The Christmas period must have been highlighted on web site hackers’ calendars. I have never seen so many attacks in such a short period. Hacking from Romania, Brazil, Korea, Syria – attacks from all over the world.
My theory is that the hackers target that period because web site owners are often away for holidays and will not notice that their web site has been compromised. The hackers install malware that seeks to harvest unsuspecting visitors’ bank and other service details. The longer the hacked web site stays live, the better for the hacker.
The problem is that hosting companies usually only carry one weekly backup which means that if your site gets hacked on the 24th December and you don’t notice until the 27th of January, the backup will also be infected. You better have another backup somewhere else.
Another problem is that after a few days, Google notices the problem and flags the web site as being dangerous to visit. I’m sure you have seen such messages.
Chances are the web site owner had no idea. Having a hacked web site is not good for SEO and it’s not good for the web site owner’s reputation.
So what can you do to identify problems with your web site?
One useful web site is called changedetection.com
As the name implies, if pages on your web site changes you will be notified via email. Just enter your web page addresses and you email and the tripwire is set. You will get an email if changedetection.com notices any changes, usually within 6 hours or so.