In the early days hacks where as juvenile – as many of the hackers were themselves. Hackers would hack a website and leave a mark to show-off what they had done. You would know you’d been hacked immediately because when you logged into your website, it would have pictures on it that you hadn’t placed there or maybe a note from the hacker himself proclaiming his prowess as a hacker!
It was very similar to punks “graffiting” the side of a building with spray paint.
However, as the Internet has grown-up, so have hackers, and thus most of today’s hacking is done more to earn some sort of illicit profit.
Therefore hacking is done very discreetly, so as not to get caught, and to earn as much profit as possible before the axe falls.
You may never even notice that your site has been hacked because of the precise and discreet nature of the hacks.
Over 30 000 websites hacked daily.
Some hacks are almost harmless to you – as they may be simply stealing a small bit of your bandwidth to host something online without having to pay. (It’s the same concept as stealing a half of a penny from a million bank accounts.)
Other hacks may secretly use your website along with many other unsuspecting website owners, to create an overall ghost system designed to effectively propagate a virus for nefarious purposes.
For instance, the “Stuxnet” virus spread across the entire Internet and hid unknowingly inside almost every device running Microsoft products.
The virus had no ill effect on the Microsoft devices (carriers) and instead was designed to attack only a very specific Siemens industrial control system – used at an Iranian nuclear facility.
It is suspected that the American or Israeli government unleashed the virus but we’ll never know for sure.
I mentioned “Stuxnet” to explain the scope of today’s hacks and give you an idea of what we are up against, how clever hackers can be, and how your site could be infected without you knowing!
That said, you might notice some of the following ill effects from hacks:
- Someone gets an email from your website address you didn’t send
- Your website suddenly loads slower
- You see new files through FTP or C-panel on your site you didn’t upload there
When you don’t see any immediate malicious effects it can be very difficult to detect hacks and viruses, however, you probably still don’t want them on your site anyways.
What can you do?
What can you do when even some of the best coders online have stared at malicious code and not even known it!
If you suspect that your website has been hacked or is harboring a hidden virus, the creators of WordPress recommend that you have your website tested by the following two websites.
It is also recommended by WordPress that you install the following plugin.
You should test your websites regularly with these resources, as their database of malware definitions grows continuously, as new threats are discovered.