EVERY YEAR HACKING AND ONLINE ATTACKS GETS WORSE
Protection from Hackers and Spammers | Hackers and spamming will get worse. Therefore you need to protect yourself now. On the other hand, if you have not been hacked, you can be sure you will get hacked one day. Therefore take proactive steps to mitigate hacking and online website attacks.
Below are some FAQs about Hacks, Malware, Trojans, and Infections. There are 10 basic reasons hackers will infect a website or computer network. We will offer some suggestions and common sense pro-active steps you can take to protect your assets.
HACKERS BRAGGING RIGHTS
Hackers are a close-knit of coders who fly under the radar. They are going to hack a website simply because they can. A method used to penetrate a websites’ defenses is SQL injections via a website contact form. They can upload common default (home page) files such as default and index combined with a long list of standard Windows file extensions HTML, ASP, ASPX, and CFM.
These types of hacks are quickly remedied by a reputable hosting provider who will clean out these malicious files and set your home or default document file to exclude all other files except the real or actual homepage.
A personal online attack occurs when someone is fixated on taking a website or a network down for personal reasons. Whether you are the owner of a small business website or a huge corporate network such as Sony (Sony suffered a huge DOS or Denial of Service attack in 2014), this kind of attack is extremely frustrating to any business.
In most cases, no one really knows why they are being attacked. Your hosting company can detect IP addresses of the computers who are launching the attack and take steps to block the offending IPs. In some cases, an attacker will attack a companies’ reputation by posting hundreds of negative comments on Blogs and Website directories that allow anonymous postings.
If this happens, do not hesitate to reply with your own comments. And be polite. People know the difference between a person who a raving maniac and someone who is a reasonable individual. Also, take a moment you read our article, Defending Against Damaging Blogs Targeting You.
There are hot spots and unrest all over the globe and at home in the United States. Nothing inflames individuals’ and groups’ passions like ‘politics.’ A person or group will look to take down a website’s homepage or the entire website and replace it with their own political message. As previously mentioned, these types of attacks are SQL injections.
Your hosting provider or webmaster can clean out the malicious files and set your home or default document file to exclude all other files except the real or actual homepage.
HIDDEN ADVERTISING SPAM LINKS
In most cases, an actively hacked or infected website will get flagged by the Google search engine and display a message in your website listing.
Some warnings on Google or your website browser might include: This site may harm your computer, or This website site may contain malware. In most cases, some code runs on your website that serves up spam thousands of spam pages filled with links to pages that have Google Ad codes or other advertising codes that pay the spammer(s) per page view or by clicks on the spam-filled pages.
The spam page advertising business receives millions of dollars each year from reputable advertising companies via the spam pages buried in otherwise legitimate websites whose owners have no clue that their website has been infected.
The best remedy is a complete website restore from an earlier period. (Hopefully, you do regular backups) Otherwise, you will need to have a web developer download your website files and database and perform a local analysis of your website. Some other alternatives include signing up for a 3rd party security/ file cleaning service such as Sucuri.net or Sitelock.com.
GAINING ACCESS TO SENSITIVE INFORMATION
A hacker may gain access to your personal information and logins using a ‘Trojan’ program called a key-logger. This records the keystrokes on your computer.
Other hackers or even nation-states look to penetrate government and corporate networks to gain financial, technical, personal, and other sensitive information. Unsuspecting persons click a website link or email link resulting in an infection.
If you suspect that you have been hacked, purchase a strong Anti-virus. I cannot recommend one product over another, but we use Avast Premier and Super Anti Spyware on our office computers.
MISREPRESENTATION BY MAIL, PHONE, OR ONLINE
Person’s might receive a domain renewal notice by mail or online, warning them that their domain name will expire. Persons unwary of this scam will unwittingly transfer their domain name to another company. Then locking the domain, leaving you no recourse. See: Protecting Your Domain name.
If you unwittingly fall prey to this scam, contact your original domain registrar and have them lock your domain immediately.
Other scams include the person’s representing themselves as a Microsoft representative. They inform you that they have detected a virus on your computer. Unwary persons will give them access via an emailed link. Once you click this link, they will take control of your computer. Next, they deposit a Trojan file so they may return at any time to take control of your machine.
Another scam has a Google representative calling you to inform you that your free Google listing has not been activated. Hang-up immediately when you get these calls. Google never calls anyone about any Google products.
COMPUTER AND NETWORK SLAVE INFECTIONS
Hackers will infect a computer, network, or browser and use the machine resources and Internet connection for illegal activities, personal, financial, or otherwise.
Essentially the hackers are not after the computer or network files. Rather they want to use the machine and Internet connection. With online control, they hide their activities and make it literally impossible to trace. They connect or ‘Hop’ from machine to machine or network to network.
Protection from Hackers and Spammers
If you suspect that you have been hacked, purchase a strong Anti-virus. If you have a larger network of computers, you should consult your IT representative.
LOCKING OR ENCRYPTING COMPUTER FILES, AKA RANSOMWARE
Ransomware happens to businesses more than you can imagine. Ransomware attacks, aka crypto-locker attacks, happen to both businesses or organizations. These include public interest targets such as a hospital, city, or state government agencies.
Hackers demand a financial payment, usually paid in Bitcoin, to have their computer files unlocked. Private business is most likely going to make the ransom payment without informing their customers or clients. Today IT departments are more adept in defeating the encrypted files. But as hackers detect the fix, they will return to thwart the protection. (It’s a never-ending battle between hackers and IT engineers.
Protection from Hackers and Spammers
If you suspect that Ransomware has infected you, you should consult your IT representative. Get their help immediately. Don’t try and negotiate with a Ransomware hacker on your own.
EMAIL SPAM ZOMBIE ATTACKS
This happens when hackers gain access to your website or computer. They do this to send out tens of thousands of emails for all the reasons mentioned above. If this happens to you where your email resides on a hosting companies email servers, engineers will shut down your email access until the problem is corrected.
If your hosting company has a lousy reputation for thwarting email attacks, your email domain name may get blocked when sending emails to others. Email spam is a big business. ISP (Internet Service Providers) and hosting companies take spam very seriously. Email spam scams are a multi-billion dollar business.
Protection from Hackers and Spammers
If this happens, obtain an alternate email service to use. An online security service, such as Sucuri.net or Sitelock.com can help you get things clean in less than 24 hours.
HACKERS ARE PERSISTENT; HALF MEASURES WILL NOT SUFFICE
Once a hacker tastes blood, they will return and return. They cruise the web like predators looking for injured Zebras. They sniff open Internet ports; seek out weak FTP logins, weak website logins, unprotected or out of date server hosting and websites.
Hackers will poke, probe, and troll persons over social networks and business listings. Sometimes they contact you with fake emails containing malware links. Or pretending to be one of your friends, family, or business associates. Other times they send fake ‘Friend’ requests over Facebook; they will send you SMS messages with malware links. There is no amount of protection that too expensive within reason given your own circumstances.
NEVER LET DOWN YOUR GUARD
Security is all about being vigilant about e-mail and computer access.
Keep your computer updated; update your software. Use strong computer anti-virus browser spam blocking, use strong passwords on your computer and Wi-Fi.
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