Identifying that your website has been hacked and eliminating viruses, malware, unwanted redirects or links quickly is essential to preventing problems from spreading. Five common ways that you can tell whether your site has been hacked include:
1. Browser Alert
Your browser (Google, Yahoo!, etc.) will provide the first signs that you have been hacked or that you are about to enter a nefarious domain. Pay attention to the alerts that show up on your screen from your browser as well as any changes to the appearance of your home screen such as the red screen of death.
Your browser should alert you if your site has been infected by malware or a virus. Google Webmaster Tools will also scan your site and alert you if any problems are detected. However, these alerts are also reaching potential visitors to your site and causing them to run for the hills.
2. Security Software
You should scan your site regularly using free security software or pay to have it scanned and cleaned automatically on a regular basis. This software will alert you if your site has been hacked and infected as well as take the necessary steps to rectify the problem.
Some platforms like WordPress have their own security plug-in that searches for code that has been added, removed or altered and alerts you. It is recommended to use these plug-ins as code that has been added or modified is normally a clear sign of a site having been hacked.
3. How The Site Loads
If your site disappears, it is a definite sign that it has been hacked. Slow loading times or continuous crashes are also signs of a hacked site. If another site loads when you access your site, a redirect has been added which directs people to a different site.
4. Email To Spam
If the emails that you are sending are reaching the recipient’s spam folder instead of the inbox, it may be because your site has been hacked. A hacker could be using your site to send mass emails. Sites that send mass emails are blacklisted by browsers and their mails will always go to the spam folder. So if your emails are suddenly going to spam and you are not mass emailing, it is probably because your site has been blacklisted.
5. Unusual Activity
Check your site log on a regular basis and look for any unusual activity. Is there suddenly a spike in activity or are pages or posts receiving more attention than they did in the past? Are you getting more and more visitors from a specific foreign country like Russia? Any activity on your site that you are unaware of or that does not reflect what is normal for your site should alert your to a hack.
Detecting a hack before it becomes a major problem can be difficult, especially if you are not a web guru. However, knowing what to look for and scanning your site on a regular basis can help you detect and resolve hacking issues quickly and easily.