Daily threats to websites
It’s very much a daily occurrence these days to hear of computers and websites that have been attacked by cyber criminals in one way or another. There are many companies online like Symantec or Kaspersky offering security and protection for computers but even these are not infallible, having to be forever revising and updating protection depending on the results of the latest ingenious cyber attacks.
Webmasters too have to be forever vigilant. One of the latest phishing scams has left many a webmaster with hours of extra work cleaning out the mess the hackers have left behind. It’s not only the reputable big companies and government bodies that are attacked it’s also the small businesses and individuals who are under threat every day.
Source: Google blog…”We find about 9,500 new malicious websites every day. These are either innocent websites that have been compromised by malware authors, or others that are built specifically for malware distribution or phishing. While we flag many sites daily, we strive for high quality and have had only a handful of false positives..”
That’s a hell of a lot of websites at the end of a year!
With a ‘phishing’ scam the criminals are after our personal information, logins etc. The information they collect is used to illegally obtain monies in your name. The really nasty attack for any webmaster is when its targeted ‘spear phishing’ – when a legitimate website is compromised, additional files, folders and images loaded and the site content modified in order to be used for illegal purposes. Unravelling such a mess can take many hours, lose legitimate traffic, sales and a reputation.
Just as the number of attacks online increase so must a webmasters vigilance. Having been a victim of such an attack on a couple of my websites I would advise anyone to frequently check that your site/s is not only up and showing in a browser but log in via FTP and check all folders, open each folder and make sure they are exactly as they should be with no interesting additions. Time consuming? yes, but then the sooner you know of a problem the better it is in the long run.
One of the really good useful free tools you can use to alert you of any malware or spam issues on your website is in the Webmaster Tools pack offered by Google, as you can’t be everywhere all of the time.
Google Webmaster Tools
By registering your website and verifying your ownership Google can track your site and send out an alert when a problem occurs. Within the tools area you may also find a sample of the offending code and clean-up guidelines which indeed can help you to clean up the infected website.
There is of course much more to the Webmaster Tools than just malware alerts such as traffic, linking, optimisation, configuration, improving visibility with lots of tips on getting the best results on search engines. It’s worth taking the time to go through the Webmaster pack to learn and really understand how your website is index and ranked and what will in the long run improve performance and visibility.