Things got mighty interesting at the Little Jack Marketing office this week, as we realized that a virus somehow broke through the defenses on our website and started making unauthorized changes. The weird thing is that, because of how the virus behaved, if we weren’t very on-the-ball about our web presence we may not have noticed at all. And since the same thing can happen to any small business website, we decided to write about it to spread awareness.
Here’s what happened:
We were looking at our weekly analytics report, and saw that there was a lot of traffic coming in for keywords that we don’t use, such as “easy essay writing” and “scientific writer resume” and “ghostwriting services UK”. We then checked our Google Analytics, and realized that our website had sprung over 20,000 new dummy pages in the search rankings, all stuffed with keywords to try to fool Google, and all linking to a dubious third-party website.
The irony of us, a marketing company that advocates against keyword stuffing having our site used for exactly that purpose is not lost to us.
Could we have prevented this from happening? The real answer is, probably not. We already have a high level of security, but as a website that gets quite a bit of organic traffic, we’re a prime target for all kinds of bots and hackers. In fact, we’re alerted every time someone tries a brute-force attack on our site, and we get pinged about once an hour, 24/7. Hackers don’t sleep, apparently.
In any case, due to the security precautions we take, we were able to restore our website immediately and get on with our business.
So, what can you learn from this?
As a small or mid-sized business, you should assume that your website is under attack basically all the time. You need to take the standard preventive measures to make your website secure, but it’s equally important to be checking your analytic reports and SEO rankings to spot strange things that may be going on “under the radar”.
If you’re too busy running your business to keep a vigilant eye on your website, you owe it to yourself to consider signing up for web hosting and monitoring services that will ensure your website indeed remains yours.
Little Jack Marketing offers full website hosting, analytics reporting, SEO monitoring, and a variety of other website services to help you stay on top of the latest security threats and be able to focus your attention on other, more productive matters. To enroll in any of these services, or if you’re a current client and have any questions pertaining to additional website security, reach out to us!