How To Check Your Website For Malware?
Malware remains a constant weapon in a cybercriminal’s armory as cybercrime grows and evolves. Malware is created with the aim of causing harm to a website or computer, short for malicious software. Website malware can be used to steal customer data that is sensitive, hold ransom websites, or even take control of the website itself. In many cases, until it’s too late, victims of malware may not realize they’ve been attacked.
Over one million new malware threats are released daily, so it is essential for all website owners to know what you can do to check for and remove malware. It is critical to take matters into your own hands and become proactive about website security to protect your website. There are two main ways of doing this; the first is by manually learning to check for signs of malware. The second, and most efficient, way to protect against malware is to use a website scanner that detects and automatically removes malicious content. To check your site for malware, follow these steps, starting by recognizing the common malware symptoms.
Look For Common Signs of Malware
To you or your visitors, the signs of malware may not be immediately apparent. For example, many website owners might assume that the only way to know that their website has malware is to deface the website, an attack that changes the visual appearance of a website. Defaults, however, accounted for only 15% of malware incidents in Q3 2017. In reality, its elusiveness and capacity to hide from the owner of the website are what makes malware so effective.
You may still have malware if your website has not been defaced if:
- Your account login details have been modified without your consent.
- Your website files without your knowledge have been modified or deleted
- Freezes or crashes your website
- You have experienced a significant change in the results of your search engine, such as blacklisting or damaging content warnings.
- You’ve experienced a rapid drop in traffic or an increase
- You can follow these next steps to confirm your suspicions should any of these common signs appear.
Use a URL Scanner
If you suspect there is malware on your website, a good tool to help identify it is a URL scanner. Several websites, such as VirusTotal, which uses over 60 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blacklisting services to see if your URL has been flagged for malware, will scan any URL for free. You can start by looking at your website’s code if your site is flagged for malware and you want to find the source of the infection.
Monitor for Changes
A good practice for all website owners is to maintain your website’s frequent backups. By using a tool that automatically creates backups, you can do this easily. This provides several benefits, including having a clean copy in the event of a cyber attack to restore your site. In addition, understanding what your website’s clean, normal code looks like can also help you spot potential signs of malware.
But what if the worst happens and there is no clean backup available for you? If you are familiar enough with the code of your website or content management system (CMS) to review it for suspicious content, you can check for signs of malware in your database, files, and source code. If code is not your second language, don’t worry. For more information on automated malware scanning, check out the next section.
Here’s how you can check for malware in your database, source code, and files if you are comfortable digging into your website.
How to check for database malware?
You will need to access a database administration tool offered by your web host, such as phpMyAdmin, to check for malware in your databases. Check for signs of malware using this list of the common syntax used by cybercriminals once you have access to the tool.
How to check for malware in your source code?
If you are looking for malware in your source code, there are two types of attributes you’ll want to check: script attributes and iframe attributes. Look for any lines starting with “<script src=>” and check for the following unfamiliar URLs or file names. Look for unusual URLs included in <iframe src=’URL’> in the same way. It’s a probable sign of cybercriminal activity if anything looks out of place, or the URL doesn’t look familiar.
How to check for malware in your files?
In your website’s files, with varying degrees of difficulty and effectiveness, there are a few ways to manually check for malware. We recommend searching for malicious content in your website files using FTP or your host-provided file manager for most website owners. Follow these detailed instructions to search for malware in the files of your website for the best results and look for common types of injections often found on WordPress and other websites driven by CMS.
You will need to do so regularly to properly monitor for malware once you have learned how to examine your database, source code, and files for changes.
There’s good news if this sounds overwhelming for someone new to code: the easiest way to check for malware on your website is also the most reliable.
Automatic Website Scanning and Malware Removal
Cybercriminals are more active than ever, increasing their attempted attacks by 16 percent, recent data shows. You’ll need protection that can keep up with such a high level of criminal activity, such as a website scanner that can search your website for known malware and automatically remove it.
In addition to saving you time, daily, automatic website scanning allows you to get ahead of any infections, which may decrease the negative impact of malware on your site and its visitors. Typically, malware scanners are designed to scan for known and common types of malware automatically, including backdoor files, shell scripts, and spam. The website owner will be alerted immediately if the website scanner identifies malware, and some solutions even provide automatic malware removal.
It’s important to note that malware preventive measures are only as good as their ability to keep up with new types and trends of malware. A comprehensive database that logs the most recent and persistent malware threats, offering the most up-to-date protection possible, should support a thorough malware scanner.
As cybercrime and malware continue to evolve, your best defense is to be proactive about the safety of your website. Your website is one step closer to being secure, whether you use hands-on methods to check for malware yourself or deploy an automatic website scanner by learning the various ways to look for malware. If you want an automatic website scanner to be installed.