In today’s climate it’s not a matter of IF you will be attacked, but WHEN. Do you know the costs of having a hacked website?

Many business owners and website managers believe they will never be the target of a hacker. Either they think it isn’t really all that common or they believe they are too small of a business so no one will come for them.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking puts honest managers at a substantial risk.

Hacking has been around since the beginning of the internet. In fact, it only grew more prevalent as the years went on. In 2016, Google announced that website hacks were up 32% from the year before.

“We don’t expect this trend to slow down,” the report said, “As hackers get more aggressive and more sites become outdated, hackers will continue to capitalize by infecting more sites.”

Business owners may think “just because they are common doesn’t mean they are coming for me. My business is too small to be of interest for them.” This is also a faulty line of thinking.

Hackers do not choose which websites to hack. They simply scan the internet for webpages with vulnerabilities and attack what they believe they can infiltrate. If your website isn’t properly updated, there is a good chance it is vulnerable to an attack.

What happens when my website is hacked?

Well, things move pretty fast.

Normally business owners have a variety of signs their site is attacked – 1) their emails start to bounce back or being rejected. 2) They get an email from Google telling them their site has been hacked (at this point the site has probably been hacked for a long time) 3) their website starts showing ads they didn’t add or approve. 4) the website gives a warning like below (at this point the site has been hacked for a long time).

The moment a website is compromised, the clock starts ticking. There are over 100 blacklisting companies that protect consumers by keeping an eye out for hacked websites. If your website is marked as harmful by these companies, consumers receive a warning before entering your site.

Hacked Website Web Design By Knight Harmful Warning

Imagine a customer seeking out your website and immediately seeing this

Blacklisting websites also share information with one another. This means if one company marks you as harmful, it is just a matter of time before other companies begin to mark you as well.

But what is this going to cost me?

Obviously, your business will face some upfront costs to fix this problem. When you have a hacked website, you will likely need to hire a web developer to repair the damage. You’ll also experience some administrative costs simply communicating with your internal team, not to mention the hours billed to the IT staff who could’ve been doing more productive work.

These are all problems you can put a price on. What you can’t put a price on, though, is the real damage.

A hacked website can cause frustration and doubt among an otherwise professional organization and your loyal clients. As the bills begin mounting, it’s not uncommon for folks to blame one another for the unnecessary work.

Hacked websites also add a degree of disruption to your work schedule. If your team was pushing to launch a new campaign of product on a tight deadline, it could be completely derailed. For a brief time your team needs to refocus on the hack, putting important work on the back burner. This can create long hours, push deadlines back, and introduce the element of stress.

Your website will be off-line until the issues is resolved – causing loss of customer loyalty, but loss of future business

Removing your website from the dreaded blacklists, however, is typically the most painful cost…

How bad can blacklisting be?

Blacklists can cause irreparable damage to an honest business. This is especially true for high-volume companies such as online retailers, since a site loses nearly 95% of its organic traffic when blacklisted. Most businesses budget a certain amount of sales for a given time period and not a lot can withstand even just 3-4 days of decreased organic traffic.

According to Google, one of the biggest challenges is alerting website managers there is a problem.

“Unfortunately, many webmasters for compromised sites are unaware anything is amiss. Worse yet, even when they learn of an incident, they may lack the security expertise to take action and address the root cause of compromise.”

Whether you are aware of the hack of not, your business begins to spread through the blacklisting community. The longer you go without addressing the issue, the higher the costs.

Even after you realize there is a problem, it’s difficult to have your reputation repaired. Most companies correct the hack within a couple of days. Even when you follow all proper channels, though, it still can take a week or two for Google to actually take down the message. This is true even if your website is clean of any viruses.

As mentioned earlier, there are over 100 blacklist companies, and their servers feed off each other. Webmasters need to petition each one individually in order to be removed.

Overall, website maintenance and security is key to avoiding these costs. Economically speaking, it is a safer investment to hire a website management professional than to hope a hack doesn’t happen to you.

Has your business website been hacked?

Call us today about our recovery services – the sooner you start to address the issue the more time and money you will save.

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