You’ve Been Hacked, Now What?

You’ve been hacked–join the club. Lately it seems that no matter what precautions you take, your business may get hacked eventually.

So what immediate actions do you take if you’ve been hacked? Here are our top five suggestions:

  1. Take your website offline immediately and inform everyone in your IT department. Doing this prevents anyone from visiting your website and contracting any malware that could have been embedded into your site by hackers.
  2. Contact your website host provider. By letting your host provider know that you have been hacked it will make them aware of the problem you are experiencing and will allow them to devise an action plan and also protect other sites that they host from hackers.
  3. Notify all business affiliates and customers who may have been compromised, so that they can take further precautions to protect themselves. By doing this quickly, you may also be protecting your business from a legal standpoint.
  4. Change all company passwords. Once a hacker has your password, he can access your network for as long as the password is valid. So it is important to immediately change your password so the hacker can’t continue to access your network. It is important to change your passwords on a regular basis to assist in hacking prevention.
  5. Try to prevent future attacks. Deploy a company-wide security policy which would include installing anti-spam software and anti-virus software to all accounts. Draft an email policy to educate users to be aware of (spear) phishing attacks and create strong user passwords. If your business is hacked it can be devastating. Draft a recovery plan so that if an attack occurs, your company will be able to respond quickly when time is of the essence.
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Deborah Galea is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Red Earth Software, a leading email management software company based in Boulder, Colo. Galea is an expert in the growing field of corporate email management solutions involving eDiscovery as well as the compliance issues impacting almost every vertical industry, including financial services, legal, healthcare, retail and government. She has extensive knowledge of the legal issues relating to corporate email usage and has worked in the Netherlands, the U.K., the United States and Cyprus. Follow us on Twitter @redearthsoft,"like" us on Facebook and check out our website: www.policypatrol.com


  1. These are pretty strong and upright action against hack attacks.. and yes time is really of the essence here in protecting your website! nice post..

  2. My website was attacked once, and the worst part was, I didn’t even know it was attacked.

    I run vBulletin, and someone placed malicious code into one of the vBulletin files on my server which made invisible backlinks to Viagra, sex drugs, and other adult material websites. These links were only visible to robots and spiders that crawl websites for indexing. I only discovered these links were there when I checked my Google Webmaster Tools account and saw all these horrific keywords.

    I managed to fix the problem by going to vBulletin Admin CP and checking for suspect file versions. I found a single file that had been modified, among others that were either appropriate for my version of vB or plug-ins that I recognized as not part of vB. replaced the suspect file, and the invisible links went away.

    It took about 2 weeks for my Webmaster tools to clean itself up through re-indexing, but the keywords dropped everyday, now my site is clean.

  3. This is alarming.. I think we all need to watch out for these kind of stealth attacks! it’s pretty scary.. and thanks for the additional advice Jon..

  4. Hy Deborah Galea
    thanks for alerting every one by telling every one what they have to do when they think that their site has been hacked. all the precautionary measures are very important to took to save your website from losing its diamond data. the points you reminds me are already known but its a good reminder that i got through this post.

  5. Hacking will go on forever. There’s really no stopping it, we can only hope to contain it. People just need to wise up to spammy emails and links through social media platforms.

  6. Hi Deborah,

    You are quite right. Even having the most expensive or most effective software against hacking, there is still no guarantee that our website can get hacked. Even Apple and Youtube got hacked. Panicking is the last thing that we should do when we get hacked. Your tips would be greatly helpful when this happens. 🙂

  7. Yes.. prevention is still a better option here.. taking precautions will keep you safe.. but if you do get hacked then better prepare for that possibility too.. 😉

  8. relying on the experts to do the job is still the best options.. I agree.. if your at home and found out that your site have just been hacked, you should instead call them up rather than try to solve things yourself..

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