How to Check Your WordPress Website for Malware
WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system (CMS) in use today, and for good reason. Designed to be extremely user-friendly, the software is incredibly easy to set up and use, and allows for a considerable amount of customization.
One of the primary advantages of WordPress is that the platform is completely open-source, which means it is free to use and its source code is openly accessible to the public. This encourages and supports community-building and innovation, which contributes to making WordPress a particularly vibrant and adaptive platform.
While this is an incredible advantage when dealing with software, it also means that WordPress is incredibly vulnerable to cyber attacks and other forms of malware. Because its code is publicly accessible, any malicious actor or hacker can theoretically ‘look over’ WordPress’ shoulder and edit the code on the fly, in order to gain complete control of a website. Once under their spell, the website can be used to launch attacks against unsuspecting internet users or steal their personal data.
It is therefore essential that every website owner and operator periodically checks for malware within their WordPress installations, and takes the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their users from falling victim to digital schemes and cons. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for doing just that.
How to Check for Malware in WordPress
If you’re not overly familiar with WordPress, the software may seem like an obvious choice when it comes to website building. Still, it is important to understand the various methods through which WordPress can be used to harm your site rather than help it. This is why we recommend that you periodically conduct a keyword search for your website, and look for signs of malicious activity.
To start, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click on the ‘Tools’ icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
This will launch a short list of tools and applications that you can use to manage and shape your content on your site. From here, you can click on the ‘Network’ option (as shown below) for a convenient one-stop-shop for all of your WordPress network admin needs.
From the ‘Network’ page, you can click on the ‘Spam’ option to access the Spam dashboard, which displays all of the spam that has been flagged as such by WordPress users.
From this page, you can filter and search for keywords as well as navigate to individual blogs or sites and monitor their spam scores.
Clicking on the ‘Malware’ option within the ‘Network’ section of your WordPress dashboard will lead you to yet another dashboard, named the ‘Malware Scanner’. Here you can check for signs of malware within the WordPress installation itself, including:
- malicious scripts
If you encounter any of these on your site, then you’re either suffering from a bug, or you’ve been hacked by a third party, or an advertiser trying to get personal information about you or your site visitors. None of these are desirable situations to be in. In the first two cases, you will need to address the issue with the third party responsible. In the latter case, you will need to remove the adware or malware as soon as possible.
Malware Protection for WordPress
To protect your WordPress installation against malware and other security risks, you must take three steps:
- Update your WordPress installation
- Monitor your site for threats
- Take action on detected threats
The first step in this process is to update WordPress itself, as the software becomes susceptible to attack and misuse as soon as it is outdated. A good rule of thumb is to update your WordPress installation every other month, to coincide with the release of new versions of the software.
The second step in this process is to monitor your site for any threats, especially in the form of malware or similar software. A good approach is to install a reputable anti-virus software on your device(s) and/or server(s), and ensure that it is updated as often as possible. One of the best free solutions out there is Bitdefender, and if you’re running a Linux server, you can try out Avast! or Clam Anti-Virus.
The third step is to remove any malware or similar software that you discover. This can be done through a number of methods, including removing the malicious scripts and extensions from your site’s code, as well as uninstalling the software from your device. In some cases, you may need to remove malicious files from your server’s file system in order to reset the software’s countermeasures.
To learn more about malware and how to protect your WordPress installation against it, visit this special link: https://support.wordpress.com/guide/malware-protection/