You might have heard the term “hack” quite commonly, but do you know what it means? It means that some malware has been inserted into your website’s server.
It isn’t easily recognizable, but if it gets worse, your website could get hacked and lead to significant damage. It can be prevented if the appropriate scanning is done over time.
Most often, malware codes go unnoticed for quite some time. In this write-up, you will see how you can scan the WordPress site for malicious codes.
- 1 How do the Malicious Codes Enter the Website Server?
- 2 When is the Best Time to Scan your Website?
- 3 How to Thoroughly Scan WordPress Site and Which Security Plugins to Use?
- 4 What do you do With the Malware you Found?
- 5 Conclusion
How do the Malicious Codes Enter the Website Server?
Before beginning with the scanning process, it is essential to know how the malicious code gets installed. Hackers use various methods to get into your website because they could use it however they want without your consent once they have entered your site.
They could also install n number of malicious codes, which could then spoil your business slowly and steadily. Apart from that, there are also other ways in which malicious code gets installed.
It could be through a file that you downloaded or some random link that you might have clicked. The best way to get rid of all these malicious codes is by scanning your website over time.
When is the Best Time to Scan your Website?
There is no better time than now. Many-a-time WordPress users ignore this process until something suspicious happens. Therefore, users must know how to scan their WordPress site.
The first and foremost step to take is to install a WordPress security scanner. It will help protect your website from any present or future attacks. You can also improve the security of your site through WordPress plugins.
How to Thoroughly Scan WordPress Site and Which Security Plugins to Use?
Sucuri offers excellent services in WordPress security. They usually have all paid services, but it also provides a limited scanning feature. If you wish to use Sucuri instantly, you will have to install the free WordPress Plugin available.
You could visit the SiteCheck site and enter your URL. Then, click on the “scan website” option. Through this, you will be able to see if your website is infected or not. Ensure to review warning messages if the site is infected.
This plugin helps to go through your WordPress files and check for any changes that might have occurred. Also, it helps in finding out any links, malicious code, iframes, etc. If you own multiple WordPress sites connected to the same server, it is advisable to scan all of them.
One of the common causes of infections is cross-site contamination. Therefore, it is vital to get that sorted out. It is recommended to isolate your web hosting from the web accounts.
The procedure mentioned above is only for the free and limited offer, but you should opt for the paid plans if you wish to get factual information about your WordPress site protection.
They have high-end WordPress firewall protection. It blocks every suspicious activity or malicious code from entering your WordPress site. It is anytime advisable to use DNS website protection because it is much better than any other source.
It also serves the website static content that provides excellent performance and also increases WordPress speed. The Sucuri experts clean your website without any additional charge if it gets affected.
It is a huge relief to know that you have a team to take care of issues your WordPress site might face if it gets hacked.
There are also other Security WordPress plugins available that work efficiently and are widely used.
Wordfence is a popular plugin that is widely used to scan the website for malicious code and other infections. You can install it easily from the repository of WordPress.org.
It usually automatically scans your website in the background, but if you wish, you could initiate the scan yourself as well.
You can also view a summary that contains the issues noticed, the total number of scans, and so on.
You will also get notified to fix those issues at the earliest. It is also equipped with an application-level firewall. This firewall helps you avoid hacking or any attacks from occurring.
The steps that you could follow to scan your website through Wordfence are as follows-
- Enter into the Wordfence – Scan section
- Click on “start new scan”
- Go through the timeline of various criteria that Wordfence uses
- After the scan is completed, you could click on the “Results found” tab to get the details of the scan.
- And lastly, you could take the required actions, such as clicking on the “delete all the deletable files” option. This option is mainly used when you see a High-Priority message in your results. If this message is showcased in red, it indicates a bad sign, and therefore you must take strict action as soon as possible.
Before you delete the deletable files, Wordfence sends you a warning addressing you to ensure that you aren’t deleting anything necessary.
Ensure that you have proper backup for your site before you take this step. Once having completed these steps, your website should be free from all the malware and other hidden trash, but if you wish to double-check, you could run a Sucuri scan.
Also, note that Wordfence warns you when the WP version is outdated as it might contain significant security issues.
These issues could be a huge source of malware that would affect your website and cause serious problems.
Wordfence also reminds you when the theme versions and the plugin gets out of date.
Another excellent security plugin is the Anti-Malware Security that helps in easy and quick scanning of the website for any malicious code.
The process is fast, but it is pretty comprehensive; therefore, it might take some time to show the results.
The security plugin is well-accustomed to the patterns that lead to infections and provides you with a clear and detailed report after the scan. Another significant aspect of Anti-Malware Security is that it actively maintains definitions.
It means that there is constant improvising that occurs, which detects new malware and other threats. Though malware is a great source, it has its drawbacks as well.
At times, it may show you a list of potential threats, which in reality, might not be accurate.
In this case, you would personally have to sit and compare the files with the source files. This is time-consuming and a lot of effort from your end.
Another drawback is that it has a firewall but one that is only at the software level. You wouldn’t find it much effective when compared to the firewall provided by Sucuri or Wordfence.
What do you do With the Malware you Found?
First and foremost, it is upsetting to find malicious codes on your site, but now that you have found it, the question that arises is how do you deal with it? You could and must do a few things to clean your website and return it to a clean state.
Change your Passwords
You might have no clue as to how the malware entered your site and the reason behind it affecting your site, but the first step is to reset user passwords.
It could be possible that your passwords had been compromised; therefore, changing the passwords could be a great way of preventing the suspicious event from occurring. Ensure that you use an appropriate plugin to do so.
Clean All the Hacked Files
If your core files are infected, you could fix it manually; ensure that you have a complete backup for all of them. You can replace the custom files with recent backups later.
These simple steps could help you get done with the process quickly.
- Log in to the server through SFTP/SSH and create a backup for your website first.
- Select the recently changed files and confirm the dates with the user who made the changes.
- Restore the suspicious files.
- For the custom files, open anyone containing a text editor and delete all the suspicious codes you find in those custom files.
- Lastly, run a test to see whether the site is operating correctly after making these changes.
Audit the Registered Users
It is always better to be on the safer side. So, it is advisable to double-check the users who are having permission for file editing on your website.
If an attacker gained access to your site and created their own user, they will be subjected to the password changes as well.
So you must root such users out and delete them from the database.
Clean Database Tables
If your database tables are hacked, you would have to clean and sort them out as well. To remove the malware from your database manually, you will have to follow a few simple steps.
Firstly, login into the database admin panel and create a backup. This step is essential before you make any changes to your actual database. Next, look for any questionable WP content folder that you find.
Once you have found the content, open the table and manually remove all the questionable content. And lastly, run a test to check whether your website operates appropriately after making the changes.
Secure User Accounts
If you wish to keep your website safe and free from any hacking, it is recommended to have a single admin user and set other user roles to the bare minimum of rights required for the work that is needed to be done by that user.
If you find certain unfamiliar user accounts on your WordPress website, you must instantly remove them. Here’s the process through which you could manually remove such user accounts.
- As mentioned earlier, the primary step to any process is creating a backup.
- Enter your WordPress site as the admin and click on “users.”
- Look for unfamiliar WordPress user accounts and then delete them.
This is a new way of avoiding any hacker from entering your website and getting full access to it. If you wish to utilize this benefit, then ensure that your website has two-factor authentication (2FA).
Through this step, even if your password gets compromised, there is no way the attacker could go further into your site and misuse it. Nowadays, this measure has been adopted by many users to secure their WordPress sites from threats.
Get Rid of the Backdoors on your Site
One of the most common things that hackers do is leaving backdoors, i.e., paths through which they could enter back on your site. Several backdoors are present on the site at times, and the user is entirely unaware of it.
They are often embedded in files, and these files look similar to the WordPress core files. Therefore, if your find files with PHP function like exec, system, base64, etc. located within the wrong directories; go ahead and delete them as they could be malicious files.
It is essential to stop all these backdoors as soon as possible, or else there could be chances of your website getting infected quite easily.
Malware, attacks, and other such infection could occur anytime, but they are easily manageable with a few precautions. The safety of your website is entirely in your hands. You can also check our article on How to Show Hidden Files in cPanel?
If you take proper steps towards your website’s security and its content, the chances of mishaps would drastically reduce.
Security WordPress plugins such as Sucuri, Wordfence, and Anti-Malware Security are of great help.
I hope this article helped you understand the basics of how to scan the website and keep it safe from malware and other malicious codes.