We hear this all the time from clients with travel, real estate, food, etc… blogs. “Why would anyone want to hack my blog? It’s just about recipes!” We understand it might not make much sense at first, but most hackers hack a website in order to essentially steal their traffic and make some money off it. In the internet world, traffic is money, and if a hacker can hack 10 blogs each with an average of just a couple thousand hits a month, they can redirect that traffic to their site and end up with a lot of visitors. Let me explain in more detail.
Links back to their site
Google is the main search engine for most of the developed world, and Google ranks websites using a complex algorithm I won’t even try to figure out. But, one of the most important parts of that algorithm is the number and quality of sites that link back to a particular page. So if a hacker has a site that they sell products or advertisement on, it would behoove them to have other quality sites linking back to their site. This would move their site higher and higher in search results, and thus allow them to sell more products or charge more for their advertisements.
Hijacking your traffic
This is in some ways related to the reason listed above, but instead of just placing hidden links on your blog, some hackers will redirect all your traffic to their page or an affiliate page thereby stealing your traffic. Many people who get hacked notice it when they type in their URL on morning and end up being redirected to a page selling porn or performance enhancing drugs. This usually indicates that the hacker is getting a commission for the sales that occur, and by hijacking your traffic instead of working hard to get their own, hackers can turn a quick buck.
Get access to your paid content
If you sell a product on your website with a shopping cart and a product list and you are using software like Magento, WordPress, Joomla… it is likely that your products and prices are stored in your database. If a hacker can gain access to your database through SQL injection attacks they can change the price of your products and place orders for those products at a lower cost, sometimes as low as one cent. If your system is automated, you might not catch the change before product gets shipped out, and you must eat the difference.
Another common occurrence is hackers gaining access to a password protected area of your site and getting to consume paid content for free. Sometimes the hackers will steal this data and make a similar site to yours– even selling the same content you worked hard to produce. You might not even know this has occurred, which is why it is important to take measures to prevent attacks as soon as possible.
Our next post will review the value of newsletters and mailing lists and why hackers would want to steal this information. Even if you have a small hobby blog, your traffic and resources may be worth more than you think. Now you know the answer to your question, “Why would someone want to hack my blog?” — Usually it all comes down to money.
How to prevent attacks from happening…
We can help you prevent attacks so you don’t have to worry about what vulnerabilities might be lurking in your system, and we do it at a very reasonable price. Take a look at our Website Protection plans where we review your website for vulnerabilities and address them before they can be exploited.