Contrary to popular belief, smaller websites tend to get hacked more commonly than large corporate websites because they have less "defenses." Large corporate websites tend to invest more into security and are much more difficult targets for hackers.
Furthermore, these hacks are not personal in nature - in fact they are performed by "robots," programmed to crawl the web for vulnerabilities. If they find an outdated piece of software on your website, they will automatically exploit it and make malicious changes.
For example, a common attack is changing your navigation links so it re-directs visitors to a pornographic website.
They aren't doing this just to vandalise - they are actually gaining financial profit from re-directing traffic to external webpages (they get paid to pass on traffic, even if it is illegal).
So these hackers are actually profiting off your website that you have invested time and money into building! And you may not even know this is happening to your website.
This is because these hacks can often occur without your knowledge - for example a particularly common attack is where only the mobile version of your website gets hacked.
It is in the hacker's best interest to remain undiscovered, so they can continue redirecting traffic for as long as possible. This is why they will try to make small changes that often go overlooked.
So you could be updating your website daily via desktop, but never notice the hack unless someone notifies you - by which time the damage has already been done to your business' reputation.
So what can you do to prevent hackers from profiting off your website?
We recommend you take a proactive approach and keep your website updated with the latest software. For example, if you have a WordPress website, make sure all your plugins and WordPress versions are up-to-date.
Furthermore, make sure your website is hosted with a reputable Web Hosting Provider who takes web security seriously. The technical details behind web security are beyond the scope of this post - however your Web Host Provider should handle most of these for you on the back end.
And of course, make sure you have installed anti-virus systems on your computers and mobile devices (there are several free ones like Avast, Kaspersky and AVG).
Try to also have a team member do a regular monthly or bi-monthly audit of the website - this is good practice even if you don't get hacked. This will ensure that all the links on your website are working as intended and that there are no unnecessary pages floating about.
Lastly, it's also best to have a regular backup system in place, so that you can fall back on a backup should the worst happen.
If you'd like help backing up your data and having a recovery system in place, click here to get in touch with us. We are specialists in this area and have served over 20,000 satisfied customers!