Website Defacement Definition
Website defacement is an attack on a website that changes the appearance of a website or web page. Typically, this is the job of defacers who hack into the web server and replace the hosted website with their own. Defacement is commonly seen as a kind of electronic graffiti and, like other forms of vandalism, is used to spread messages by politically motivated “cyber protesters” or hacktivists.
Defacing a website may include adding questionable content, removing or altering content to make it look questionable, or including meaningless or bizarre links to websites or public repositories in order to damage its reputation. Techniques such as web shelling can be used to help corrupt a website.
Website Defacement Common Targets
Religious and government websites are regularly hacked to showcase political or religious beliefs while misrepresenting the views and beliefs of others. The process may display disturbing images and offensive phrases, as well as a caption of sorts to show who is responsible for the damage.
Websites are distorted not only for political reasons; many defacers do it just for the thrill. For example, there are online contests that award points for hackers to deface the most websites in a certain amount of time.
Corporations are also more likely than other websites on the World Wide Web to be the targets of attacks, and they often seek to take steps to protect themselves from being corrupted or hacked in general. Websites represent the image of a company or organization and therefore they suffer significant losses due to corruption.
Visitors may lose faith in sites that cannot guarantee security and become wary of online transactions. Once corrupted, sites have to be shut down for repairs and security checks, sometimes for long periods of time, resulting in costs and lost profits and value.