Earlier this week, Google released its annual review of hacking trends from the previous year. This is part of an ongoing effort to increase cybersecurity awareness through the company’s #NoHacked campaign. According to Google’s data, the number of hacked websites in 2016 grew by 32 percent compared to 2015, and the company warns that this trend will not be slowing down any time in the near future. This is due in part to hackers becoming more aggressive in their techniques and webmasters letting their sites become dangerously outdated.
Site hacks can be detrimental to its ranking, particularly if the issue is not resolved as quickly as possible. In its report, Google stated that the vast majority of webmasters — 84 percent — who submitted reconsideration requests after cleaning up their websites were successful. This is not all good news, however, as Google also revealed that 61 percent of site owners do not have their websites verified in the Search Console and could not be informed about any hacks. Google is stressing how important it is to have webmasters verify their sites to protect their property.
The search giant has also provided new information regarding common site hacks for webmasters to be aware of. These include the following:
- Gibberish hack. This sort of hack automatically creates multiple pages worth of sentences stuffed with various keywords that do not make any sense or add real SEO value. The user is redirected to an unrelated page when this kind of page is visited.
- Japanese keywords hack. A hack like this generates multiple pages filled with Japanese text. In some cases, the hackers are also added in the Search Console as site owners, meaning they can inflict far more damage onto the entire website.
- Cloaked keywords hack. With a cloaked keywords hack, many pages are filled with nonsensical links, images and sentences. These can be tricky to spot at first because this hack follows the same template as the other pages on the site, meaning they blend in more easily.
To stop a website from being hacked, Google says that the best offense is a good defense. Webmasters can protect their sites by staying updated on releases from their Content Management Systems and creating a secure connection with users by purchasing an SSL certificate. Keeping a website safe from hackers needs to be a top priority.