Cybercriminals attack websites and blogs on a daily basis. Let's see why they do it and what benefits they get.
Thousands of websites are hacked by cybercriminals every day. Attackers use compromised sites for a wide range of tasks, from creating phishing pages to sending out SEO spam. Owners of small websites naively believe that they are safe because their sites are not interesting to hackers. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.
The motives for hacking a website are as varied as the methods used for such purposes. It follows that almost any website can be targeted by cybercriminals.
In this article, I will give 10 possible reasons why attackers can hack your site.
1. Payment details
A website that sells anything is the most obvious target for cybercriminals. Hackers can steal payment details and then use them on their own or sell them to someone else.
There are various hacking methods to steal payment details as you enter them on a website. Even if you do not personally store payment information, your site is still of interest to cybercriminals who steal payment details.
2. Information of any kind
Websites often collect personal information from visitors, such as email addresses. The website used to conduct business may store information about company employees or upcoming product releases.
Any such information can be useful to a hacker. Cybercriminals will either sell the information on the darknet or offer it to the owner of the affected site in exchange for a secure return of the data.
3. Phishing pages
A phishing page is a web page designed to steal confidential information. Phishing pages look exactly like regular web pages, completely replicating their original design. Cybercriminals create fake pages that mimic the bank's website, luring users into their networks. An unsuspecting user enters the data to enter the bank on a phishing page, and confidential information ends up in the hands of cybercriminals.
Google fights phishing pages and warns users about the dangers in advance. However, if Google already trusts your site, it can be hacked and used to bypass such protection. Moreover, phishing pages are illegal. Using a compromised website to host them allows the thief to remain anonymous.
4. SEO spam
Most website owners understand the importance of SEO. Many SEO techniques involve building backlinks. When a backlink is created from Site A to Site B, it is effectively assumed that Site A recommends Site B.
Cybercriminals hack many websites every day to create SEO spam. A hacker takes control of a site and then creates backlinks either manually or using a program that automates the process.
A reputable website is of particular value to cybercriminals. However, every use of such a site by cybercriminals undermines its reputation in the search engine.
5. Email spam.
Spam mailings cause inconvenience to users, clogging up the mailbox. However, you can make money on spam mailings. Therefore, cybercriminals often hack websites in order to send spam and make a profit.
Once a website has been hacked, cybercriminals will use the domain to avoid ending up in the spam folder. In addition, hackers will be able to send large batches of messages without disconnecting from their own mail provider.
The worst consequence of an attack is loss of reputation. Recipients of spam are more likely to think of the owner of the compromised site as the sender.
6. Malicious software
Nowadays, gaining access to malware is not a difficult task. Many cybercriminals don't even create malware, they just buy it. The hardest part of making money off malware is finding a way to install it on other people's computers.
A compromised website is ideal for this purpose. If Google trusts your site, it can be used to spread malware without any warning from the search engine. By trusting the site, the user, without hesitation, can allow the download of a strange file.
7. Free advertising
High traffic sites run the risk of being hacked for advertising purposes. For example, an attacker can advertise his product on a website.
Another option is to redirect traffic. Users entering the compromised site will be automatically sent to the hacker site.
Hacking is a skill that takes practice. Of course, you can learn how to hack in a secure environment, many online services were created for this purpose. However, most hackers start from real websites.
An aspiring cybercriminal will likely choose a small website to practice before moving on to something more lucrative.
Sometimes hackers just like to hack. Many high-profile cyberattacks were carried out solely for one reason: the attackers wanted to test their capabilities. In other words, a hacker can target your website to see if he can hack it.
Another popular motivation is bragging. The hacker just wants to show off to friends that he is in control of your site.
10. Taking the site offline
Hackers often break into websites to disable them. Sites are disconnected out of revenge. Perhaps you said or did something that the hacker didn't like. Also, the site is turned off for the sake of profit.
Websites that generate money are tasty prey for cybercriminals. By taking such a site offline, the hacker will demand payment from the owners in exchange for the resumption of the resource's functionality.
Start securing your site today
Site owners, be careful. Hackers have many reasons to attack your site. However, most hacker attacks are not difficult to contain.
To protect your website from small hacks, just choose a secure hosting, keep your software up to date, and avoid using weak passwords. That being said, don't forget to beware of phishing emails