How to Scan Your Website for Viruses and Trojans
You may have heard the term ‘virus’ associated with computers, cell phones, and other digital devices. A ‘virus’ is a parasitic program that can infect your device if you click on a malicious link or open an infected email attachment.
That same ‘virus’ may also be present on your website, waiting to wreak havoc amongst your visitors. If you’re unfamiliar, a ‘virus’ is any type of malicious software that can replicate itself and spread to other devices without permission.
Depending on the type of ‘virus’ and how it was obtained, finding and removing it from your website can be challenging. We’ll discuss a few methods you can use to detect and nip this type of behavior in the bud.
Take A Closer Look At The Hosts Your Site Is Asking To Connect With
Before you begin scraping the surface of your website for malware, it’s important to first identify the hosts your site is attempting to connect with. This is also known as ‘open redirects’ or ‘one-way links.’ These are essentially links that will only lead the person to your website. While this might seem like a good idea at first, it’s actually a red flag that something is amiss.
When someone connects with your website via one of these links, the URL will change to show a page similar to the one you’ve created. However, the person who clicked on the link will still be directed to the original website, which could have potentially dangerous content or offers that the end user might not be prepared to see.
Use A Different Browser
In addition to looking at the host, you should also take a closer look at the browser the person is using to connect with your website. There are many different browsers available for download, and each one is completely compatible with the others. Because of this, you should have no trouble viewing your site in any of them.
Even better, many modern browsers come with extra features that could help you during this inspection. Chrome, for example, offers ‘Incognito Mode,’ which helps keep your personal information private while letting you easily access any device you’ve previously logged into. You can also use the Private Browsing feature, which lets you browse the web without leaving any trace that you’ve been there.
Use A Website To Check For Malicious Activity
There are many reasons why you might want to inspect your website for malicious activity. Perhaps, you’re worried that someone has stolen your intellectual property and is using it on their own site without permission. Or, you suspect that bots are indexing your content without your knowledge.
Either way, you can easily check for this type of behavior by using a website called ‘WOT.’ (“What Is This?”) WOT is the best freely available tool for inspecting websites for malware and malicious behavior. With a WOT score above 300, your site is considered to be clean.
A WOT score under 100 means that your site is infected with malware or another type of dangerous content. To check your WOT score, simply enter your URL into the website and hit enter.
If you’re worried about the security of your website, get in touch with your web host and ask them about taking measures to ensure your site is safe.
Use A Different Search Engine
When someone visits your site via a web browser, the URL will often contain the name of the search engine, such as ‘Google.’ If you want to keep your site clean of malicious content, you should use a different search engine like ‘Yahoo!’ or ‘Bing!’
However, if you’re concerned that a person might visit your site using a browser that is unpatched or outdated, you could create a search engine friendly URL by appending ‘?q=’ to the end of your regular URL. Also, make sure to use a search engine that is not associated with any type of suspicious activity.
Take A Closer Look At The Content You’re Indexing
Every website owner should also be the curator of the content on their site. Even if you’ve employed someone to help create content for your site, ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what should be included and what shouldn’t. This includes removing any content that you feel might be objectionable or damaging to your site’s visitors. Even if you don’t want to remove content altogether, you could put restrictions on when, where, and how it can be displayed.
If you’re worried about the content on your site, take a moment to review it before you begin adding more. You could start by taking a look at the analytics associated with your content. This will give you an idea of the type of content that is most engaging to your audience and the most effective at drawing visitors to your site.
Look At The Code For Common Errors
Often, malware will lurk in the shadows, silently manipulating files on your device without your knowledge. To ensure that you catch any such errors as soon as they arise, you could use a variety of tools to find and fix common coding errors. Doing this can help you identify malware that might be present on your site.
For example, you could use a free tool like ‘PHP Code Sniffer’ to check for any errors in your PHP code. If you have a plugin that you’re not sure if it’s legitimate or not, you could use ‘wp_list_plugins’ to inspect it for any suspicious activity.
Use A Secure SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate provides encryption for sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other financial data. When your site uses an SSL certificate, the information you enter is scrambled, ensuring that only you can access it. To learn more, visit https://www.ssl.com/support/security-bulletin/.
Even better, most web browsers will display a lock icon next to the URL in the address bar when a site uses SSL. This means it’s encrypted and therefore, safe to access.
Don’t Be Fooled By Scams
Last but not least, it’s important to be smart about the kind of emails you open. Some scam artists will send you emails requesting your personal or financial information in order to steal your identity. It is highly recommended that you don’t open any emails that aren’t from a trusted source.
It’s also important to be realistic about your exposure to online scams. The fact is, thanks to the internet, scammers can easily find you. However, that doesn’t mean that all emails you receive are scams. It just means that you shouldn’t take any chances that you might be being scammed. If you feel like your personal information is at risk or if you suspect that the email is a scam, simply delete the email and don’t click on any link contained within.
Inspecting your site for malware is a never ending process. However, with a little bit of patience and common sense, you may be able to maintain a clean and safe site. If you’re really worried about the security of your site, contact your web host and ask them about taking measures to ensure your site is safe.