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The unthinkable has happened. Your web site has been hacked. What do you do? Where do you start? Do not worry. All's not lost, and you will be able to bounce back. Every day, hundreds of sites face the same predicament, and many are able to get back to their original glory.
What Happens When a Website Gets Infected or Hacked?
When a website gets infected with virus or malware, the hackers take control over the website. In most cases, they change the website content, add pages that have no relation to the website whatsoever or insert malicious codes in the website. In some cases, iFrames and Scripts are injected into the website and this can compromise the computer security of your website visitors.
So, it is clear that things get pretty bad when a website gets infected by virus or malware. But the problem with most webmasters is that they fail to realize the fact that their website is hacked. Since they are not aware of the telltale signs of an infected website, they remain blissfully unaware of the hack attack and this aggravates the situation further.
Below are certain signs that you should not be ignoring at any cost:
Now in the second stage, we need to figure out how to recover hacked website. Of course, the process is not simple and may require a sort of technical expertise. Here we are trying to give you some tips that might help you in the recovery process:
In the very first stage, you need to contact your web hosting service provider. Most often web hosting service providers do help webmasters to recover. So, you should not be worried at all. However, if you need some extra help or you find it tough to understand what your hosting company is asking you to do, you should check out StopBadware community forum or Google Webmasters forums to get some help.
Take Your Website Offline
Since your website is compromised, it makes sense to take it down so that it does not contaminate the PCs or websites of other people who are visiting your web page. A 503 response is the best option here. It will signal the search engines that your website is temporarily unavailable and some work is going on.
Once your website is offline, you need to do some work on the account management section. You need to change the passwords of CMS, users accounts, FTP, database and more. If you find any extra user account, make sure that you have deleted them because that account is probably was used by hackers to get into the system. The new passwords should be strong.
Use Google Webmaster Tools
We always recommend website owners to create a Webmaster Tools account as this tool helps webmasters to identify the problem and fix it. Sometimes, Webmaster Tools don’t send any malware notification email but that does not mean that everything is okay rather it is just the opposite. You need to login to Google Webmaster tools and go to Security Issues. There you will find all the information that you need to clean your website. Sometimes, it even shows the exact code that needs to be removed. It even gives you samples of URLs that might be infected.
If you have a backup of your website which is hopefully unaffected, bingo! You can start uploading it after removing all the files from your web hosting account. However, if you don’t have any backup, you should contact your web hosting service provider to send you a backup of your website [probably a month earlier]. We recommend you to create backup of your website automatically at least once per week, so you can keep your website data safe and upload it when needed.
You need to check the index file carefully and look for some suspicious code therein as in majority of cases hackers inject malicious code in the index file. Check some other important files like header, footer, article etc and once you are sure that they are not infected, you need to upload them and make your website live.
However, if you don’t want to upload the backup then you have to go through each single file manually and delete malicious codes therein, if any. This will take longer and the accuracy is questionable in this process.
Use Fetch as Google Bot
You need to check some pages of your website by using Google Webmaster Tool’s Fetch as Google Bot feature. This tool helps you see how Google bot is actually seeing your website. So, if Google bot finds any unusual elements like spammy links etc. on your website, you will also get to see it.
You need a fresh start and so, you need to upgrade every software applications or plugins that you are using. Remove third party plugins that don’t look good. Scan the data with some premium antivirus program.
Ask Google for Reconsideration
Once you are confident that all the files of your website are clean, you can proceed to consideration process. If your website were affected by phishing, you just need to ask Google for reconsideration by filling out the form.
However, if it were a malware attack, in that case you need to login to Google Webmaster Tools and make a reconsideration request. You need to explain what you have done as to convince the reviewer that you have cleaned up the website properly.
So, these were signs to help you figure out whether your website is hacked or not. Use our simple tips on how to recover hacked website and take care of your site!
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