Cyber attacks on websites are persistent hazards that any organization with an online presence should be aware of.
Threat attackers may target a website to get access to sensitive data or utilize the application as a staging point for further website defacement.
What Exactly is Website Defacement?
Website defacement is an assault in which hostile hackers infiltrate a website and alter the site’s content with their own messaging.
The messages might include a political or religious statement, profanity, or other unsuitable information that would shame website owners or a notification that a specific hacking gang has hacked the website.
Most websites and web applications store data in environment or configuration files, which affect the content displayed on the website or specify the location of templates and page content.
With cyber attacks, unexpected changes to these files can indicate a security breach and may indicate a website defacement.
The following are some of the most common reasons for website defacement attacks:
- Unauthorized entry.
- Injection of SQL data.
- Site-to-site scripting (XSS).
- DNS spoofing
- Infection with malware.
Website Defacement Attack Examples
At some point, website defacement attacks have targeted some of the world’s most popular websites.
A website defacement attack is a public indication that a website has been under cyber attacks, and it creates brand and reputation harm that lasts long after the cyber attacker’s message has been deleted.
1. Google.ro and PayPal.ro
Users were unable to visit Google Romania in 2012, instead being sent to a website defacement screen provided by MCA-CRB, the “Algerian Hacker.” The website defacement had been up for at least an hour.
DNS hijacking was used in the for cyber attacks, which allowed cyber attackers to spoof DNS replies and reroute visitors to their own server rather than Google’s.
The domain paypal.ro was targeted in the same way. The MCA-DRB hacking collective was responsible for 5,530 website defacements across all five continents, with many of them targeting government websites.
2. Defacement of the NHS
The BBC reported in 2018 that cyber attackers hacked a website hosted by the UK National Health Service (NHS) that included data from patient surveys. “Hacked by AnoaGhost,” claimed the website defacement message.
The statement was taken down within a few hours, although the site might have been vandalized for up to five days.
3. Georgia’s largest cyberattack in history
Georgia was the victim of a cyber attacks in 2019, in which 15,000 websites were hacked and subsequently taken down.
Government websites, banks, local newspapers, and major television stations were among those affected.
Pro-Service, a Georgian web hosting service, claimed responsibility for the cyber attack, stating that a hacker breached their internal systems and hacked the websites.
Best Practices for Preventing Website Defacement
1. Use the Least Privilege Principle (POLP).
Limiting privileged or administrative access to your websites reduces the possibility of a malicious internal user or an cyber attacker with a compromised account causing damage.
2. Avoid using the default admin directory and email address.
Never use the default name for your admin directory since hackers are aware of all major website platforms default names and will attempt to obtain access to them.
Similarly, avoid using the default admin email accounts since cyber attackers will attempt to compromise them via phishing emails or other means.
3. Use add-ons and plugins sparingly.
The more plugins or add-ons you use on platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, the more likely it is that you will encounter software vulnerabilities.
Attackers may find zero-day vulnerabilities, and even if a security patch is available, upgrades will take time, putting the website at risk.
Using Acronis protection can help you prevent cyber attacks.
4. Make use of SSL/TLS.
Allow SSL/TLS on all website pages and prevent referring to unprotected HTTP resources.
All communication with users is secured when SSL/TLS is used consistently across your site, eliminating several sorts of “Man in the Middle” (MITM) cyber attacks that may be exploited to deface your website.
The Best Tools for Monitoring Website Defacement
The impact on your reputation and business is either nonexistent or minor since you have a website defacement monitoring system in place that will alert you immediately when the site is vandalized.
Fluxguard can assist you with QA automation, synthetic transactions, visual regression, and application performance monitoring, in addition to website defacement monitoring.
One might avoid the requirement for manual testing after each revision by comparing the web page’s screenshots, code, and content. The qualities below are not an exhaustive list.
- Monitor newly discovered connections automatically.
- A variety of browsers and resolutions are supported.
- It can monitor not just English, but also Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Emoji.
Visualping is the foremost website defacement change detection and monitoring tool in the world.
The system scans the online pages you choose and notifies you whenever there is a change.
As a result, it is an excellent tool for swiftly detecting website defacement and other cyber attacks.
SUCURI provides all-in-one website cyber attacks security monitoring, protection, and backup, as well as performance advantages.
Know right away whether your website is having cyber attacks problems, not simply when it is vandalized with a variety of different items, as shown below.
- When a DNS record is modified
- Infection with cross-site scripting
- SSL certificate updates
- SEO spam, among other things…
4# Acronis Cyber Protect
It protects your data from any cyber attacks with a single solution and safeguards your business with ransomware protection.
- Anti virus
- Anti ransomware protection
- Vulnerability assessment
- One click backup
Having a website defacement monitoring system in place will inform you immediately if the site is under cyber attacks, resulting in little or minimal reputational and commercial effect.
If you don’t want to take the risk of website defacement, you can get a cyber attacks prevention solution like Acronis Cyber Protect from Exabytes.
To find out more, contact us now.