Urgent corrections to websites
- about -
Website is a collection of data, constructed in a format that web browsers understand and can display on visitor’s device screen. On most websites this information is downloaded from the website’s database and from the files that the website contains (e.g. images and videos). All of them are subject to change, for which there is an occasional need, but also to urgent changes, if necessary.
When a website is made, it has small number of pages, so making bulk changes to it does not seem like a difficult job. However, as website grows and when a need arises for changes to hundreds of pages and all other content, then the job becomes proportionately more demanding and needs a more practical, but also professional, approach to the problem in order to solve it properly in the scheduled time, without compromising functionality and accessibility.
We are offering a service for bulk changes to the website with a deadline.
The content on the website can be categorized into several types:
- type – website’s text
Website text is the complete text that is displayed on each page of the website.
- type – website’s meta-data
Metadata is such data that usually includes descriptions and keywords. This data is usually not visible on the page itself, but it is visible to search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Metadata is used in their search results, which makes it important for website’s rankings.
- type – files
Every website contains a massive amount of files – from “.htm” files for the simplest websites, to videos, images, archives, forms, etc. for more complex websites. All of these files have names, contents and metadata. Some files also contain metadata within the file itself, such as copyright information in “jpeg” files.
- type – database
A database is a separate part of a website that contains all the data that is not contained in the website’s files. Among other things, the database contains information that is important, and may not be obvious by nature of it, yet it is there and is indirectly visible.
The service “Bulk changes to the website,” represents changes of any type of data on the website individually or en masse, especially changes that are impossible to do manually in a given period of time and which are of multiple type: website’s text, file names, contents of files, link addresses, page addresses, and any other content that makes the website run smoothly.
Depending on the nature of the situation, failure to comply with the deadline for bulk changes to the website may put the website owner in a difficult position, in terms of impaired website functioning, copyright infringements, or deletion of the website’s content (or the whole website altogether) from the internet. The losses that may occur are financial in nature, the amounts of which can go enormously high.
Regaining control of a hacked website
- unhacking -
We can distinguish several levels of control over website:
- The lowest control level is the user-level control. When a user logs in to a website that offers or requires user registration, that user is provided with a user-level of controls. User access data may be stolen. That profile is then considered hacked and the hacker gains control over the content that the user in question has control over.
- Higher level of control is the administrator level. The administrator level is the level the most prized with hackers, because it gives them control over the website contents and other user accounts. This type of control allows them to set up a “backup access” in case unauthorized access is detected.
- The highest level of control over a website is via server on which the web site resides. All big servers are very well protected, which hackers are aware of, and generally do not attempt to gain unauthorized access on the server-level.
Regaining control of a website is a process that consists of several stages:
- First phase is understanding how unauthorized access to the website was achieved.
Before approaching the issue, it first must be analyzed in detail. Only when the actual situation has been assessed, can the necessary steps be taken, based on that assessment.
- Second phase is disabling current unauthorized accesses to the website and protecting the site from future hacker attacks.
Once the security vulnerabilities have been patched and the entire website has been cleared of any “backup entries”, repairing of the damage can begin, while actively monitoring and protecting against new hacking attempts. The usual reaction of “expelled” hacker is to repeat attempts, which can last for months.
- Third phase is hacker’s giving up.
This phase is the most important one, because only then will the risk of new hacking start to decline.
The risks involved in failing to regain control of a hacked website are numerous, but most significant to website’s owner are those related to his business and his website visitors. A hacked website is riddled with unwanted content or impairs normal functioning of the website, and the risks range from negative impact on its reputation to financial losses and possible legal consequences for the owner.
Security vulnerability analysis and protection from further hacking
- types of analysis -
There are two ways to analyze security vulnerabilities: passive (offline) and active (online).
- Passive (or offline) analysis involves reviewing and analyzing scripts, looking for possible vulnerabilities and “backup entries” for hackers (in case the site has already been hacked).
- An active (or online) website check is assessing it’s vulnerabilities on various hacking techniques.
The most important measure of protection from hacking is to maintain and update the website regularly. Other measures of prevention and protection from further hacking sites can be:
- regular change of passwords, as a very simple, yet very powerful way to protect against hacking,
- use of password generators – long passwords with all kinds of characters (the longer and more complicated the password, the stronger the protection),
- do not open spam – as a common means of gaining unauthorized access, hackers use spam emails, with links to suspicious (possibly hacked) malware-ridden websites, created to infect and steal data from the device it is opened with,
- (for web site owners) use of TSL/SSL protocols – the use of security protocols involves not only encrypted communication between the server (web site) and the client (web site visitor), but also a set of security rules that web browsers must abide by and which do not apply for websites without these protocols.
Any inadequate or incomplete security analysis creates opportunities for hackers to hack and does not protect the site from further attacks.