Website security is not just about credit card numbers. Hackers can exploit the same security vulnerabilities to inject adware and malware into your website. Google’s creation of PageRank, and the resultant creation of link equity, has created a black market for unethical search marketers who inject spam links using similar methods. In fact, this exact thing happened to Al Gore’s blog in 2007 where suddenly Al Gore shifted gears from global warming to Viagra and Tramadol.
This kind of exploitation can be even more damaging long-term than data-theft, as it can result in permanent degradations in site rankings or — worse — a total delisting from all of the major search engines. At that point, one is tasked with filing re-inclusion requests, while further damage may occur as various anti-virus and anti-phishing softwares prevent access to the website with stern warnings about dangerous content.
Every search marketing firm or proprietor maintaining a website or a blog must by now be acutely aware of security vulnerabilities. It is a liability for the marketing firm, the vendor, and of course is in the interest of nobody — except the hacker.