Traditionally, no one likes my technical posts. But please, listen.
The internet is not a safe place. And not just because of child molesters and mail order brides. Although both of those things are disturbing.
There is a whole class of people who get their jollies out of messing with you.
Annoyed by the people who use bots to submit your contact forms hundreds of times a year? That’s just the beginning.
These folks will inject malicious scripts (malware) into your site. They will wipe out all the code on your web pages, leaving your site standing, but completely blank.
They do this for fun. I know. I don’t understand it either.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Change your passwords.
Yes, it’s annoying to have to keep track of complicated passwords. But fluffy77 is a lot easier to crack than 4t7@CM21r. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. And change them regularly.
Yes, all of them.
2. Don’t use the same password for everything.
I get it. Lots of people have one password for everything. I’m sorry, but it’s just too dangerous.
Consider this: if a hacker breaks your password once, he breaks it everywhere. Terrified yet?
3. Back up your website.
Performing regular backups is an essential part of web maintenance. While some hosts perform incremental backups of your site files and any related databases as part of their service, you shouldn’t rely on your host, especially if you update your site often.
Talk to us about your options for backing up your site frequently and automatically.
4. Check your site for malware periodically.
Every once in a while, run your site through the scanner on this page: http://sitecheck.sucuri.net/scanner/
You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to alert you if Google finds malware on your site.
All this is probably not enough.
Even if you change your passwords religiously and back up and scan your site every day, you will probably wake up one morning and discover the dreaded “This is a attack site” banner on your homepage. Maybe not tomorrow, but someday.
And if you’re not ready, you are not going to enjoy trying to get your stuff back. I promise you that.
It’s not a threat. It’s just the way it is, as long as there are people in the world who will knock you down just because they can.
No pressure, but if you need help with this, you know where to find me.