Many online entrepreneurs, bloggers, artists, influencers, and other venturers have chosen the internet as their working terrain because of the opportunities it grants. The world web is the place of creative freedom and professional options. Plus, it is the most versatile market – any niche, type of goods, or service will find its perfect customers there.
Despite its numerous advantages, this is not some blissful utopia. Like any market, it has a highly competitive environment. Like any system, it has a set of rules that might appear restrictive for some. And, of course, like in any other competitive system – some people employ unfair methods for their benefit.
The Threat Of Malicious Software
Malicious software (“malware” from now on) is a type of software made specifically to disrupt, damage, or cause problems in any way possible to a computer, network, website, server, etc. Malware includes viruses, ill-famous Troyan horses, worms, ransomware, spyware, and a couple of other variations.
The purposes behind malware vary significantly: stealing personal data or collecting guarded classified information, disrupting others’ systems and networks, etc. It can have a negative impact on the image of your website.
There is a direct relation between your website security and SEO. Look at it in this way – search algorithms define how relevant your content is for the people out there. It considers many things about your website: keywords, quality links, traffic, content, etc. Each element proves your value to the search engines, and therefore to customers. Meanwhile, multiple errors and issues might bury your online project at any point. And malware might be the problem that will cause the most damage.
The Most Common Malware Issues
Usually, hackers might use malware to impede the ranking progress of their opponents. The online market, being highly competitive, tempts some people to lead a foul game. Hence, if you have a website, you might stumble across various attempts at disrupting your traffic and ranking growth.
The higher you are on the ranking list, the bigger risk that someone will try to get in the way of your success. It does not mean that if you are a smaller fish, you will be totally safe. For you might already be a “ranking threat” for someone.
Here are some of the common ways to cause problems:
Negative SEO Attacks
Search engines have a harsh policy on cheating sites, as they damage the entire system. Some malefactors might use it against you.
Negative SEO is a slandering tool aimed at denigrating your site’s image. They can make it look like you were a bad guy here. A couple of “shady” links added to your website will put you in the wrong spotlight, leading to unpleasant repercussions.
Denial of Service
This way, hackers dump a host of requests onto your website, flooding it with the extra workload. As a result, the website will crash after getting overwhelmed. So, your online business will be no longer accessible to your customers, which is not good for profit.
Not always hackers try to disrupt your work and harm your success. Sometimes, they want to use your achievements for their own benefit.
A few examples of what they can do:
- Some internet intruders might place their pages on your website. These fraudulent pages might even look just like yours. Hackers can use them to gather the personal information of customers (f.i. their credit card info) or change the end-point of money transactions, stealing your profit.
- If your website ranks high according to search engines, hackers might exploit it to boost their ranking. How? Search engines approve of the sites with reputable backlinks. So, it is an easy feat – they will put backlinks into your content, referencing their websites.
We have already mentioned some of the consequences of malware attacks. Let’s sum it up:
- your customers might get robbed of personal data or money;
- your website might crash;
- you might lose profit;
- you might lose reputation;
- you might get “disliked” by search engines (in case of negative SEO):
- if your website is vulnerable to malware, search engines will warn potential visitors about it. People will see that your site is not safe (not good for reputation) until you resolve the issue;
- however, if the malware infestation is significant, search engines will remove your site from the search results until you take care of the problem.
Is there any way to protect your website from such attacks?
Yes, you can diminish the probability of being hacked: 1) you should monitor your site and look for malware or vulnerabilities; 2) use HTTPS instead of HTTP since it has better protection of your customers’ data; 3) have back-ups to reboot your website without starting everything from scratch; 4) check trust.zone for more tips.
Now, you know the dire consequences of malware on your website. If you see suspicious activity on your site, it is better not to delay countermeasures.
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