When considering why hackers are attacking websites, you might think that there’s a specific reason they target you as a website owner—your business, your reputation, or your information. But the truth is, hacks don’t often singled out someone. Most of the time, hackers spot a website vulnerability. This is what determines why certain websites are targeted.
3 Categories of Hackers
Hackers can be placed into three different groups:
White Hat Hackers
A group dedicated to tech savvies, white hats seek to find vulnerabilities without having any malicious intent. These “hackers” are usually web developers or people who work in website security or coding. Their goal is to improve website security for all users or coders working in an open-source environment.
Black Hat Hackers
Opposite of white hat, this group has full intention of exploiting website vulnerabilities. Personal gain is the name of the game for these cybercriminals. Black hat hackers usually have automation tools and processes to help them hack and profit from as many websites as possible.
Those who hack websites because they believe they have something to prove or expose to the world are called hacktivists. Their goal is to gain unauthorized access to websites in order to bring awareness to a political or social issue. These acts vary in extremes—from cyberterrorism to messages for social change.
Why Do Hackers Hack Websites?
Hackers are ready to take advantage of a possible exploitation without taking into consideration your type of business. who you service, or how well your website is doing. The reasons why will vary depending on the hacker. Here are some examples of what motivates them:
You might think that your business is not big enough for someone to be interested in tapping into your traffic or your Authority. However, cybercriminals will leverage the server resources of several websites in order to reach the level of impact that they’re after. As a result, your small site might just end up being a part of a big hack.
Some of these exploitations are known as SEO spam, pharma hacks, or defacements, to name a few. We need to take into consideration that the target could be another website under your hosting roof or multiple websites sharing the same server.
While some people might think that hackers are paid to exploit your site, it’s a bit more structured than that. Let’s take a quick look into what information is valuable in today’s market. Depending on your website, cyber attackers might be searching for:
- Credit card information, including CVV and billing address to make use of it for online transactions.
- Contact information later sold to unethical marketers.
- Username and passwords to access and take over your server resources.
- Classified information to leak or extort.
- High security information that can discredit competitors, such as individuals or organizations.
- Malvertising and affiliate spam directed at visitors.
- SEO spam directed at search engines.
- Some targeted attacks will also be made to show vulnerability of users, accessing and retaining login credentials.
Attackers can take advantage of any of this obtained information to access bank accounts, take out loans, make use of someones identity, and create fake identities. They can also use these hacks to generate advertising revenue and manipulate search engines into ranking their sites higher. If you want to expand your knowledge on this topic, we have written an article about the consequences of a data breach.
Hackers build up their reputation by forcing access to websites in order to obtain valuable information. Malicious users can use gathered, personally identifiable data as a blackmail scheme or ransomware attack.
Hacktivism and Boredom
Some hackers break into a website just to prove they can. Over the course of the Internet’s history, we have seen it happen again and again no matter what type of website you have—from governmental websites to mom blogs.
Hackers may pursue a religious or political agenda and use their black hat skills to deface websites. Defacement attacks make web pages work as free billboards to serve the malicious users intents.
It may be a surprise to website owners that some hackers target websites for sheer boredom or amusement.
What Are the Implications of a Hack?
Unfortunately, for some people, having a hacked website is a painful reality.
Recovering from a website hack, regardless of the motivational roots, has an impact on your time, money, clients, visitors, and stored information. It can take a very long to bounce back from. It also increases your chances of reinfection for up to six months following, if precautions are not taken to protect the website.
What Are the Most Common Hacks?
Here is a list of common malware categories extracted from our latest Hack Website Trend Report.
Our blog features the most common website hacks and is updated regularly. We also publish new content every week as a continuous effort to create awareness in our industry and to help website owners make use of as many best practices available as possible.
Another helpful resource for website owners is our latest webinar on the most common types of hacks.
Hackers are not going away anytime soon. Their motivations include executing their malicious agenda, making a statement, or looking for new ways to obtain monetary and personal gain.
It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of these threats. The internet is filled with unlimited resources and information.
There are multiple ways to stay up to date with keeping your website safe. You can subscribe to our blog feed so you don’t miss any blog posts on website security. If you want to protect your website against attacks and hacks, we offer a website security platform with malware detection, protection, and response in case of security issues.