Anyone trying to harm your website or attempting to break into your website is called a "hacker." The process of trying to break into your website is called "hacking." Occasionally you will hear some people use the word "cracker" instead of "hacker," because it means the same thing.
Hacking attempts on a website come in many forms. A bot could attempt to attack your website several hundred times a minute. A virus could attack your website relentlessly. A malicious program could transmit thousands of bits of data without stopping in hopes to overload the website... new hacking techniques are dreampt up every day.
Believe it or not, most of the hackers come from China. A review of any analytics report will clearly show that the majority of traffic is coming from China. There's no easy way to prevent them, and the best thing for you to do is just ignore that part of your analytics report.
However, you can't ignore the actual hacking attempts to your website and there are a few things you need to be aware of.
First, make sure the company maintaining your website is hack proof. Usually the larger companies are hack proof, but if you are using a local company make sure you ask them about their security measures.
Second, make sure your website is programmed in such a way to minimize the effects of hacking. There are various security measures you can have built into your own site, and any website programming company will charge you more money to do it. You'll find out more about security when we introduce PCI Compliance a little later.
Every form you put on a website is susceptible to an automated hacking attempt unless it's specially programmed to resist hacking. Installing a CAPTCHA on a form is one of the basic hack preventions.