SEO poisoning, Web backdoors, defacements

Websites face other types of threat besides drive-by and phishing attacks. Hackers use them to spread malware, raise their profile in the hacking community or cause damage to website operators.

SEO poisoning

SEO poisoning involves Internet criminals exploiting weaknesses on countless websites to insert invisible links. These cause the manipulated websites to appear near the top of search engine results lists. As a result, users are drawn to the manipulated sites, where they are exposed to all kinds of risks and damage.

Web backdoors

Internet criminals install so-called backdoors on websites with a view to taking full control of a server. If they succeed, they can use the server for further criminal activities.

Website defacements

Visibly defacing a website is more about activists showing off than criminals making money. Websites are sometimes defaced to humiliate their owner.

Identifying website manipulation

How to spot threats:

  • Website defacements: The manipulation is instantly plain to see.
  • SEO poisoning: The website’s source code must be checked for changes.
  • Web backdoors: An expert must check the server. Special software tools are available for this purpose, including NeoPI Web shell detection and PHP Shell Scanner.

Cleaning up manipulated websites

If your website has been infected, seek professional assistance immediately from your hosting provider or your webmaster. The harmful code must always be removed in full. If this is not possible, the only option is to install an uninfected backup. Take a look at our five tips to see how you can identify and remove further vulnerabilities.

For more information on making the Internet safer read the SWITCH Security Blog.