What is Website Defacement?

Website defacement occurs when a hacker alters the physical appearance of a webpage or an entire website. In some instances, a hacker injects code in order to add unauthorized images, popups or text to a page. While other times, the hacker completely removes the original site and replaces it with something different.

Why Does this Occur?

Website defacement occurs for a variety of reasons. Some hackers vandalize websites in order to amuse themselves while also mocking and taunting the site owner. Others are interested in demonstrating their superior level hacking skills.

Activist hackers, also known as “hactivists,” deface websites as a form of cyber protesting and to bring awareness to political issues. At times, website defacement is used to distract from and cover up a larger crime occurring behind the scenes, such as uploading malware or deleting essential server files.

How Can I Avoid Defacement?

Website security is a critical aspect in avoiding website defacement. By implementing the following practices, you can reduce the risk of your site being vandalized.

  • Select strong passwords that contain 8-10 characters, and include special characters and upper and lower case letters. You should change your passwords a minimum of one time every three months, and never reuse your passwords on other sites.
  • Remain current with the most recent version of your CMS. Software packages are constantly updated in order to be prepared for any new security threats that may arise. Therefore, by ensuring that your CMS is up-to-date, your website will also be prepared to combat these issues.
  • Utilize a website monitoring service. Uptime is a website monitoring service that uses Google Safe Browsing and Yandex Safe Browsing to scan your website and web applications. Scanning checks the site for malicious software and other security threats that could lead to website defacement.

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