According to Web Arx Security, Globally More Than 30K Website Gets Hacked Daily

According to Netcraft’s May 2021 webserver survey, 200M unique websites go live on the Internet and that number keeps increasing. It means it’ll take more than 160 years for a user to open every website without a wink of rest, assuming every website loads in three seconds.  However, every 39 seconds, a website is attacked, and globally around 30K websites are hacked daily.

Henceforth, it’s a colossally big web that isn’t easy to watch over, and the worst part is that around 66% of the businesses that get hacked aren’t prepared with website security measures to deal with all these many types of cyber-attacks out there. Google Safe Browsing attempts to warn users about malicious websites and about 3M warnings are delivered on a daily basis.

However, if you’re wondering how websites get hacked and what to do when your website gets hacked, then you’re reading the right article.

Let’s get into the details.

Here’s How Websites Get Hacked

Whether it’s a Fortune 500 or a local business all websites have a threat of getting hacked. Furthermore, in more than a decade of web history, we’ve witnessed most of the website gets hacked for some of the common reasons:

  • Access Controls That Are Weak or Broken
  • Presence of Vulnerabilities In Software
  • Third-Party Software/Service Integration
  • Shared Hosting

Let’s dig into the details and determine how hackers can get away with a cyberattack when vigilance isn’t high enough.

Access Controls That Are Weak or Broken

Put simply, access control means specific processes that involve authentication and authorization. In other words, the way you log in to your accounts. Likewise, access control refers to user privileges with servers, websites, hosting panels, forums, social media platforms, networks, systems, etc. Thus, you can define who should get what access to your site and the components, assets, data, and privileges they should get through control.

Furthermore, here are some more of the areas related to access control that you should keep in mind when it comes to keeping your site safe:

  • How the user logs into the hosting panel?
  • How the user logs into the server? (For example, FTP, SFTP, SSH)
  • How the user logs into the computer system?
  • How the user stores their credentials for all the login accounts?
  • How the user logs into the social media platform?
  • How the user logs into a website? (For example, Magento, WordPress, or Drupal)

Hackers are aware of it and utilize different tactics to access insecure login points. Some of the common ways used by hackers are:

1. Brute Force Attack

This is a commonly used attack and an effective one. In this kind of attack, the hacker tries to guess all the possible credential combinations to find the right login details and log into the user’s account.

2. CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) or XSS (Cross-Site Scripting)

An attacker injects malicious scripts due to which the user’s browser executes unwanted actions towards an application the user has logged in to.

3. Social Engineering

It’s among the popular tactics attackers commonly use. Hackers make phishing web pages of popular brands and try tricking users with the intention they’ll enter their login details.

4. Keyloggers & Monitoring Malware

Attackers use keyloggers to track every users’ input and report it back to the source of the infection.

5. MITM (Man in the Middle)

Here an attacker intercepts your login credentials through insecure networks.

These Websites Are Under High Risk of Getting Hacked by an Attacker

Some websites are more at risk of getting attacked by hackers and the most common reasons are as follows:

  • Websites don’t have strong provisioning and policy for processing authorizations and user privileges.
  • Haven’t enforced strong passwords.
  • Uses the same passwords even after an employee left the office.
  • Don’t make use of secure HTTPS connections by installing an SSL/TLS certificate, For example, DigiCert Secure Site Pro OV SSL.
  • Haven’t enforced multi-factor or two-factor authentication policy.

Presence of Vulnerabilities in Software

To address software vulnerabilities, especially for site owners, it isn’t easy unless they receive a patch. Likewise, it’s quite similar when it comes to a regular developer who rarely accounts for threats in their own codes.

Furthermore, developers who develop and build websites and those who hack them are quite different in their approach. For instance, site developers and other users use sites for what they are  intended and designed for. On the other hand, hackers look to make use of it beyond its design and purpose. For instance, a bug that seems quite nominal and doesn’t affect user experience can go unnoticed by developers or users. But hackers may find an opportunity to exploit it and use it for their benefit.

Malformed URLs or POST Headers can be help hackers to perform a number of attacks. For example,

  • The RCE (Remote Code Execution) attack is where an attacker can take complete remote access of the victim’s system and site.
  • SQLi (SQL Injection) is an attack where an attacker manipulates the input text field and enters malicious code that can perform attack sequences on the server.
  • R/LFI (Remote/Local File Inclusion) is where an attacker uses input fields of the site to upload malicious files within a system.

Similar to asset controls, software vulnerabilities also go above the website. Software vulnerability can be discovered and exploited within all the related technologies that your website relies upon, for example, web servers, web browsers, or infrastructure. Furthermore, websites nowadays use third-party extensions such as plugins and themes. Therefore, it should be looked upon as a potential intrusion entry point.

Third-Party Software/Service Integration

Third-party integration of software or any service is another major threat that every website owner should know. Furthermore, nowadays, it’s becoming quite normal to integrate third-party services and software with websites to make the site management easy. For example, website owners integrate third-party service extensions like CDN with CMS (Content Management System) such as Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal.

Likewise, exploitation of such third-party integrations and services isn’t something website owners can control. Henceforth, it would be best to be careful with the services or software you integrate with your site as it can become risky for your site.

Shared Hosting

No doubt, shared hosting offered by respected and secure hosting providers is safe to go with. But, if you’re choosing a local hosting provider, be cautious about who you choose because websites hosted on a server that hosts hundreds of other websites isn’t always safe. For instance, if one website gets hacked, other websites hosted on the same server can become vulnerable to attacks.

Here’s How to Protect Websites From Getting Hacked

Education and awareness are helpful when it comes to protecting websites from being hacked because website owners know what steps they have to take to keep their websites safe.

Furthermore, here are some of the recommendations that will help you prevent your website from being attacked or hacked:

  • Limit user’s login access according to their role. Avoid providing more than needed access.
  • Wherever you can, go for multi-factor or two-factor authentication. It helps to secure user access points.
  • Employ website firewall. It limits the exploitation of software vulnerability that helps in avoiding attacks.
  • Look through Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console. Watch and analyze their security reports.
  • Take regular backups using tools such as CodeGuard Backup.
  • Keep track of commonly recorded exploited vulnerabilities like the new zero-day vulnerabilities, so you can comb through you own site for them.

What to Do When Your Website Gets Hacked

If you’re among those unlucky people whose website is hacked and have questions such as how and why my website was hacked and what steps to take, here are the steps you can take once you realize your site has been hacked:

Call Support Team for Help

If you don’t have the expertise or have separate staff handling technical issues, it’s better to call the support team, for instance, the one who developed your site or your hosting provider who has familiarity with your website and its configuration. Though your hosting provider won’t help you step by step, they will be able to provide enough assistance. So, you get an idea of what steps you should be taking next.

Keep All Your Necessary Information Handy

Keep all your critical login information handy. For example, your CMS login details, hosting account login, weblogs, credentials to access FTP/sFTP, and if you’ve any backups taken before the attack.

Takedown Your Site

Temporarily, takedown and shut down your website till the issue is fixed completely. For instance, you can ask your hosting provider, as they can temporarily turn off your site. Otherwise, you can even password protect your site’s leading directory so your visitors can’t access the site while the security team works on it.

Scan Local Computers

Yes, it would be best to scan your local computer for malware and viruses with your antivirus software to assure that your site didn’t get hacked or infected by any malware through your system.

Wrapping Up

One thing to really take note of is that there’s no 100% surety that your site will stay secure all the time. Almost all the tools you use within your website reduce the overall risk of your website getting hacked and a proactive approach will also help prevent attacks. But securing your site through a service or a specific security measure isn’t a good option.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you stay prepared for any unwanted situation and don’t reply to any resource, service, software, or extension. So, you can fight with it effectively if you ever face it. Likewise, here we’ve mentioned some of the common pitfalls due to which websites get hacked. We hope it helps. Good luck!

FAQ – Some of the Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When Your Site Gets Hacked?

Once your website gets hacked, hackers will likely use your website to infect your site visitors, gaining access to critical data such as your customers’ credit card details and login details. Furthermore, they may redirect your legit site visitors to their malicious website, or they may even perform a DoS (Denial of Service) attack on your website.

What Are Signs That a Website Is Hacked?

Some of the common signs that show any website is hacked are,

  • Browsers will start displaying alert notifications and warning messages that the website has been compromised.
  • Your website will get blacklisted by Google.
  • Your site will load very slow, or it will crash often.
  • The website will display another website’s pages if the hacker has redirected your site to any other website.
  • Admin and public sections of your website will look the same.

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