Google Search Console (GSC) is a free web service provided by Google that helps website owners and marketers monitor, maintain, and optimize their website’s performance in Google search results. It provides valuable insights into how Google crawls and indexes your website, the keywords and queries that drive traffic to your website, and the pages on your website that are performing well or need improvement.
However, like any other web-based service, GSC is also susceptible to hacking attempts. Hackers may attempt to gain unauthorized access to your GSC account for various reasons, such as stealing sensitive information, manipulating your website’s search engine ranking, or even taking down your website altogether.
In this article, we will discuss some common GSC hacking techniques, how to detect if your GSC account has been hacked, and what steps you can take to fix it.
Common GSC Hacking Techniques
There are several ways that hackers may attempt to compromise your GSC account, some of which include:
Phishing is a common hacking technique where hackers create a fake login page that looks like the legitimate GSC login page and trick you into entering your GSC login credentials. These fake login pages are often sent through email or social media messages, with a message that appears to be from Google asking you to log in to your account to resolve an issue.
Once you enter your login credentials on the fake page, the hackers will have access to your GSC account and can manipulate it as they please.
Hackers may also use malware to gain access to your GSC account. Malware is a type of software that is designed to harm your computer or steal sensitive information. Hackers may use malware to infect your computer or other devices, steal your GSC login credentials, and use them to gain access to your GSC account.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is another common hacking technique where hackers inject malicious code into a website that allows them to steal sensitive information, such as your GSC login credentials, when you visit the infected website. Once the hackers have your login credentials, they can use them to access your GSC account.
Brute Force Attack
A brute force attack is a hacking technique where hackers use automated software to try different combinations of usernames and passwords until they find the correct one. Hackers may use this technique to gain access to your GSC account if they cannot obtain your login credentials through phishing or malware.
Signs Your GSC Account has Been Hacked
Here are some signs that your GSC account may have been hacked:
- Your website’s search engine ranking has suddenly dropped.
- Your website has been removed from Google search results.
- You notice unfamiliar users or changes to your GSC account.
- You receive email notifications of changes to your GSC account that you did not make.
Steps to Fix a Hacked GSC Account
If you suspect that your GSC account has been hacked, here are the steps you can take to fix it:
Step 1: Change Your Password
The first step to fix a hacked GSC account is to change your GSC login password immediately. Choose a strong and unique password that is not easy to guess, and avoid using the same password for other accounts.
To change your GSC login password, log in to your GSC account and navigate to the “Settings” tab. Click on “Change Password,” enter your new password, and save the changes.
Step 2: Check Your Website for Malware
After changing your GSC login password, the next step is to check your website for malware. You can use a malware scanner tool to scan your website for malware and viruses. If your website is infected, remove the malware as soon as possible and ensure that your website’s security software is up-to-date to prevent further attacks.
Step 3: Check Your GSC Account for Unfamiliar Users or Changes
Check your GSC account for any unfamiliar users or changes that you did not make. Look for any new users that have been added to your account, any changes to your website or account settings, and any new properties that have been added.
If you find any unfamiliar users or changes, remove them immediately and update your account settings to prevent any future unauthorized access.
Step 4: Report the Hack to Google
Finally, report the hack to Google immediately. You can use the “Report a security issue” link on the Google Security page to report the hack. Google will investigate the issue and take appropriate action to secure your account and prevent future attacks.
In conclusion, GSC is an essential tool for website owners and marketers to monitor and optimize their website’s performance in Google search results. However, it is important to take steps to secure your GSC account from potential hacking attempts. By following these steps and being vigilant, you can keep your GSC account secure and prevent any unauthorized access.
Step 5: Scan Your Computer for Malware
Malware on your computer can compromise your GSC account and other sensitive information. Run a full system scan with reliable anti-malware software to detect and remove any malicious software on your computer.
Step 6: Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Enabling two-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security to your GSC account. With 2FA, you will need to provide a second authentication factor, such as a code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your login credentials.
To enable 2FA in your GSC account, go to the “Settings” tab and select “Verification.” Choose your preferred method for receiving the verification code, such as through text message or an authentication app, and follow the prompts to complete the setup.
Step 7: Check Your Website for Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Vulnerabilities:
If your GSC account has been hacked through an XSS attack, you will need to check your website for vulnerabilities that may have allowed the attack to occur. Use a vulnerability scanner or hire a security professional to identify and fix any XSS vulnerabilities on your website.
Contact Google Support
If you suspect that your GSC account has been compromised, you can contact Google support for assistance. They can help you recover your account and provide guidance on how to secure your account and website.
Review Your GSC Account Activity
Regularly monitoring your GSC account activity can help you detect any unauthorized access or suspicious activity. Review your GSC account activity logs and look for any unfamiliar or suspicious activity, such as logins from unfamiliar locations or changes to your website’s properties.
Step 8: Educate Yourself and Your Team
Finally, it’s important to educate yourself and your team about GSC security best practices and how to avoid common hacking techniques, such as phishing and malware. Regularly updating your knowledge and training your team on how to identify and prevent security threats can help you keep your GSC account and website secure.