Is your web page behaving strangely? Do you see spam material on your web or malicious advertisements? Or have you lost access to your WordPress account, perhaps? Or did Google block the site’s visitors?
We wish we could guarantee that there is little to think about, but the fact is that your website is likely to be compromised.
In addition, for browsers like Google and hosting companies to remember, it is likely that the website has been compromised long enough.
Hackers can inflict substantial harm while the site is under attack. Malware such as favicon.ico virus is installed and malicious actions are carried out, such as showing spam advertising and redirecting the users to unknown locations. This slows the website down, and worse, it lets your host suspend you and Google blacklist you.
But don’t be scared. Your site may be fixed. If you are panicking, the first thing to do is to cool down. We’ll first show you the most successful ways to identify whether your website is compromised in this post. We’ll also direct you back to life by cleaning up the hack and restoring your site.
TL;DR: Strange stuff is never a positive sign on your website. To find out whether you have been hacked, check your website for free with MalCare.
How To Check If My Site Is Hacked?
We can confidently conclude that you’ve already already found something wrong with your website while you’re reading this.
Any classic signs of a compromised site could be clear to you:
- Popups on websites that you or your team didn’t make.
- This redirects the website to an obscure location.
- Spam links or spam advertisements that advertise adult content, marijuana, gambling, or other illicit activity on your website.
- Your blog is ranked in Google search results for spam keywords such as Japanese characters.
- A Google alert such as ‘Site ahead includes malware, misleading site ahead, this site could be compromised, is blocking your guests.
- You’ve got an email from your web host saying that there is malware on your website.
Such signs are suggestive of a hack, but a false alert is a tiny risk. The easiest thing to do is to confirm, and then deal with, an illness.
Using a malware detector is the simplest and most powerful way to do this.
A successful scanner would immediately pick up malicious behaviours.
Running a manual search is the most complicated and dangerous way to check if the WordPress account is compromised. It’s dangerous and the WordPress files and directories will fiddle with you. And it’s hard because, in ingenious ways, malicious entities such as hackers are able to conceal code. They are experts at this, but you pit yourself against the wits of highly motivated and seasoned developers.
There are a couple other strategies besides these two, which we will discuss in depth to answer your query.
We’ll show you 5 methods in the next segment to verify whether your site is compromised-
- Scan Your Website with a Malware Scanner
- Check Your Google Search Console For “Security Issues”
- Look Into Google’s Safe Browsing Tool
- Check for warnings from Hosting Providers, Search Engines and Browsers
- Manually Investigate Critical Files (Not Reliable)
Scan Your Website With a Malware Scanner
One of the best ways to find out is to scan it if the website is compromised.
Although multiple WordPress scanners are available to select from, not every scanner will detect a hack.
The most powerful malware detector out there is MalCare. Here’s the explanation-
- By moving beyond signature matching and examining codes’ actions, MalCare discovers new kinds of malware.
- It detects secret malware by searching the website’s every nook and corner.
MalCare should not slow down the website when running a search, unlike most scanners. This is very important to remember, since your main performance metrics are influenced by other scanners and your ranking is further weakened.
- As we discussed earlier, instead of only focusing on signature and pattern matching to find out whether a code is malicious or not, MalCare tests code actions. This means that the coding is not blindly concluded to be malicious and aims to eliminate false alarms.
You need to take the following steps to search a website with MalCare:
1. On your website, instal the MalCare protection plugin.
2. Next, pick MalCare from the dashboard of your website.
3. Enter your email ID on the MalCare page and run a malware search for free.
Check Your Google Search Console For “Security Issues”
Google’s Search Console lets you monitor the traffic and output of your website. It even warns you if the website detects any security vulnerabilities. This means it’s quite possible that the Search Console has detected it if your website has malware.
- Log in to your account on the Google Search Console.
- Pick Security Issues from the left-hand-side menu.
- If the server is compromised, you can see a message stating that the site has found unauthorised malware.
NOTE: To enable it to detect security problems, you need to set up your Google Search Console. You should rely on other approaches to detect if your website is compromised if your Search Console is not set up. Nonetheless, if you haven’t already, we strongly suggest you set up a Search Console right away.
If you think your website is really hacked after having applied the methods mentioned above, then you have to clean it immediately. We’ll show you how to clean and fix your hacked website in the next section.
Check Your Site With Google’s Safe Browsing Tool
In Google’s Safe Browsing tool, insert your WordPress website and it will show you the issues that your website is facing.
The tools are reliable, as they come from Google’s house. It will check your website for malware and inform you about it when it is found, so that you can continue to clean your website.
Check for hosting provider warnings, search engines and browsers
It is likely you will receive warning emails or notifications from your hosting provider when your website is hacked.
In order to alert visitors that your site is hacked, search engines and internet browsers such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing will also display warning messages on your site and in search results.
i. Hosting provider
The suppliers of web hosting cater to thousands of websites.
They check all the websites they host periodically in pursuit of potential malicious activity to ensure the integrity of their network. In very serious ways, a single compromised website may have a negative effect on their business, and so they are extra careful.
So they immediately suspend the hosting account when they detect a hacked website on their platform and issue a notification to the owner of the site to fix the website. Check your inbox or check the alerts on the dashboard of your hosting account to see if your hosting company has found a breach.
ii. Search Engines
Search engines also scan websites on a regular basis, similar to web hosts, to check for malware on sites. They blacklist it when they detect a hacked site, and prevent their users from accessing the site.
They do this because their users are put at risk by hacked websites. Hackers are known to trick or even force users into downloading or sharing their financial information with malicious software.
Google users who are trying to access your website will see the following message when your website is blacklisted and they will be prevented from accessing your site.
To find out if your site is blacklisted, you need to take the following steps –
> Open your browser in incognito mode and open https://www.google.com/.
> Then place the following sentence on Google search and hit enter –
(Please remember to replace the text with the actual URL of your website.)
> Click on any of the links that surface during a Google search to enter your website.
(When you do this, please ensure that you are logging out of your website.)
Google will prohibit you from accessing your website if your site is blacklisted. It will show you one of the messages below and advise you to return to safety.
- The website in front holds malware
- Attacks by Phishing Ahead
- Disappointing page above, etc.
A domain blacklisted is a sure-shot indication of a compromised account.
iii. Internet browsers
Internet browsers are still involved in defending their customers, much as web hosts and search engines.
They attempt to block visitors from accessing the site if they find a compromised page. By showing alerts in search results, they do this.
In Google Chrome, for instance, you’ll see alerts like ‘This website could be compromised.’
Or ‘This site may harm your computer.’
Do a web check like this to find out if the site has been attacked by browser vigilantes.
> Open Chrome via Google
> Put it in the site search bar:https://yourwebsiteurl.com (Remember to replace the site name)
If you see a message under the URL of your website, you should make sure that your website has been compromised.
Manually Investigate Critical Files (Not Reliable)
When your website is attacked by hackers, they start making improvements to your site. For the most part, they tend to do so in such a manner that they are not caught so that they can continue to access the tools on your platform for a long time.
In areas where you are unable to search, they cover ransomware, places like sensitive WordPress files with which people typically don’t want to fiddle.
There is a fair risk that a hacker has hidden malware in those files if the site is compromised. They will guide you to figure out if your site is actually compromised by researching them.
But tread with caution, please. It is a dangerous business to manage sensitive WordPress files. Your website can be destroyed by a single error. If you are not a developer, we highly recommend you skip this process. If you’re not informed about the inner workings of WordPress, we highly recommend you skip this process. If you insist on going with the manual process, however, then look at the following files:
> Folder of Plugins & Themes
> File .htaccess
> file wp-config
> And other PHP files that exist on your website
Open these files and search for keywords as they are considered to be part of malware, such as ‘eval’ or ‘base64′ decrypt.’
IMPORTANT: For a manual quest, crucial DRAWBACKS remain. Often the keywords that we mentioned above may be part of a valid code. In addition, hackers are increasingly seeking ways to mask the code, making it impossible to locate it. It does not actually mean that your website is clean if you do not find malware codes in those archives.
How to Fix A Hacked Website
Now that you’ve noticed your site is compromised, you need to clean it up right away. The more your site sits compromised, the greater the harm it will suffer.
There are numerous ways to clean the website, but using a protection plugin, we’ve just covered the most powerful way.
This will mean that the website is absolutely clean and safe, something that can not be assured by any other form.
i. Clean Your Hacked Website
There are plenty of plugins providing services to uninstall ransomware, but most have a long processing period.
For most plugins, the malware removal process goes like this: you need to sign up, then lift a ticket with them and wait for an answer. Then you’ll be reached by security officials and you’ll need to allow him or her access to your website to investigate the breach. After that, they will have to clean the site, which will take anything from a few hours to a few days.
Time is important when the website is malware-infected. For problems to escalate into bigger issues, it won’t take long. Hence, the safest way to disinfect the website might not be to wait for security staff.
We consider using Immediate Malware Removal by MalCare. It will clear up the website in 5 minutes.
Here’s how MalCare will disinfect your website-
1. If you’ve scanned your MalCare website (as we recommended at the beginning of the article), the plugin will warn you if your website finds malware.
Note: When you instal the plugin to clean your site, if you have not scanned your site with MalCare, it will immediately run a search first to find hacked data.
2. To clean malware, click on the Auto-Clean button.
Note: Malware Elimination is a dynamic mechanism which, like all security plugins, is a premium product. In order to use malware removal programmes, you would need to update if this is the first time using MalCare.
3. After upgrading, MalCare will start cleaning your website immediately.
Cleaning a hacked website has never been easier.
ii. Detect & Remove The Vulnerability That Caused The Hack
Your website cleaning is half the fight. Next, you must find and uninstall the bugs that have made it possible for hackers to hack and infect your website.
There are two common types of flaws that cause a hack. Vulnerable plugins and themes and insecure credentials are vulnerable. To delete these bugs, here’s what you need to do-
-> Update or Remove Vulnerable Plugins & Themes
Outdated plugins and themes can be vulnerable to hacking into the website and can be abused. We therefore recommend that you upgrade all obsolete applications that includes your WordPress heart, not just plugins and themes.
We firmly recommend that you deactivate and uninstall them from your website if you’re using pirated themes and plugins. Pirated software is typically corrupted with malware that helps hackers to enter the site while installed on a WordPress website.
-> Use Strong Username & Password
Brute-force attacks are one of the most common tactics hackers use to break into a website. They use bots in this kind of attack to try to guess the correct combination of usernames and passwords to obtain access to your site.
It’s easy to compromise on websites with easy-to-guess usernames (like admin, John, user, etc) and passwords (like password123, admin1234, user1234).
What you need to do is take a look at all of your website’s user credentials. Make sure that all your user credentials are powerful enough to withstand an attack by brute force.
Follow this guide, How to Change WordPress Username, if you need to change usernames? And if you want to change your passwords, a guide on how to generate strong passwords will help you.
iii. Remove Google Blacklist & Host Suspension (Optional)
If your website is blacklisted, you must tell Google that you have cleaned up your website so that the blacklist can be removed. You’ll need to submit a review of your website and our guide on how to remove Google’s blacklist to help you do just that.
And you will need to call your hosting company if your website is suspended and tell them that you have cleaned up your website. They will ensure if the platform is clean and the suspension will be lifted. How to patch a website suspended by the hosting provider? Here’s a guide that will show you the exact steps you need to take.
There’s only one really important thing left to do after you have taken all the above measures to repair your website. You need to make sure that they never hack your website again. In the next part, we will clarify in depth the most important steps you need to take to protect your website from potential hacking attempts.
Protect Your Website From Being Hacked
We strongly recommend that you implement the steps below to protect your WordPress website from future hack attempts:
i. Install a WordPress Security Plugin
ii. Update Your Website Regularly
iii. Themes & Plugins Download from Only Trusted Marketplaces
iv. Harden Your Website
Let’s just dig in.
i. Install a WordPress Security Plugin
There are 3 core tasks for a WordPress security plugin to perform: scanning, cleaning, and protecting a website. It will scan your website every day if you instal a security plugin on your website, clean it if your website is hacked, and take measures to protect your website from future hack attempts.
You can choose a plugin for site security from our list of the best plugins for WordPress security.
ii. Update Your Website Regularly
We mentioned earlier in the article that a website can be compromised by vulnerable plugins and themes.
Each theme or plugin develops WordPress vulnerabilities over time. Developers will quickly release a patch through an update in order to fix the vulnerability. This is why it’s so important to update your website.
Updating delays may prove to be catastrophic for your website, so you need to implement updates on a daily basis. But if too many websites are maintained, then we suggest updating every week.
iii. Download Themes & Plugins From Only Trusted Marketplaces
Using pirated themes and plugins is tempting. A pirated plugin or theme may not have to be paid for, but it comes at a cost.
Malware is contained in most pirated plugins or themes. So, the malware will also be activated when you instal and activate pirated software on your website.
The malware acts like a backdoor that gives your website access to hackers. In addition, pirated software does not receive developers’ updates. When software vulnerabilities develop, there’s no way to patch the software without an update. Your website is left vulnerable by pirated software.
On your website, it’s best to avoid using pirated WordPress themes and plugins. Use only WordPress repository plugins and themes or trusted marketplaces like ThemeForest, CodeCanyon, Evanto, etc.
iv. Harden Your Website
WordPress recommends taking certain measures to make your website more secure. You need to have WordPress technical knowledge in order to implement these measures.
But luckily, there are plugins that will help you implement site hardening measures, even if you aren’t tech-savvy. Learn how to harden your website by following this WordPress Hardening Guide.
We have come to the end of our article with that. We are confident that your website will be safe from hacking attempts if you take these steps.
It is a nightmare to deal with a hack. It is time consuming, often costly, and challenging to clean and fix a hacked website.
To ensure it’s protected against hack attempts, it’s important to take preventive website security measures on your site.
Having a security plugin like MalCare installed on your website is one of the best ways to do that. It scans your website daily and alerts you to suspicious activities on your WordPress website when it detects them. It helps to implement hardening measures for websites and even cleans under 5 minutes of hacked websites.