Many people think only websites that collect personal information are vulnerable to malware. In reality, any website can fall victim. Malware – short for malicious software – can cause numerous issues. Sometimes it generates links and advertisements on your website. However, in worst cases, cybercriminals use malware to take control of your website and install programs on the computers of your site visitors in an attempt to steal data, passwords, photos, credit card information and anything else that is of interest.
Knowing the signs of malware is the first line of defense. If you suspect your website has been infected with malware, it is extremely important to address it sooner than later because:
- You don’t want the malware to put any of your customers or site visitors at risk.
- Browsers and search engines will begin to identify your site as containing malware, which is a red flag to both existing and future customers.
- Most importantly, once Google discovers your website has malware, you have a limited time to clean the malware and send a proper appeal to Google before they remove your website from their search engine.
If you suspect your website has malware, a professional can scan your site, identify the type of malware that has infected your website, clean and resolve the malware, and submit any necessary appeals to search engines to ensure your website is restored to good standing. How do you know if your website might be infected with malware? Here are a few signs:
- Your website becomes very slow for no apparent reason.
- Your website suddenly crashes or freezes.
- Your website is being re-directed somewhere else.
- You notice ads or pop-ups that you have not enabled on your website.
- There is a sudden or rapid drop or increase in traffic.
- Browsers (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) send warning messages about your site containing malware.
- Google Search Console sends you a message that your website has been hacked.
If you’ve experienced these or any other anomalies, your website may have been hacked and infected with malware. Taking immediate action is key to successfully resolving malware on your website. If you think you’ve been hacked, give us a call right away and we will conduct a complimentary evaluation and malware scan on your website.