The internet is like the ocean: it seems so open, so free. It feels a place where you can put up whatever digital property you want. But because you are free you also have the temptation to mess with what’s already there. Scariest part is you’re not the only one and not all resist temptation.
You find no better example than in hackers.
Now hackers are generally characterized as skilled programmers and they come in two kinds. There’s good and there’s bad, white hat and black hat respectively. Both have the capacity to create anything with codes and algorithms. Every computer program or a website is likely to have been touched by either one or the other.
Most hackers that you’ve seen attacking websites or a company’s system simply want attention. Recent examples would be the hacking of Russia today. The incident left all recent headlines about the Ukrainian crisis modified with every instance of ‘Russia’ or ‘Russian’ switched with ‘Nazi’ or ‘Nazis’. It was a message of protest against the Russian Parliament using military force against Ukraine Crimea.
Another example would be the direct attack to deface eBay and Paypal by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). They left a defaced page stating “Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army! F$&# the United States Government.” in protest to the companies allegedly involved in racial discrimination by denying Syrian citizens from buying online products. No accounts were stolen or tampered with and the site’s operation was restored quickly but the fact that they were hacked so easily left a lot of questions lying around.
Ideally, having a team of programmers to defend your system is the first line of defense against threats. That doesn’t necessarily mean you are entirely protected though. The internet is always changing. Depending on the level of attack, they’d either sneak in and drop something or make it a long battle, the truly best option is to secure every piece of important information and find the quickest way to solve it alongside your workforce.
One way to start is to leave an urgent announcement that your site had been compromised or is under maintenance. This is to avoid further damage towards your online marketing front then leave the work to your dev teams.
Take note that not all hackers are malicious. There are some who will stumble on a site and give an example without harming anyone in particular to prove their point. A recent hack against Facebook was to demonstrate a critical flaw which allowed one to easily hack other Facebook accounts through a simple text. The hacker mailed and contacted the site’s dev teams and was handsomely rewarded $20,000. The bug was fixed shortly after.
Pushing the panic button is fine when you’ve found out that your site’s been hit. Just make sure the panic doesn’t cripple the right course of action.