Why was my website hacked?

With Google reporting that 32% more websites were hacked in 2016 as compared to 2015 more business owners are going through the experience of their website getting hacked. Website hacking causes a lot of damage including disruption of business, loss of data, in some cases loss of sensitive data and loss of faith in the business or brand. According to Inc, businesses lose $400 Billion to hackers each year.

The unfortunate fact is that most of the website hacks can be prevented if small proactive measures were taken in advance. Before determining how to prevent the hacks it needs to be understood how the a website can get hacked.

Main reasons for website hacks

Based on our research which includes going through various white papers, reports, press releases and talking to Website Security Professionals, here are the top reasons why websites get hacked.

1.Outdated Scripts

It is essential that timely updates be applied to websites based on CMS’s like WordPress, Drupal and vBulletin. Not only should the CMS be updated but any plugins or themes used should be updated regularly as well. Statistics show that outdated scripts is one of the main reason why websites get hacked. Updates are released to plug vulnerabilities but if the update is not applied it becomes easy for most of the hackers to hack a website and take control of it.

2. Lack of Website Security

On an average when a website of a small business is hacked the average loss incurred is $188,000. Keeping this in mind investing in a website security system is advisable. Most business owners do not go in for website security because of ignorance or because of the costs involved even though they are not prohibitive.

3. Weak hosting provider

Most of the time a cheap website hosting service would not have foolproof security. Some of the common hosting vulnerabilities that can be found are

  • SQL injections
  • Cross site scripting
  • Broken authentication and sessions management
  • Insecure direct object references
  • Security misconfiguration and
  • Cross site request forgery

This problem can be solved by hosting a website with a reputed hosting provider.

4. Development computer security

An infected and compromised development computer is another reason why websites get hacked. Since websites are uploaded to the hosts via the development computers the malware and virus infections are uploaded to the hosting server which are exploited by hackers to take control of the website.

5. Compromised passwords

The importance of having strong and unique passwords, especially for websites and hosting cannot be emphasised enough as this weakness is a chief contributor to the reason why websites get hacked. Never use the same password for multiple accounts and change passwords that are critical on a regular basis.

6. Installing scripts from unknown sources

Hackers provide premium scripts, including themes and plugins free of cost on unofficial and dubious websites for free. Most of the users are not aware that such scripts have malware embedded in them which is activated if the script is installed on a website, giving full access to the hackers which can be used to take on the ownership of the website.

7. Social Engineering

Social Engineering are confidence tricks that manipulate the psychology of a website owner or developer into performing actions or divulging sensitive information. One popular social engineering hack was Olympic Vision. To avoid Social Engineering hacks, better security and multiple level security features should be implemented.

8. Weak security policies

Weak security policies lead to a lot of websites getting hacked. Businesses should have strong security policies that are updated on a regular basis. Moz blog has a post on how to create strong security policies for your website.

There are various reasons why hackers might want to hack your website but the good news is that taking some small steps can protect your website from getting hacked. If you want to know more or improve the security of your website feel free to drop us a line.