“This Site May be Hacked” says Google: Now What?

Your client calls you. They just heard from several customers who attempted to reach their website and received a warning. Their Google search says, “This site may be hacked.” What does that mean? Is the website safe? What do you need to do to fix it? 

The longer you wait to fix issues like this, the more the snowball effect can turn a tiny snowflake into an avalanche. Your clients need answers now, and if you’re uncertain what’s happening, it can take you some time to just figure it out. What does this message mean and what can you do to fix it or stop it from happening? 

Google’s Smart Analytics

Google analytics can tell us a lot about our website. But it also has the ability to determine when a site may have been compromised. The message will show up if it appears something has changed on your site that isn’t legitimate. 

But, keep in mind this message is automated, so there are a few things that can initiate it on your client’s site. 

Malware or Viruses

The obvious answer is that someone has accessed your client’s site to change or redirect pages to malicious content. They may have edited existing pages or inserted new spam pages. The overarching concern is that the presence of these things on the site can open visitors up to spam or, worse, malware. 

The intention from Google is that the message protects visitors before this becomes an issue, but if someone isn’t searching for the page and goes to it directly, there can be consequences. 

Was it Something You Did? 

But sometimes the message is initiated when Google doesn’t recognize the changes you’ve made to the site. It’s triggered whenever Google thinks something is suspicious, which means it could have been content you added. For example, if your content had outside text formatting not recognized by the site, it gets confused. 

If the message was triggered by something you did, it won’t be dangerous to visitors but it will disrupt the traffic to your client site. 

Remove the Message

You can remove the message through the Google Search Console, but it’s a tricky matter. It involves verifying your site, checking for security issues, and requesting a review. 

It’s up to you to remove the content that is causing the message. And the review process is just Google’s way of taking another look and determining if it now meets their standard criteria for a safe website. This is all done by the smart analytics. 

Dealing with these issues can cost you a lot of design time as well as affect your clients’ business. You’re not a tech support person, so why not focus on design and let the experts handle these kind of security questions? 

Don’t wait.Partner with online security specialists to keep your clients’ sites safe and running without interruption. Call Site Trustee today.