Website Viruses – Who’s To Blame and How To Fix Them?

Imagine opening up your website to see a red screen warning visitors the site is unsafe. You spent all this time climbing the Google ladder and building traffic and now your website is infected with a virus. The thoughts running through your head may sound something like this:

“How did this happen?” “Oh No! Is all my data gone?” “How do we fix this?” “Who’s to blame?”

When it comes to the company website, most small businesses do not spend enough time understanding the technology, resulting in major problems that could have been prevented. Too often, small businesses make technology decisions based on the initial price, which can end up being very costly in the long run.

We all know when it comes to technology the world is constantly changing and what does not exist today may exist tomorrow. This includes everything from how changes in the next release of Internet Explorer will function to a new virus that can attack and disable your website. How well do you understand your website technology and how best to keep it secure?

True or False: Your website technology does not need to be updated?

The answer is False.

Websites Need To Be Regularly Monitored and Updated Just Like Any Other Technology. As users we are reminded to update the software on our smart Phones, iPods and desktop software. It is the best frontline defense against viruses and other malware and it should not be a surprise that you need to do the same with you company websites.

True or False: My Hosting Company is Responsible for Keeping My Website Safe?

The answer is False. A common misconception among business owners is that their hosting company is primarily responsible for protecting their website. The hosting company is not responsible for the website build or the technology you use on your account. For example, if you decide to build your website on an open source content management system like Joomla than your hosting company will provide the environment, but not the protection for software installed on that environment. In general, a hosting company is responsible for providing space on a computer that is connected to the World Wide Web and the bandwidth to access your website. In addition, you can expect your hosting company to ensure the server you are on has all its updates, and provide an application to manage your account with updated versions of applications to be installed by your developer

Beware! Your hosting company is not even responsible for backups unless you pay extra for a plan. They may also offer security services, such as monitoring or an enhance firewall at an additional charge, as well. Each of these issues should be reviewed and discussed with technical advisors.

True or False: Your web designer / developer is responsible for defending against attacks on your website?

This answer is a both True and False. I know you’re asking how is that possible, but it depends on the agreement you have in place. Before you contract a web firm or individual to build your website, you need to ask questions about security:

  • What have been the recent virus attacks on the software they are recommending to build your website?
  • How are they protecting websites they have in place now?
  • What updates need to be included in your future website management budget?

Remember your designer / developer can’t be held responsible for something that is unknown. While it is impossible to know when a new viruses will be created and released, it is certain that at some point your website will come under attack. Just like you’d need to pay a computer specialist to come into your office and fix an attack on your company computer, you will need to pay your developer if your website is attacked.

The most proactive approach is to budget for updates on the technology that has been implemented. Depending on the technology your website is built upon, your frequency of updates will vary. In the case of proprietary technology where the web development firm built your website with a custom system, and you are paying a licensing fee as part of your monthly account, be sure defending against virus attacks is included in the package.

Take the time now to find out if you have an update or monitoring package on your website and if you don’t investigate getting one. No one wants to see the red screen instead of their website.

By – Jennifer Shaheen, Technology Therapy Group and Contributing Writing, Smallbiztechnology


About Jennifer Shaheen

Jennifer Shaheen, The Technology Therapist®, is an expert at helping business owners harness today’s technology to effectively grow their businesses in the digital marketplace. She brings over 14 years of top-level experience to the world of online marketing and has empowered businesses of all shapes and sizes to integrate effective digital strategies that boost sales, enhance staff productivity, expand customer base and increase market share.

  • Carlos Chang

    Website malware is a sad truth about the wild, wild, west. (aka www) Get a daily website malware scan to see if you site is at risk. There are some free services out there, but you have to manually do it. We offer a daily malware scan that comes with the well known VeriSign Trust Seal . (it’s not just for SSL sites, any site) It’s done daily and offers help to remediate if malware is found. And of course, you can try it free for 60 days and see for yourself.