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Understanding Website Viruses

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Web Hosting Geek

Although most people are aware of the fact that their personal computer can be completely destroyed by a virus if the proper antivirus software is not used, many don’t realize that websites are also just as vulnerable to viruses. Just as a virus can infect your computer’s hard drive and utilize your computers resources, the same thing can happen to a web server that hosts your website.  If you are a serious online business owner, then you may want to consider the following information pertaining to website viruses, how they are spread, and how they can affect the success of your site.

How Websites Are Infected

There are several ways a virus can infect your website, each one requiring the hacker to gain access to the Web server in some way or another. Although this may sound like a rare occurrence, it is actually quite common, and the hacker never actually has to do any manual work to accomplish this. The hacker starts by getting an online business owner to download a virus to their personal computer. Once the virus is on the computer of the website owner, it begins logging all of the keystrokes that they type on their keyboard. When they go to log into their web hosting account, their password is cataloged into a database automatically and the account is hacked.

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How Website Viruses Are Spread

Once the hacker has access to your web hosting account they are free to install malicious scripts on your web server, which can be used to spy on your traffic sources, redirect your traffic, change the content of your sites, and infect the computers of all of your site visitors.  The virus uploads itself to the web server and begins installing itself on websites that are contained on that server. Thus, website viruses are more prevalent within shared hosting plans, as a single web server can be shared by hundreds or even thousands of webmasters. In fact, the website owner never even has to have a virus on their personal computer to have their website affected. The virus spreads from site to site within the Web server itself, and is therefore is often a security issue that web hosting companies must deal with on an urgent basis.

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How Can Viruses Affect My Website?

Having a virus on your website can greatly damage the reputation of your online business, and ultimately result in a significant loss of traffic. Most Internet surfers have an anti virus software installed that will warn them when they’re about to visit a website that is infected with a virus. If your website is infected, the majority of visitors will be warned not to enter your site. Even visitors that do not have anti-virus software installed may be warned not to enter your site by search engines, which frequently catalog sites that are reported to be infected. Unfortunately, the majority of Internet surfers don’t realize that the website owner is just as much of a victim as the site visitors, and instead they assume that the site owner is responsible for hosting a virus on their site.


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