Is your WordPress website redirected to a different site?
In most cases, your visitors are sent to spam or obscene websites. This horrific oddity is due to hacking.
When that happens, it’s important to fix it right away. Here, we’ll show you various ways to take back your website control. We’ll also tell you how this can be prevented in the future.
If you have to clean up your site for some time, you can use our automated malware removal plugin to resolve the problem. It is important, however, to come back and understand how and why this happened so that you can prevent it from occurring in the future.
Security of the website is extremely important and even more important if you run a WordPress website. Because WordPress is a popular choice between website owners. It has more than 30 percent of the world’s websites and thus the attention of hackers.
While security protocols are increasing every day, hackers aren’t far behind in finding ways to break in. So you definitely aren’t alone if you were hacked. According to a Sucuri report, WordPress infections increased from 83% in 2017 to 90% in 2018.
So how do you redirect your website?
- Hackers use a number of tricks to redirect your site, the most common of which is: malicious code injected into WordPress files and databases.
- By changing the home URL and the database site URL.
- Add yourself on your website as a ghost admin.
In most cases, visitors are redirected to your homepage before reaching the website, but the tricky thing is they can lie on your site anywhere. It could be a link on your blog or a landing page to redirect your visitors. You could be hacked a long time before you realize it unless you bring it to your attention.
If you notice that your website is being redirected, you must remedy it right away. Redirects may not only cause serious damage to your site but also to your visitors and may, consequently, have serious consequences.
Negative redirection impact?
By simply redirecting the traffic from your site, hackers can seriously damage your online presence. In case your website is redirected, it could damage your website: brand hit–You could redirect a visitor to your hacked website to websites selling illegal or spam products. Your brand is sure to take a hit. A step further, if your visitor finishes ordering one of those prohibited products, it can land him in a lot of trouble and by extension.
SEO Impact–when visitors are brought to another location, your rankings fall and you lose traffic to your site. This means that years of hard work will disappear, not to mention serious customer losses.
Blacklisting–When the search engines discover that your website is malware infected and you spam or sell illegal products, your site is blacklisted. Visitors are warned about the infection of your site.
Host suspension–Your web host could shut your website down unless other websites on the same server get malware infected.
Privacy violation–Visitors can download software that is going to infect their system, thereby infringing privacy. This could also lead to a possible loss of data.
Loss of income–All this will ultimately lead to a decrease in income. This could be difficult to recover depending on the severity of the problem.
The longer you take to fix the hack, the worse the impact. So let’s figure out the root cause and how to fix the problem.
Detect and Clean Malicious Redirects
The presence of infected codes added by hackers redirects your website. In order to remove these spam redirects, malicious codes or malware must be found and removed. In the database, the htaccess, theme or plugin, WordPress core or even uploads, malware might be present. You can either manually scan a hacked site or use automated tools.
Step 1: Scan WordPress website
The first step is to scan your WordPress website to find malicious code. You can do it manually or with a security plugin.
On a WordPress website there are several ways to manually identify WordPress hack or malware.
Manual Scanning Pattern or Signature Matching: The web site owner can look for known patterns of malicious code during manual scanning. Once one has been found, he / she can proceed and delete these codes. The problem with this method is that it corresponds only to a known pattern. The code can be found in an endless number of patterns. In addition, the method is tedious.
WP website manual scan Keyword ID:
A common way to find malicious codes is to find known keywords ‘ eval’ or’ base64 decode,’ usually part of many malicious codes.
The drawback of this method is that these keywords are also part of legitimate codes. Many plugins have these keywords in their code as well. Searching for these keywords is therefore not a stupid way to find malware. You may delete a valid piece of code which causes your WordPress website to malfunction.
Comparing the differences in core files:
The core files of WordPress determine the appearance and functionality. Malware is sometimes inserted into this part of the site. Since WordPress is open source software, its files are open to the public. By comparing the WordPress core files that are available in public on your website, you will be able to see a file not available on your website.
Comparing the differences in core files is a good way to detect a certain amount of malware. But it also has its limitations. You may end up comparing two different versions of WordPress without proper technical understanding and result in false alarms.
More file checks that you can match plugin files:
Match plugins can be another thing you can do. Make a list of the plugins you have installed already. Next, download the same plugins from the repository of the WordPress plugin. Now these two match. This is a decent (although time-consuming) way to find malware. This too comes with its own set of problems, as you might have guessed.
You can see, there are different plug-in versions and not all of them are available to the public. Some of these changes are often not captured in the repository. These factors make it tedious and unreliable to match WordPress plugin files.
Look for Recently Modified Files:
Recently modified files may well be a hacker. The hacker can have malware or malicious codes injected into these files. You should treat any files not modified by you or anyone else who manages your website suspiciously. But if the hacker’s salt is worth it, he’d reset the time of the amendment. Good luck to find the modified file!
Look for Unknown Files & Folders in the WordPress Root Folder:
A WordPress website owner usually does not have to access the WordPress root directory, so that he or she is a vulnerable malware injection target. The folder and theme folder (/wp-content / plugins/) of the plugin (/wp-content /themes/) in the root directory are also high risk for attacks. The general rule of thumb is therefore to look for unknown files in the directories.
Although theme and plugins contain known sets of files and folders, safe and unfamiliar files may also occur. Deleting them unwittingly could misbehavior the plugin and you should prevent them.
Given the complexity of manually finding malware, the success rate of these methods is always very limited. Therefore, it is better to select a WordPress automated malware scanner over manual scanning.
Scanning Using a security plugin
There are tons of security scanning plugins available as with anything related to WordPress. However, most of these security scanners, including the top ones, rely on ineffective methods we discussed just now. Unlike other security plugins for WordPress, MalCare does not rely on pattern matches or keyword identification. Instead, MalCare employs the knowledge of its already installed hundreds and thousands of websites in order to find new and complex hacks.
For more information about WordPress web scanners, see the top 5 malware scanners for WordPress.
Step 2: Clean Malware Redirects
Ideally, the safety plugin you choose to scan your website for malware should also clean it. Look at the various cleaning options available for WordPress users: one-click Automated Cleanup: MalCare is the only security plugin that provides automated one-click cleanups for WordPress. Our product is unique in that it allows users to remove malware with a simple click of a button from your WordPress websites. There are no external security staff involved and therefore no need to wait at all. MalCare offers 3 different packages and includes an unlimited number of cleanups regardless of what package you choose.
Variable levels of cleanups: A popular Sucuri security plugin provides a range of cleanup levels, depending on how quickly your site is being cleaned–from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Normally, you clean your site by security staff who need details such as SFTP credentials, etc. The silver in the purchase of Sucuri’s cleanup is that the cleaning service is free for a year. In other words, they will clean your site at no additional cost within a year, no matter how many times your website is infected.
One-time Cleanups: Several safety plugins or services from WordPress provide one-time clean-up and charge one-time charge. They scan your website and fix it when they find a security vulnerability. Sadly, this option does not usually guarantee a turnaround time. This means that it could take minutes or days for your website to be clean. The prolongation of cleaning your site has several adverse effects. For one thing, Google and other search engines can make your website blacklist. Or your web host could download your site, so that other websites don’t infect on the same web host server (in case of shared hosting).
Protect WordPress Website Future Malware Redirects Hacks
Just locating malware and cleaning the site does not fix the WordPress site. It is important to take safety measures that protect your site against future hack attacks. Website owners may implement certain (if not all) security measures recommended by WordPress. These measures would require some technical expertise manually. Instead, WordPress security plug-ins like MalCare are better used to strengthen your website. Each owner of the website should bear in mind that being online is an immense responsibility you should not take lightly. Take the time to invest in reliable backups and effective safety measures to make sure your WordPress site works and is safe.