The number of cyber attacks is constantly growing. They have become intelligent and sophisticated, making it harder for us to notice them on time. Now, the truth is that businesses and larger sites are usually major hackers’ targets. Still, this doesn’t mean that your tiny, sweet blog is off their radar. Unsurprisingly, to protect it, you need to tighten its security.
But, what happens if you get hacked?
Why would Hackers Attack your Blog?
The majority of bloggers that get hacked don’t take their blog security seriously. Unfortunately, the mere fact that your blog lacks a proper hosting plan, security software, or strong passwords may make you an easy target.
Still, why would a hacker choose your blog, when there are millions of similar sites in this overcrowded digital landscape? Well, the reasons are multiple, from malvertising and identity theft to vandalizing your blog just for fun.
Here are a few types of blog hacks that will help you understand hackers’ intentions:
- Distributed Denial of Service hacks– a hacker overflows your server with lots of traffic until it stops working, causing frustration among your readers.
- DNS-based attacks target the vulnerabilities in your domain name system. They link your domain name with their site’s IP and, in this way, deceives your followers.
- A URL injection, where hackers create new pages with spammy words and malicious links on your blog.
- Website defacement– a hacker vandalizes your blog and changes its visual appeal. It can be fixed fast, but it may still scare your readers away.
- Comment spams don’t necessarily mean that your blog has been hacked, but they’re still a huge problem. They make your followers suspicious about your blog’s authority.
- Cross-site contamination is disastrous for those having more than one blog. For instance, if your personal and your business blog are on the same server, they will both be infected.
What to Do Now?
Going through a cyberattack is definitely stressful. However, you need to stay focused and react fast in order to protect your blog and restore your blog security at an adequate level. Here are a few immediate steps you need to take the moment you notice that something odd is going on with it:
- Use your antivirus to scan your computer and see whether it can detect any viruses.
- Change all of your passwords immediately.
- Restore your data from the backup of your blog. Do so only if you’re 100% sure that this version of your blog isn’t corrupted.
- Run phpMyAdmin or similar tools to see whether cybercriminals added new admin accounts or changed the emails on existing ones.
- Reach out to your hosting provider and ask them to check for malware. They will be able to tell you what type of virus this is and how your blog got hacked in the first place.
- If a hosting provider confirms the malware, they will probably help you remove it.
- You can always invest in a security provider and submit a malware removal request. Their services usually include full malware clean up, website backlist removal, and firewall and CDN for improved speed and security.
- Once your site is cleaned, contact your host and ask them to switch your site on. They will run some additional scans to ensure that your blog is really clean and, if everything turns out to be all right, your blog will keep working as it should be.
The Consequences of being Hacked
When talking about the consequences of cybersecurity, the first thing that comes to our mind is its costs. And, that’s true. You will have to invest in numerous tools to bring back your blog’s functionality, restore lost SEO rankings, and boost your overall online protection.
Still, there are some additional, hidden costs of a cyberattack you’re probably not considering right now.
- Damaged online reputation
In today’s overcrowded digital ecosystem, where there are numerous blogs similar to yours, building a reputable and authoritative online image is a necessity. To rise above this noise and position yourself as a relevant source of information, you need to connect with the right audience, write exceptional content and, above all, build a strong, growing online community. Sadly, even a minor cyberattack can destroy everything you’ve been working on in the blink of an eye. People will soon start leaving your mailing list and never come back to your blog again. Once your trust is lost, it’s hard to regain it.
- Your SEO efforts will be hurt.
If there are any malicious links or redirects on your site, your SEO efforts will suffer. Your traffic and conversion will drop, while your bounce rates will skyrocket, meaning that regaining your rankings will be a challenge. Worse yet, if Google notices some suspicious activities on your blog, it may even decide to penalize your site.
- Operational disruption
When your site is down, your operations will suffer. You won’t be able to provide your readers with the content they expect and the consistency of your blog will be ruined.
- Your revenue will suffer, too.
Today, you can make money blogging in numerous ways. You can add affiliate links to your content, sell digital products, place ads on your blog, and so forth. And, after going through a hack, your blog may not be seen as an ideal place for businesses to promote themselves on.
How to Protect your Blog in the Future?
Surviving a hack doesn’t make your blog stronger if you don’t take some actionable steps to protect it in the future. Here is what you need to do to increase your blog security:
- Switch from HTTP to HTTPS to protect your users’ data.
- Choose strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Invest in solid antivirus software and run scans consistently.
- Invest in a trustworthy hosting service, no matter how costly it may seem.
- Back up your blog regularly so you can recover your data after a hack.
- Your content management software needs to be updated.
- Be careful when installing free WordPress themes and plugins and update them regularly.
Keep Calm and Act Fast
Even some leading companies like Yahoo, Adobe, Equifax, or Target can get hacked. So, falling victim of a cyber attack is not entirely your fault. You need to do everything in your power to protect your blog from hackers and, if this still doesn’t help, don’t panic. Change your passwords immediately, ask your hosting provider for help, run thorough scans, and keep increasing your blog security.