Website vandalism

This low-cost and simple tactic can be a headache for your small business. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to prevent.

Website vandalism is when the content of your website is changed without your approval.

There are different reasons websites can be vandalised. One is issue-motivated hacking (hacktivism), which is often used to draw attention to a political cause. Hacktivism can include electronic graffiti that vandalises web pages.

Or sometimes hackers just want to cause trouble and inject malicious code into websites.

Visitors to these websites can become victims when they download something from the website, and their computer becomes infected with nasty malware. This can result in the website being blacklisted by search engines, security and anti-virus products.

What is the impact?

If your website is vandalised, it can do a lot of damage to your business. Consequences include:

  • losing customers
  • disrupting or stopping e-business activity
  • damage to your reputation.

You might also need to pay someone to fix the damage!

Because website vandalism is low cost and technically simple, it’s on the rise and more websites are being targeted. The good news is there are simple things you can do to protect your website.

How to keep your website safe

If it’s your website, you are responsible for keeping malicious content off it.

You can do this by keeping an eye on your site, always installing software updates and creating strong passwords.

If you think your site has been compromised:

  • Perform a security review of your website via a free online tool, for example the Google Developers tool.
  • Take the affected website offline to fix it.
  • Change the password for access to the website using a clean computer.
  • Restore the website from a clean backup.
  • Update the website with the latest content management system version and security updates.
  • Install security plugins and harden the website to prevent further security compromises.
  • Put your website back online and re-scan it to make sure there are no more security issues.