How to Scan your WordPress Site for Malware?

How To Scan Your WordPress Site For Malware 1

The internet world continuously faces threats from hackers. Once these hackers are able to hack into your WordPress site, the damage that they can do is huge.

The word ‘hack’ is used when the hacker has managed to insert some malicious code into your site’s server.

You may think that once this happens, recognizing it would be easy. But, the truth is that it is not easy. If your website gets hacked, it could lead to huge losses. This can be avoided by having timely scanning done every now and then.

Many times, one fails to notice the malware codes. Here, in this article, we will explain how you could examine your WordPress site to check if there are any malicious codes present.

Different Ways Malicious Codes Succeed in Entering your Website

Let’s first understand how hackers manage to install the malicious code. After that, we could learn about the process for scanning. Different methods are used by hackers to enter your WordPress site.

They do this because it allows them to use your WordPress site whenever and how ever they wish without seeking your approval.

Installing of few malicious codes by them could destroy your business in the long run. These act like poison. Apart from these codes, there are many other ways through which malware is installed by the hacker.

They could enter your WordPress site by making you download a file or click a random link.

You can save your WordPress site and business from such attacks by getting your website scanned regularly.

When Should you Get your Website Scanned?

Now is the right time. Why delay? Most of the time, this process is ignored by WordPress users. They choose to scan only when something weird happens. It is important for users to know the procedure for scanning their WordPress websites.

How to Completely Scan your WordPress Website & Which Security Plugins Could be Used by you?

1. Sucuri

This provides marvellous services when it comes to WordPress security. Usually, all their services are paid ones. But it does offer a little amount of scanning features. In order to be able to instantly use Sucuri, you will need to get the free and available WordPress Plugin installed.

Go to the SiteCheck website to enter the URL of your WordPress site. After doing that, click the option that reads ‘scan website’. By clicking this option, you can get to check if your WordPress site has got infected or not. If your site gets infected, do make sure to review the warning messages.

This free plugin lets you take a look at your WordPress files and see if any changes have happened. Also, it lets you find links, iframes, malicious codes and so on.

If multiple WordPress sites owned by you are linked to a common server, it would be best to get them all scanned.

A common reason for these infections to occur is the contamination of cross-sites. Hence, it is important to resolve this. Isolating your hosting from your online accounts is advisable.

The above procedure applies to the limited and free offer only. However, if you want to get accurate information related to the protection of your website, you should go for the paid plans.

Their WP firewall protection is of high quality. It can block all suspicious malware or activity so that they do not enter your website. Use of DNS site protection is advisable. It is far better than all other sources.

Also, it provides static content to the website that helps in better performance and enhances the WordPress speed. Experts of Sucuri get your website cleaned without charging anything extra. This applies even if your site gets infected.

This will indeed be a great relief to have your website’s issues sorted by a team if it ever gets hacked.

Many security plugins that are used widely and work efficiently are also available.

2. Wordfence

The most popular plugin widely used for scanning WordPress sites for malware, and other types of infections, is Wordfence. It can be easily installed by you from the repository of WordPress.org.

Usually, it helps automatically scan WordPress site in the background. However, you could also start scanning by yourself if you wish to do so.

It is also possible to view the summary containing the noticeable issues, the amount of scans, and so on.

You will receive notifications also for fixing these issues as soon as possible. Apart from that, this plugin also has an app-level firewall that helps you in avoiding hacking and any other types of attacks from happening. 

Few steps that could be followed by you for scanning your site using Wordfence are:

  • Enter the scan section of Wordfence.
  • Click on the option “start new scan”.
  • Check the timeline of all types of criteria used by Wordfence.
  • After the completion of the scan, click the tab “Results found”. This will give you the scan details.  
  • Finally, you could click on the option “delete all the deletable files” which is used mainly if your results show a message of high priority. This message, when showcased using a red dot, is not a good sign. Hence, you should take stringent action quickly.

A warning will be sent to you by Wordfence before the deletable files are deleted by you. It will tell you to make sure nothing important is being deleted by you. Before deleting the files, do ensure to have a proper backup of your site.

After completing these steps, there will be no malware nor any kind of hidden thrash on your site. If you intend to recheck, running a Sucuri scan would do your work.

Apart from this, do remember that a warning is given to you by Wordfence when your WordPress version is not up-to-date. The outdated WP version could have notable security issues, which may be the main malware source. This could affect your site and lead to serious issues.

You also get reminded by Wordfence once the plugin and the theme versions become outdated.

3. Anti-Malware Security

One other great security plugin that helps scan the website quickly and easily for any malicious code is the Anti-Malware Security. Though this is a fast process, it is quite comprehensive. Hence, the results may show after some time.

The Anti-Malware Security is well-versed with the patterns leading to infections. It provides a detailed and clear report to you after the scan is completed.

One more important aspect of it is that definitions are actively maintained by it.  This assures constant improvising, which helps in detecting new viruses, and any other threats.

This, however, has drawbacks to it as well. Sometimes, you may be shown a potential threats list by it. This information may not be correct in reality. Hence, you will have to sit personally to compare all files with the original ones.

This is definitely going to take much time and effort. One other disadvantage is that it only has a software-based firewall. You may find it less effective as compared to the Wordfence or Sucuri firewall.

What Should you do upon Finding the Malware?

It is definitely very upsetting to get to know that your site has malicious codes. But, it is good you’ve found out. What is important next is that you handle it appropriately. You’ll need to do some things in order to clean up your site and get it to its original state.

1. Changing your Passwords

You may not know as to how this all happened? or how your site got infected? But, this is not so important as changing all your existing passwords. 

Maybe your passwords got compromised in some way. Hence, when you reset user passwords, you prevent any suspicious activity from happening. Make sure a suitable plugin is used by you for this.

2. Get All Hacked Files Cleaned

You could fix your infected core WordPress files manually. Just make sure you have a full backup of it all. The custom files can be replaced by you later with the recent backups.

If you follow these easy steps, the process could get completed quickly.

  • Sign in to the server using SFTP/SSH. Then create a backup of your site. Select the files that have been changed recently, and get the dates confirmed with the individual who made the modifications.
  • Get suspicious files restored.
  • With regards to custom files, open any that contain a text editor. Delete all the codes that you find suspicious in these custom files.
  • Finally, have a test run to check if the website is operating properly after these changes were made.   

3. Audit Registered Users

Always try to be safe than sorry. Do double-check of users having permissions to make changes to your website files. If a hacker manages to enter your site and creates his ID, the modified password can affect them also. Hence, you should delete such WordPress user accounts from your database after identifying them.

4. Clean the Database Tables

You need to clean your database tables and sort them if they get hacked. By following these easy steps, you will be able to manually take out the malicious files from your database.

First, log in to the admin panel of the database, and then have a backup created. This is an important step that you need to take before any changes are made by you to your main database. Later, search for all questionable content.

After finding it, get the table opened and remove all these manually. Lastly, have a test run to see if your site is operating fine after doing the changes.

5. User Accounts should be Secured

To safeguard your website from hackers, we suggest you have just one admin user and set the benefits and privilege limits to be used by other users with other roles.

If you come across accounts that you are not familiar with on your WP site, instantly get them removed. Here is how you could do this manually.

  • Create a backup.
  • Then, enter the details of your WordPress website as the administrator, and then click the option “users”.
  • Search user accounts that look unfamiliar and delete them.

6. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

This step is the modern way for preventing any attacker from trying to enter your site and obtaining complete control over it. Whenever you plan to use this benefit, make sure your site has the 2FA.

When using this step, the hacker is prevented from getting into your WordPress website any further for misusing it, even after your site’s password gets compromised. Today, many users use this measure to safeguard their WordPress websites from threats.

7. Remove your Site Backdoors

A common thing done by hackers is to leave backdoors. This refers to paths via which they can enter your site once again. At times, there are many backdoors on your website which you are totally unaware of.

These are mostly inserted in files and also files that appear identical to the WordPress core files of WordPress. Hence, please delete any PHP function files that you find located in incorrect directories.  Examples of such files are base64, exec, system, etc.

It’s important to shut down all of these backdoors right away. Otherwise, your website could get infected very easily.

Conclusion

Attacks, malware, and any other kinds of infection can occur unplanned. But, they can be managed easily by using few precautions. Only you can protect your website. You can also check our article on 10 tips to increase your e-commerce conversion rates.

By taking the necessary and timely steps for securing your site and the content on it, you can reduce such attacks drastically. WordPress security plugins like Sucuri, Anti-Malware, and Wordfence, help a lot.

We hope this write-up has helped you in understanding how to get your website scanned and how to safeguard it from malicious codes and malware.

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