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Help, my website was hacked!

Last modified: July 2, 2022
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Estimated reading time: 4 min

The most common reasons for a hacked (defaced) website include:

Outdated web application.

Every well-known web programme (Joomla, WordPress, PhpBB, etc.) has had security issues, which is why you should always use the most recent version.

Outdated web application extension.

You must update any third-party extensions you have installed exactly like you update your primary web application. Users frequently overlook this aspect, making obsolete extensions vulnerable to intrusion.

Weak user/administrator passwords.

All users, notably the admin and those who can add content to your website, need to have secure passwords. For this reason, periodically scan your computer for viruses and make sure your antivirus software is up to date.

Please make sure that any hacking of your website is unrelated to server security. Advanced security modules are installed on our servers, including Apache mod security, Suhosin PHP hardening, PHP open basedir protection, and others. Which would likely indicate that your website is where the problem is.

What do I do if my Website is Hacked?

Website hacks come in a wide variety of forms. Hacks may be malevolent, such as when they infect your website’s visitors with viruses. The wording on your front page may potentially be changed by the hackers. Finding out how your website was hacked, how it was hacked, and how to restore the site to its previous state are all crucial details to know.

Has my website been hacked?

Some website hacking is obvious, while others are more subtle.  Signs that your website has been hacked:

  • The front page is “defaced.”  When you visit your website, instead of your page there is a completely different page.  Often these pages will have a “hacked by….” message on them.
  • No longer able to log in to any of your admin pages. This occurs when you are experiencing problems logging into both your cPanel and your CMS administrator login. Therefore, it’s probable that your site was successfully hacked and the passwords were modified.
  • Get a Google Warning when visiting your website.  Google would scan all websites for malicious coding. When you visit your site through a Google search or in Firefox/Chrome it will display a red warning page.
  • The computer anti-virus software warns you when you visit your website. There is a virus or trojan that your website is attempting to install on your computer if your anti-virus warns you about it.
  • A page that previously loaded now suddenly unable to load.  This is less common. However, it might occur if a hacker changed something on your website, such a database, and it caused the site to stop working properly. When loading a page in this scenario, you can see a message like “can not connect to database” or anything similar.

How do I scan my site for Malware?

There are lots of tools available online. By using them, you can easily scan your website for malware/exploits. Below is a few of the most popular:

How was my website hacked?

The more common methods used to hack websites include:

Your top page will typically be “defaced” if your password has been compromised. Because they will upload their own index page, the hackers. Hacks are frequently carried out through an exploit in software that you use, such as WordPress, ZenCart, or other tools. If you utilise a CMS programme, it’s likely that the database will also be compromised, and you will need to recover it.

How do I fix my website that is hacked?

An exact solution to a hacking problem is impossible to provide. This is because there are numerous varieties of website hacks. You can, however, fix your website by:

  • Restoring the backup of your website. The simplest method is to restore your website from a copy that you made just before it was hacked. You must restore your own copy of your website if you use an automated backup provider. Through the cPanel, you can achieve this.
  • Removing the coding from the .htaccess file. You will frequently notice a “re-direct” in your public html folder’s.htaccess file if the site has been compromised by code injection. Then, open your.htaccess file and scan it for any suspicious-looking lines of code. After that, remove the questionable lines of code and save your modifications.

What should I do to prevent my site from being hacked?

Depending on the cause of the hack, there are some actions you can take to help prevent hacks in the future, which are by:

  • Updating Software/Plugins: If you use a content management system (CMS) like Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal, I suggest making sure you have updated both the CMS and any plugins or add-ons because the developers may have fixed security flaws. The majority of programmes can be updated using Softaculous, but plugins and themes update differently. So, I advise that you adhere to the developer’s guidelines.
  • Changing any passwords for your account. It should always be your first move, per our advice. Change the passwords for your FTP accounts and cPanel in the event that your passwords were hacked. Change your password as well if you use WordPress or another CMS.
  • Updating Programs running on your hosting account. Make sure you are using the most recent version of any third-party software you use to develop your websites, such as WordPress or Joomla. This is due to the possibility that developers have fixed the security exploits.
  • Updating Programs running on your computer. Your computer’s info is accessible to hackers. They can easily do this with some programmes, including Adobe’s Flash, which has flaws. They then prowl around and discover information, including passwords and usernames for some apps that use FTP. Make sure all of your software is up to date. This is due to the frequent deployment of security patches by most developers.
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