Today I learned something completely new and more importantly I never considered a WordPress Malware Scan.
Let’s answer the question of “What is Malware?”
I think many of us have a pretty general idea that Malware is generally bad. More specifically Malware is code someone has written with the intent to harm your computer, steal personal information such as financial information, passwords or information about others in an effort to extend their reach. This type of malware tends to exploit operating systems vulnerabilities.
Have you considered “What is Web-Malware?”
If the programmer was able to get the user to run their client-side code they could extract information from that users computer. Similarly, with server-side code they could store information such as contact information, passwords, etc.
Recall me saying something about Social Engineering? Now that we have the ability to run custom code on a users computer then there is the art of getting someone to install and run this code. Hackers thrive on the idea that Web-Malware is “write once run often.” As you can see if a hacker could gain access to a highly active website and place malicious code that would run with every visit they could gain a lot of information.
Immediate value in using a WordPress Malware Scan!
So back to what I learned today. I have always known about security scanning websites looking for vulnerabilities but never considered looking for malicious code. I have always had this sense or trust the code I was responsible for was always clean and secure. I have taken for granted the code I haven’t written as not being malicious.
Turns out I was wrong and actually got a little slap on the wrist for it. In another business my wife and I own we use Indeed extensively and they use Norton Safe Web to scan sites referring sites. I think you can see where this is going, yes they found “suspicious code” on our site and actually blocked us. This is very bad for us and what makes it so bad is the no notification. This meant we were down for a couple days until the signs added up.
Unfortunately Norton doesn’t provide much detail beyond your site has X number of threats. I used PCRisk.com Website Scanner. The only drawback is the inability to run repeated scans to test fixes.
Get an overview of clean versus suspicious files.
Scanned Files Analysis
Check out files that are deemed a threat.
Get details about iframes and external links.
Have PhishTank, Google-SafeBrowsing or MalwareDomainList blacklisted you?
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'print_emoji_detection_script', 7 );
remove_action( 'wp_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );
After a rescan everyone is happy. Norton is happy and more importantly Indeed is happy.
Lessons learned, always take a moment to perform a WordPress malware scan on sites code before calling it complete.