It can be disastrous to be struck by the Japanese Keyword Hack! You’d see the random Japanese content is reflected in your search results.
Why is it happening to you here? These hackers prey on your SEO activities, as in a pharma breach, and use your website to sell counterfeit brand products. You will fool your customers into purchasing these goods, which will do irreparable harm to your business.
You should be confident that they will never come to your platform until consumers know the goods are fakes. Since you will be pegged as dishonest, your name may be destroyed. In addition, Google will blacklist your website or have search results alerts such as misleading website ahead, this website may be compromised to protect its customers, and your web host may suspend your account for infringement of its security policies.
We know the extent of fear it causes when your WordPress site is hit with such an attack, when the malware infection is so widespread!
We’ve had way too many victims of the Japanese Keyword Hack at MalCare. But don’t worry, we have you protected here. We’re going to show you the best way to repair it, and then we’re going to direct you on how to protect your site so that hackers are kept out!
What is Japanese keyword hack?
The Japanese keyword hack is a feared infection of malware in which hackers inject your sites with spammy Japanese phrases. Your presence in search results would be manipulated as the website is indexed by Google. So you can start rating your website for Japanese keywords.
In the example below, hackers injected malware into our client’s website on the sitemap tab.
The website posted findings on Google with Japanese keywords.
Within minutes, we eliminated from his website any single sign of malware and helped him get his website up and running in no time.
If you want to check if your website is a target of a Japanese hack from WordPress, visit Google and type:yourwebsitename.com or:yourwebsitename.com japan.
First, on these sites, the hackers also insert affiliate connections to shops that offer counterfeit items. Hackers generate thousands of spam pages with affiliate links in certain infections.
The hacker gets a fee if anyone visits your site, clicks on the affiliate page, and buys the stuff. This is how the hack produces money from them.
How to identify & fix Japanese keyword hack?
It is difficult to spot Japanese keyword hacks because hackers cleverly mask their malicious activities on your website. They use a technique called cloaking that disguises the Japanese characters of spam from the author of the site, but it can be picked up by the search engines.
By having the font colour the same as the background colour or making the font size very small, they can do this. In the header or footer, hackers can hide the keywords as well.
The Japanese keyword hack can be used in two major ways:
- You can do it manually (hard way)
- You can do it using a security plugin (easy way)
How to identify Japanese keyword hack (with plugin)
In only a few minutes, there are WordPress Protection Plugins capable of inspecting files and searching for thousands of malware infections.
One thing to keep in mind here is that only known malware can be found in any of these plugins. This ensures that it would ignore all new code created by hackers. So there are chances that when it’s genuinely compromised, a malware scanner assures you the site is clean.
Tip: Hackers often use the same code which some legit plugins and themes still use. This legit code can be found by security scanners that search for proven WordPress malware signatures. It would then warn you that your website has been compromised, even though it really isn’t.
So, while a protection plugin is preferable over the manual process, you have to pick the right plugin here, too. To detect a spam hack with a Japanese keyword, you need the following in a plugin:
- In less than a few minutes, search each file position and folder on your website.
- Check for hidden and obscured malicious code cloaking
- Detect any malicious code by observing its behaviour and execution, known or recent,
- No misleading proof that the web is safe if it is not clean.
One such plugin that can satisfy the above criteria is MalCare. Here’s how the plugin can be used:
Step 1: Signup and set up an account with MalCare.
Step 2: MalCare will launch your site scanning automatically. It will warn you about it when it detects malware on your web.
The next move is to clean it after discovering malware on your site.
How to Fix Japanese Hack Keywords (with plugin)
It is not easy to repair the Japanese Keyword Hack in WordPress, so it’s only normal to be concerned about how hard it would be to clean it up. But it’s just one swipe for MalCare.
Step 1: You should clean up the malware yourself after the malware has been found by clicking on ‘Auto-clean’:
As we described earlier, in plugins/themes, often the hacker’s code is also used. Your site could break if you uninstall the code used by the plugin/theme.
We consider using MalCare because it analyses the actions and habits of the code. This makes it easier to be 100% positive whether it’s ransomware or not. Both malicious files and scripts can be removed without breaking up the account.
How to identify & fix Japanese keyword hack (manually)
Hackers mask their spam keywords using a technique called cloaking, as we described. Trying to manually locate this sort of hack involves professional knowledge of WordPress’s inner workings. Not to mention, it’s time-consuming and you just can’t promise you’ve found it all.
Nonetheless, we recommend taking a backup of your site and then continuing if you want to try this route. This would mean that if you destroy it when deleting malware, you don’t delete any data or can restore your site.
To manually detect malware, follow the steps below:
Step 1: You need to connect to your website using the File Manager in your web hosting account cPanel to manually detect Japanese keyword attacks (Or using an FTP client like FileZilla).
Step 2: Next, you need to find the public_html folder like so:
Step 3: Second, you can scan for spam keywords by looking for known malware signatures using the search button on the upper right of the page. (There are thousands of them and every day, new ones pop up).
You can also search the site for a recently updated file. By looking at the ‘Last updated’ tab, you will do this to see if hackers have recently made changes to files that you have not touched.
This could take several hours or even days, and since this hack could be in several locations, you need to be thorough. Once the malicious codes are found, you uninstall them. We suggest that you also search your file with .htaccess.
Step 4: After this, the loophole that caused the hacker to access your site must be identified and patched. If that is still there, they will come back and infect your site again.
We don’t recommend cleaning up a WordPress Japanese keyword hack with a manual detection tool. The manual detection technique was simple years ago, as hackers generally put their hack in those files. But they’ve gotten smarter over time, hiding malware in areas you wouldn’t think you’d be looking for. This strategy has therefore proved to be unsuccessful and the hack is most likely to turn up again.
A WordPress Security Scanner is an effective solution which we suggest. And we’ve showed you how you can use it in the previous section to locate and repair Japanese keyword attacks on your blog.
This takes us to the end of cleaning up malware from Japan that provides bogus results from Google. But we really aren’t done. Your website has been compromised because on your homepage there was a loophole that allowed a hacker to get in.
To ensure you’re out of the hack, there are follow-up actions you need to take.
Steps to take after cleaning up a spam hack for Japanese keywords
The hack could return even after cleaning your website. Taking the following precautions to ensure your platform stays protected in the future:
Clean Search Console
Sign in to the Quest Console on Google Webmasters. Check if you’ve recently installed some users. Delete those users from the Search Console if you don’t remember them.
Request Google to crawl your website
When your website appears on the SERP, you need to verify if Google is still displaying Japanese characters.
But first, clean the whole cache at the website & server level. Here’s a guide to help you get your cache clean.
Then type ‘site:yourdomain.com japan’ or ‘site:yourdomain.com’ into Google for this question.
Then submit a crawl request to Google if you can still see the keywords. Although your site is safe, after the cleaning, Google Search listings have not been changed. Google will take a few hours to crawl through your website for up to a few days. But by submitting a message, you can start the crawl.
Replace .htaccess file
To build redirects, the .htaccess file is used and this file is used by hackers to redirect your website users to their own pages. This should have been taken care of by the MalCare addon. But you should overwrite the .htaccess file with a fresh copy using the File Manager as a precaution.
Recommended reading: How can I create a file with .htaccess?
Go to your Search Console backlink profile and mark all the generated spam links. Create a spam connection list and send it to Google in order to disavow the ties.
Remove web host suspension (optional)
If your WordPress hosting company has removed your account, you need to contact them via customer service and tell them that your site is clean now. Your account would be unsuspended.
Remove Google blacklist (optional)
You need to apply your website for review if Google has blacklisted you. Take a clean snapshot of your site and link it to your submission to the site.
How to prevent the Japanese Keyword Attack in the future?
There is no guarantee that your website will not be hacked again, even if you have removed every trace of malware from your website.
By installing a WordPress security plugin like MalCare, you can protect your website from future hacks.
- It will place a firewall to prevent your website from being accessed by hackers and bots.
- It’ll also protect your login page from attacks by brute force.
- On a daily basis, the plugin will scan your website.
- And without breaking your site, it will help you take website hardening measures.
The first step is to instal a plugin. There are many more measures that you can take for security. We have compiled a handy list of complete WordPress safety guides.
Consequences of Japanese keyword hack on your site
You’ll notice a domino effect on your website once hacked. Below, we have listed them:
Customers lose trust
Whether you run a blog, a company, or an eCommerce store, building trust with clients takes a long time. Confidential business information and customer data could be stolen when your site is hacked. Customers could be duped into buying products that are fake.
In such a case, clients will most likely never come back to your site. It could be an insurmountable feat to rebuild that confidence.
SEO efforts are damaged
As hackers use blackhat SEO strategies that Google does not approve of, your search rankings will take a hit. They also create thousands of backlinks that might ruin the profile of your backlink.
Google blacklists site
The first priority of Google is user experience and satisfaction. So, if your website could potentially harm or put users at risk (of having their data stolen or duped into purchasing fake products), it would be in Google’s best interest to take your website off their platform.
Your pages are de-indexed and your website is blacklisted. A warning will be shown to visitors who attempt to access your site:
Webhost suspends site
If they find out that their site is hacked, your web hosting provider will also take your site offline and suspend your account. This is because they usually have strict policies that require you on your site to implement safety measures. Being hacked means that you are breaching that policy.
Apart from this, you could jeopardise the performance and security of other websites if you use a shared server. This is because more server resources will be eaten up by your hacked site.
Loss of revenue
Needless to say, you will lose revenue every minute when your site is hacked and taken offline. This means losing out on sales in eCommerce stores. On ad revenue and affiliate revenue, other websites could lose out.
Plus, by holding your website hostage and demanding a ransom, once hackers have control of your website, they can also demand more money from you. You can check out our WooCommerce Security tips if you have an eCommerce store.
High recovery costs
To clean up hacks, companies have forked over thousands of dollars. Companies lose $400 billion in clean-up costs, revision of security protocols, and payment of legal penalties to hackers each year.
A study showed that 60 percent of companies within 6 months of the hack never recover from hacks and shut shop. It has proved to be costly to recover from such a hack!
These are just some of the high-impact implications that you might face. Now, you can understand why we need to promptly clean this up and also add security layers so that it doesn’t happen again.
We sincerely hope you have found our helpful and easy to follow Japanese keyword hack removal guide. This was a long guide, we know, but before you leave, here’s what we think you should be doing right now:
- Share this article with your friends or colleagues who you believe would benefit from reading this article. Hey, go on. Hit the button for share.
- Install a MalCare WordPress Security Plugin that will ensure that your website remains protected from common hack attacks such as Japanese hack malware, brute force attacks, phishing attacks, insertion of backdoors, etc.
- It comes with an active WordPress firewall plugin that blocks your site from visiting malicious IP addresses and bad bots from your country or device.
- When all of you are set. Put on a powerful coffee pot and plan to grow your company by 2X.