The sad truth is that the longer you keep a piece of content online, the more likely it is to get hacked. In the case of a Facebook account or email address, this can be a real nuisance, but if your website gets hacked, your problems can multiply very quickly.
Luckily, Google has stepped in with a new set of user-friendly tools to help hacker victims recover.
A seven-minute video kicks off the process. Here, Maile Ohye, the developer programs tech lead at Google, outlines how to know if your site has been hacked, as well as what your options are for fixing it.
Right away, she recommends seeking outside help (from your website's host company, for example) if you don't know where to start. For users with a modicum of tech skills, though, website repair is both feasible and economical.
The good news is that the repair process is divided into eight simple steps. The bad news is that only two of these steps are suitable for "Beginner"-level victims. In order to accomplish "Beginner"-level tasks, all you'll need to do is watch videos and send a few emails, but the difficulty ramps up quickly.
By Step 3, you'll have to be able to take your site on and offline at will and how to grant and revoke account permissions. Step 4 involves verifying your website (to ensure that you are the real owner), and figuring out what kind of damage your site suffered.
The next three steps are the toughest, and if you don't know how to use shell/terminal commands, PHP/Java programming or how to create backup website storage, you may want to seek help elsewhere.
Google instructs users on removing spam and malware, identifying vulnerabilities that allowed the site to be hacked and cleaning up to prevent it from happening again. [See also: The 6 Wackiest Google Searches ]
As Google presents it, site recovery is by no means easy, but it provides video tutorials every step of the way. The final step is also not too tough, as it directs users to request a Google site review in order to remove its telltale "This site may harm your computer" notifications.
Since Google benefits from having fewer compromised sites in its search engine, this service is not entirely altruistic. Still, as start-to-finish guides to website recovery go, this one is straightforward and as simple as possible.
If your site's been hacked, this is a good place to start. Don't be afraid to ask for help if the steps start getting too complicated, though; Java and PHP aren't the kind of skills you can pick up in an afternoon.