Website Viruses can kill your brand!

Website Viruses can kill your brand!

What exactly are website viruses?

With all the given security threats computer users need to worry about;  The standard for responsible awareness grows even further with each passing year.  In the past, before the days of Internet Popularity(Previous to the year 2000) computer users only needed to worry about viruses which infected personal computers.  Some of these viruses we’re relatively harmless, at most displaying a mischievous message on your screen during certain times of day.  While others we’re more destructive, aiming to destroy your critical data.

After the year 2000 came a new variant of a security threat known as spyware, ad-aware and malware.  These malicious inventions main source emanated from adult sites.  In which they would display aggravating pop-up ads on your computer while you surfed.  Some spyware had even worse intentions, attempting to capture sensitive information such as your banking or credit card information while you browsed the web.

Now from the year 2007 and onward, comes a new threat known as the “website virus”.  Website viruses infect the code of non-suspecting website owners.  Particularly vunerable are owners who have sophisticated website structures such as a Content Management System, Blog, Forum or E-commerce store.  The virus then attaches itself to the code of your website.  Then it attempts to spread the infection to each and every visitor who visits your website!

From a functional standpoint this is obviously detrimental.  Since certain infected areas of your website will not work at all.  As the virus code may cause it to completely malfunction.

From a marketing standpoint, this is even worse, as it’s tarnishing your brand/image you have worked so hard to create.  Infecting all your potential and existing clients whom are visiting your site.  Also since this would reduce your traffic, on-line leads would shrink and your revenues would be effected.

As of the time of writing this article(March 2010), there isn’t any easy way to clean viruses from your website(Unlike viruses for personal computers).  So the process to remove the virus is not as simple as using a program like Norton Antivirus or Mcaffee.  If you DO get infected by a website virus,  tt requires a web developer to spend hours painstakingly going through each page of your website and manually removing the faulty code.  The easier method of course is to restore a saved copy of the website.  However, if you have a content management system or e-commerce platform, you would also need to have saved a copy of the  database itself.  Since the database would store the latest contents of the site.

Now the good news is detecting a website virus is fairly easy.  If certain aspects of your website are not working properly, it’s possible it may have a website virus.  However, this could be caused by many other things.  So this would be the most basic clue.

The best form of detection of a website virus is through Google.  Since Google scans websites in the attempt to capture the latest updates.  If Google suspects that there is a virus on your site, it will place a warning which will be displayed in your search results.  So by googling your company website, you can see if a virus has been detected.

Also, the browser Apple Safari will warn you if you try to visit a site that is potentially infected with a virus.  However, the source of Safari’s alerts come from Google.  So this is a good option to feel ensured when you are surfing that you will not get infected by a website virus.

With the growing power of technology, comes new ways to exploit power with negative means.  Website Viruses are become an unfortunate reality in the Internet world.  And can create a huge setback to your company reputation.  However, by taking precautionary measures by having an appropriate backup strategy, the potentially detrimental effects can be minimized.  Keeping your customers confident in your business and protecting your brand as a highly valued asset.