No business owner wants to ever see the words on Google’s search engine results: “This site may harm your computer” or “This site has been compromised” regarding their own website. But if, by chance, this situation happens to you, Google has launched a new tool that not only lets website owners know their sites have been hacked, but that also kicks things up a notch.
For a while, Google has had the capabilities of informing site owners when their sites have been hacked. Now, Google has created a help center to help them recover, as much as is possible, from the hacking experience.
What are Google’s New Tools?
Google’s new help center for hacked sites is filled with valuable videos that each offer step-by-step instructions to help you handle the situation if or when your site gets hacked.
From the beginning, the videos guide you through the process taking your site offline until it’s clean. Removing your site is the absolute first thing you must do so that no more information is exposed to hackers than is necessary and so that other computers are not infected as a result of visiting your website.
What Happens Next?
The next step, is to decide whether you’re going to attempt the technical aspects of recovering your site and repairing the problems on your own or if you’re going to seek the assistance of those with more advanced technical skills than you possess.
If you’re unsure how solid your degree of tech savviness may be for a job such as this, you can move on to the next step: contacting your web host service and working together with them to see what damage can be repaired and how much of your website can be recovered. Most people, 60 percent, according to the 2012 StopBadware survey, who asked their hosting service for help in recovering their sites received the requested assistance.
This, however, is the extent of beginner skills. Google really urges webmasters who do not feel well equipped to handle the site recovery efforts to hire a reputable security expert to do the heavy lifting of quarantining your site, and digging into Google’s webmaster tools to find out what the critical message actually says and where you should go from here.
Of course, that’s not all that must be done. Some of the more advanced actions include assessing the damage thoroughly to determine precisely what kind of attack it was and what information has been compromised, identify the avenue by which your site was most vulnerable to attack (security weaknesses), and close the gaps.
The beauty of these tools, is that they walk you through the process so that you can do these things for yourself. If you have the will to do them on your own, the patience, and the confidence, Google will walk you through the process one-step at a time.
Perhaps the most important thing they do, from the perspective of your business, is walk you through the process of requesting a site review to help you get your site back online once it’s free and clear of the hacker’s influence. However, from the point of view of a business owner who takes the privacy of employees and customers seriously, the best feature, by far, are the videos that teach webmasters how to avoid being hacked in the first place.
Lastly, once your site has been cleaned of malicious code, Google will provide one final check: You can ask Google to check your site and, if it’s now clean, will remove any warning label that appears in your site’s listing on the search results page.
Every day, cyber-criminals hack websites. It has become the fact of life in the digital world. Google’s new hacked website tool is here to help. And so are we. Protect yourself and your business, in the event of a cyber-attack or hacking incident, by purchasing an adequate amount of cyber liability insurance coverage.