Having a site that you’ve invested precious time into hacked can be a nightmare, especially if you have customer information saved in a database. Fortunately, Google has announced that it will be releasing new content to help the owners of hacked websites. The aid comes in the form of a seven step plan.
Build a team
It is far easier to tackle hackers if you have assistance from other experts. Step one is to build a team by immediately contacting your web host and notifying them of the situation. They will have access to tools that can make your life easier.
Quarantine your site
A compromised website is also a hazard to any other websites hosted on the same shared server – quarantining the site prevents that risk. It is also much more straightforward to work on a site that is isolated, as that limits any back door access that the intruder may have established.
Use the search console
Knowledge is power, and knowing how the hacker got in is very important to reduce the chance that they gain entry again in the future. Google provides a way to verify ownership of your website, and you can use the tools within the search console to find information on the methods used to compromise your website.
Assess the damage – spam
It can be very damaging to your site’s reputation if it is being used to send spam to the world. If Google thinks your website is being used for spam purposes, it will put a tag on your website that will warn any potential visitors, which we do not want to happen.
Assess the damage – malware
Another risk is that your website is now being used to serve malware. As with spam, Google noticing this will lead to your website being tagged in search results with a strong warning against visiting your site. It’s important to do this as soon as possible, as it’s the longest step in reversing any damage done.
Identify the vulnerability
After assessing any damage done to your site, the next step is to find out exactly how the hacker got in. Whether it’s through an overly simplistic password or something more serious, you’ll need to make sure you’ve secured your website against future attacks.
Clean and maintain your site
Once you’ve identified what the vulnerability was, you’ll need to clean up the damage and restore everything to full working order. You may need external help with this step, and we’d recommend contacting an expert to make sure your website is completely clean before you continue with the next step.
Request a review
Finally, you’ll need to ask Google to review your freshly cleaned site to make sure any spam or malware tags are permanently removed. Google will also be able to assure you if your site is fully clean and secure.