anyone you know, ever had a website hacked? If yes, what actions have you taken to fix the situation? What damage have you suffered? Please share your experience using the comments form at the bottom of this page.