Fix Hacked Site

How to check a WordPress website for malware and secure it?

When we decompose WordPress, we get three main parts: WP Core, WordPress Plugins, and WordPress Themes. If these elements are not handled well, they leave the door open for hackers to get in. Web developers in their first year, content writers who want to blog about their favorite topics, and people with no technical knowledge make this mistake unknowingly and leave WordPress websites vulnerable to hacking. They don’t know what to do when things go wrong.

Some things people need to correct are installing unreliable plugins from unreliable sources, updating plugins without testing them, and installing WordPress themes vulnerable to attacks. Even if they pay for a theme or website development, they need to pay more attention to the maintenance and assistance of the website, which usually leads to the website becoming a hacker’s paradise.

WordPress websites that get infected with malware are a nightmare for website owners. When this occurs, you should be prepared for laborious cleansing to get points back in order. The most vital point is to relax because WordPress site cleaning can be complicated and time-consuming, but not impossible.

Most common WordPress malware infections

Among the most common WordPress malware types, there are mainly four types of infections you should be on the lookout for:

Backdoor: Backdoors allow hackers to access your website by exploiting outdated software, vulnerabilities in a code, and default passwords. Sometimes you can recognize this malware because a file name has been changed, for example, lok.php.

Drive-by downloads: This type of malware inserts downloads links into your website to trick your users into downloading a payload to their local computer. This payload then displays a warning that the computer has been infected and includes a link to install an antivirus program (which is another payload).

Pharma hacks: Pharma Infection adds SPAM links to your website, leading to online pharmaceutical stores. Pharma links are considered the most popular type of website infection and can even use conditional rules to control what the user sees, which makes them much harder to find.

Malicious redirects: This malware redirects users who visit your website address to a malicious website. This malicious website may also contain a payload automatically downloaded to the user’s computer.

Signs that your WordPress internet site has been hacked

The tricky thing about malware is that it is only sometimes apparent that your website has been infected. Some malware infections prefer a low profile, so your website may not show any visible symptoms.

For this reason, we list the most effective methods to determine whether your website is infected with malware – from the most likely to the more subtle ones.

Google has flagged your website

If you see this red death screen when visiting your website, it means that Google has either detected malware on the website or has good reasons to believe so:

This message is displayed if Google Safe Browsing denylists your website. This feature is used by popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla, and Safari to warn their users about potential danger.

Google Search Console sends you warnings that your website has been hacked

Google may also send you alerts and emails informing you that your website has been infected, provided you have connected it to Google Search Console. These messages also contain information about suspicious URLs and possible attack vectors.

Your hosting provider shuts down your website

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Hosting providers often scan their servers for signs of malware and may block hacked websites to prevent a virus from spreading. There are several reasons why your hosting provider may disable your website. These include malicious code found on your server, Google denies listing your domain, spam and phishing emails sent from your server, etc.

Your customers alert you about malware

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Often, it’s not the website owners but the users who first learn about malware issues. In this case, they may contact you via a contact form or by phone to let you know that something is wrong. For instance, if you run a WooCommerce shop, your users might complain that their credit cards have been hacked.

You see spam search results for your website

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Try Googling your brand name and see if you notice anything strange in the results. The warning signs can range from meta descriptions with pharmaceutical or unrelated keywords, to Google indexing pages that shouldn’t exist, to strange characters in the search results.

Your website takes much longer to load

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Poor website performance can also be a sign that your website is infected. If your pages suddenly take much longer to load, malware might consume your server’s resources.

You have noticed that your website’s files have been modified

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It is critical that you extensively scrutinize your website’s files if you have access to them. to see if there have been any adjustments. If a file has been changed recently but not by you, examine it closely for malicious code. Also, look for files with suspicious names, such as .aspx.

Right here are detailed guidelines on exactly how to remove malware from your WordPress site

Create a backup and scan your WordPress website for malware

Create a backup copy of your website’s files. Back up the content files, images, and other assets. Prepare your website for a detailed audit or scan. We first need to determine which files caused the infection, i.e., the source of the infection. If the source is located in your computer files, the infection may reoccur even if you restore the website.

Moreover, in this case, other parts of your system might also be infected. So, scan your computer thoroughly first. Also, download all the files from the website using an FTP program so they are scanned along with the computer files.

All potential threats stored on your computer or website files will be detected at this stage.

If you still cannot detect any potential threats that might have caused the infection, run an online scan of the WordPress website for malware. Once this scan is completed, you can view the report to see if anything suspicious happened.

Google Webmaster tool will also help you to check your website and flag the problematic areas.

Check the WordPress theme for malicious code

We are discussing WordPress, so how can we disregard plugins and themes? You will likely get infected through an outdated plugin or theme because that is the backdoor through which the hackers enter or send malicious code to do their dirty work.

Abandoned plugins or old theme files are easy prey for hackers. You need to manually scan WordPress plugins and themes for malware to determine the location of the infection. Perform a thorough scan of your theme and plugin files. Themes are files with a .php extension.

  • Theme Authenticity Checker
  • Quttera web malware scanner
  • Exploit scanner
  • Anti-malware scanner
  • WP Antivirus Website Protection
  • Google Safe’s Browsing

Delete and replace files to remove malware from the website

WP Core is the main file, also known as the heartbeat of a WordPress website. Delete the main file, but keep wp-content and wp-config; you will need them later.

Replace salts in the WPconfig file: Salts are used to kekeepordPress users’ passwords secure. Changing your salts will keep attackers at bay. Replace the salts in the WP config file even if a malicious attack already infects it.

Replace database connection files: Hackers gain access to the configuration file that contains database connection details, such as database name, database username, password, and database prefix. All of these must be replaced. And the username must not be a standard dictionary keyword such as admin, password, or a keyword corresponding to the brand name.

Passwords for the database: Change login credentials for the database and backend for all users.

Wp-config URL: Hardcode wp-config URL and keep it unique so that the bots do not see the URL’s typical pattern, terms, or structure.

Debugging mode: Debugging mode shows the errors on the front end and saves these errors in a log file. If we restore the plugins and files at the end, we can fix these errors and make the website more secure.

Download a new copy of the WordPress core files and unzip them into a folder.

Theme recovery: If the site has a premium theme, you can access all the files you need to reapply the theme. If you are utilizing a free theme, you will need to replace the parent theme, and when that is done, you can change the child theme files one at a time: footer.php, functions.php, etc., header.php, and JavaScript.

Any file you upload new to the site should be scanned: When you re-upload, paste the files into the new directories and rename them accordingly so that no file is overwritten. That will ensure that no malicious content or code comes back while you clean up the site.

Once the site is working, will activate themes and plugins. If you desire to play it safe this time, choose a paid theme from a reliable source, and the same goes for the plugins. Choose a trusted source for the plugins. Test all plugins before using them on your website.

How to make your WordPress website secure

Disable XML RPC attacks: XML RPC connects the WordPress website to external environments such as WordPress updates and applications and mobile applications for REST API. If the website does not communicate with the external environment, we can disable XML RPC. If we keep the communication open, we might get a DDOS attack that affects your database and pingbacks and slows down your website. Hackers could also try to log in through an XML RPC connection.

How to secure your WordPress internet site from malware

While the WordPress core is perfectly safe, thanks to its developers’ excellent care, the third-party plugins and themes make this CMS a popular target of online attacks. The reason is that their code may contain security vulnerabilities that make your website vulnerable to online attacks.

And since around 43% of the Internet is based on WordPress, thousands of websites become a playground for malicious actions as soon as hackers discover a vulnerability. However, many WordPress security breaches are due to other important factors. Here are some essential security tips that will help you keep your WordPress website secure:

  • Minimize human error: Human error is a significant cause of security breaches in all scenarios where credentials play a role. It’s usually weak passwords (think brute force attacks), sharing sensitive information online, or simply phishing links or websites. Once your credentials are compromised, it’s only a matter of time before your website is infected with malware.
  • Keep your WordPress up to date: Every WordPress update includes notices about what security issues have been fixed. Hackers read these notices and then look for and target websites that still need to be updated. In short, if you are using an older version of WordPress, it means that it has known security vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid using outdated plugins and themes: Keeping your plugins and themes up-to-date is one of the basic requirements for your website’s security. According to ScanWP, 52% of WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plugins.
  • Say no to nullified plugins: A nulled plugin is a hacked premium plugin that works without a license and offers many premium features. Nulled plugins usually have significant security issues and may even contain malware.
  • Choose a reliable hosting provider: Unfortunately, not all hosting providers offer the required level of security to ensure that your website is protected on the server side. For this factor, we strongly recommend that you choose hosting providers that are specifically designed for WordPress.
  • Keep a security plugin enabled: Using a security plugin (even a free one) will permit you to monitor your security status by running regular scans, enabling a firewall for better protection, and implementing additional measures like two-factor authentication.

The importance of malware detection and removal

Malware is software created to hurt a computer system. It can be offered as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, or spyware. Despite strict security measures, WordPress websites are vulnerable to malware attacks.

There are many different ways malware can get onto your WordPress website. The most common method is malicious plugins or themes. Other ways include vulnerabilities in the core WordPress software or other software on your server.

Once the malware infects a WordPress website, the person behind the attack can do much damage – delete files, insert spam web links right into your material, and take delicate information like passwords and charge card numbers. Not just can this strike cause unnecessary downtime, but it can additionally harm your credibility and also trigger you to shed company.

Final thoughts

This guide will assist you in identifying all the types of malware you may encounter and successfully removing them from your WordPress website to ensure they are back on track.

Since WordPress is a popular platform with entrepreneurs and hackers – we predict that 50% of all websites will be powered by WordPress by 2025 – we strongly recommend putting your website’s security at the top of your priorities. Even basic security measures can protect you from most online attacks, keeping your business safe and your customers happy.

Frequently asked questions

Q: What is WordPress?

A: WordPress is a free, open-source web content management system (CMS) that enables customers to develop websites and blogs. It is among the most preferred CMSs on the Internet, with over 43% of all sites based on it.

Q: How can I keep my WordPress website secure?

A: You can take several measures to ensure your WordPress website’s security. These include using strong passwords, updating WordPress and all plugins/themes, avoiding nulled plugins, choosing a reliable hosting provider, and using a security plugin.

Instructions are essential, as they provide a clear set of steps to secure your site. That means you should always read the instructions the hosting provider and WordPress provided and ensure you understand them before starting.

Perform backups. Backups are vital for the security of your website. Maintaining a backup of all your data and also information sources is essential. You stay free from the hazard of dropping them in the case of a hack or data corruption. Regular backups of your website will help ensure that your website is constantly protected in case something unexpected happens.

Q: What are the signs of WordPress malware infection?

A: There are several signs that your WordPress website has been infected with malware. First, you may notice that your website loads slowly or displays error messages.

Secondly, you may notice new users or files that you still need to add appear on your website. Lastly, you may notice that your website is on the Google block list or blocked by visitors’ antivirus software.

If you discover these signs, you must immediately clean up your WordPress website. Ignoring a malware infection can have serious consequences, including data loss and website downtime.

Q: How does malware generally infect a WordPress website?

A: There are several ways malware can infect a WordPress website. For one, it can be introduced via a WordPress plugin or theme susceptibility.

It can additionally be posted by a hacker who gains access to your website via an insecure password or other methods.

For even more protection, check out Fix Hacked Site. This website security checker scans your site for malware, removing it automatically and protecting your site from attack.

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