Cyber attack

On Friday White Knight Marketing’s website was attacked, not just once, but 32,639 times as the hacker desperately tried to break into the site.

It started at 9am Friday and continued into the weekend; they had clearly set themselves a goal. Our hosting company, Somerset Web Services, have good security on our site and the attack was unlikely to succeed – the odds were low for them as we have the most convoluted passwords and logins, security plugins and we sit on Cloudflare, where the security attack mode was building a moat around White Knight’s virtual towers!

The interesting thing is not that we are being attacked, it’s how often you don’t realise your site is being bombarded until the server you are on cries for help! And, the fact that with weak passwords and security they can get through.

A client of ours recently had notification from Google that their site had been hacked, had malware attached, and they were stopping their AdWords campaign! Now, we don’t host websites so we quickly spoke to the developer. They checked the site and it was coming up clean in Google’s own site checker – no problem at all. We went back to Google and asked them which files were showing up as affected and they were a very motley collection – everything from fonts to java script, but still they could detect nothing. The problem here is that no-one at Google will tell you anymore than ‘the computer says you are infected!’

One month later Google declared the site to be clean and allowed them to start their Google Ads campaigns again. Nothing had been done to the site to get this verdict, so we are no wiser as to the real cause.

When our client was having this problem, we took advantage of their AdWords downtime. For the last year we have been trying to get them to take some money out of the AdWords campaign and put it towards Facebook advertising; they had responded saying AdWords was too important. As advisors we could only politely disagree. So when Google pulled their account, they were desperate; they needed leads and quickly. Within an afternoon we had set the ball rolling with a series of highly targeted Facebook adverts that we set up to trial for a week at a minimum budget. We hate to say ‘we told you so’ but we did! The response was everything we thought it would be, they couldn’t believe the cost per lead – it was tiny! Their responses rocketed and they sold more training courses than they thought possible in one week!

Once cleared by Google, the company resumed their advertising and their considerable spend on this media began again. This lasted three weeks UNTIL they realised that the Facebook adverts were not only much cheaper, they were also much more effective for their particular marketplace. Next month the company are pulling all the AdWords spend again and just maintaining their Facebook and Instagram adverts. We are carefully monitoring their leads and conversions as AdWords certainly have their place, but it looks like this once ‘AdWords addict’ is now in remission and can review their marketing strategies without fear!

In the meantime, we are continuing to work on their traffic, which compared to last year is up 90% with social leading the way.

The moral of this rather convoluted post is that sometimes it takes an attack on your business to make you take bold decisions that you should have considered before.

The White Knight Blog

The White Knight