Hacking can happen to any website, without even the slightest clue that it has happened. With the right string of malicious code, a WordPress-backed website can turn from a valuable sales and engagement tool to a scam artist’s playground – sending out bad links and destroying your good SEO.
One of the most recent threats to WordPress sites is the Pharma Hack. Considered a “Black Hat SEO” tool for online pharmacy websites, this hack can turn legitimate content into poisoned links quickly.
What is the Pharma Hack?
The Pharma Hack uses malicious code to effectively break into the back end of a website. The malicious code inserts itself into the back end of a website disguised as a WordPress plugin, such as Akismet or Yoast SEO. When implemented successfully, the Pharma Hack then hijacks links in the website to redirect to online pharmacy websites, among others.
Because the Pharma Hack is hijacks websites and redirects legitimate content to bad content, many website owners don’t realize the damage until their search rankings drop dramatically. By then, it may be too late: the website is blacklisted from Google, and the hackers have moved on to another target.
How Can I Tell If My Website Has the Pharma Hack?
The best way to determine if your website is damaged by the hack is to read Google Analytics reports monthly. If your top-ranked websites are no longer receiving high organic traffic through search engines. If this is the case, it may be prudent to investigate why. In some situations, it may be due to a hack injected into your website.
Another key factor is understanding exit rate and bounce rate from high-traffic pages in your website. If a page begins to experience an abnormal amount of bounce or exit when it originally generated traffic, it could mean a hack is installed in your website.
What Should I Do If My Website Gets the Pharma Hack?
As with any digital problem, patience and diligence win the day over panic. Before losing composure, start by searching through your website files using an FTP client. Be sure to search all files, even the hidden ones, to discover any hacked files.
When the files are discovered, it is important to delete them not only from the server, but the database as well. Before deleting files from the database, back up all important files and edit when a backup is complete.
If you are at all uncomfortable by this, it may be time to call in a professional for help. At Altitude SEO, we can not only save websites from hacks – we can also prevent it from happening, and defend your reputation as well. Contact us today for a website security review, to see how we can help you and your website stay at Altitude, and away from SEO-breaking hacks.