There are many hackers lurking around ready to steal personal data or information from your website. Often, we fail to understand why we are targets when we are not famous or have any sensitive information to protect. We land up confused with the obvious question striking our minds-
“Why would anyone hack my website?”
To find the answer to this million dollar question, extensive research has been resorted to on forums and articles written by cyber security experts. In the process, we discovered the following potential objectives for hackers to hack your website. Let us check them out-
Potential Objectives For Hacking
1. Your website is hacked so that it can be used for sending spam emails.
2. Hackers want to steal your personal data like credit card information, mailing list etc
3. They gain access to your website for downloading malicious data to use on your website or install on your end user’s machine.
4. There is a trend called “Hacktivism”. This is resorted to by religious groups who want to use your website to protest against a particular religion, political cause or merely show off to their peers in the hacking community.
5. Some people are merely bored and they wait for an opportunity to catch people off guard. Research proves most of them are young and bored teens who have nothing to do at home.
6. Another reason for hacking could be for the purpose of Black Hat SEO. Links are placed on a website for improving another website. Back links elevate search engine ranks. People wish to place these links on your website to link them back to yours. There are links that are placed on your website to boost the ranking score of another website. Another reason could be for trashing your website when you are dominating the internet.
7. Denial of Service or DOS is an approach where your website has too much of traffic and legitimate users cannot access it. This generally crashes the server and pulls down your website.
Types Of Hacking Attacks
Now, we know what prompts hackers to hack our websites. Let us see the type of hacking attacks they deploy-
This is not an intentional attack. It is coincidence that someone is trying to hack your website. There is something that the bot has caught as they randomly crawl the internet. It generally takes 30 to 45 days for a brand new website sans content or traffic to be identified and added to the bot crawler. Once the website is added, hacking attacks take place for no apparent reason.
Crawlers search for identifying markers when the site is developed on CMS applications like Jhoomla and WordPress operating exploitable software, plugins and more. If found then the website will be marked for the next exploiting phase of the attack!
The attack is never a singular event and it may happen in minutes, days and months. It takes place instantly and scans for updates and changes. The attack is automated and once your website gets on the list, several attempts are made again and again till eventually hacked!
This attack is intended for businesses and individuals who are famous or well-known to a certain extent. Here, hacking is like trying to crack a tough nut but once done its rewards are huge. The attack is associated with the Denial of Service mode where the hacker wishes to pull down your website completely. This is common between two competing businesses.
The nature of targeted attacks may be automated or manual. However, most of them are automatic in nature. They are generally targeted towards business owners of small to medium scale websites that use WordPress, Jhoomla etc. Automated attacks have the benefits of being less expensive and it does not need a lot of hacking skill!
Most of the automated attacks have a specific sequence that involves the following phases-
The first two steps are done with bots and scripts. The next two steps are manual though they can be automated sometimes depending upon the case.
Hope this post gives you an idea on why websites are hacked. Look out for our next article where we will delve on how exactly a website gets hacked in simple steps!