Website hacking is nothing new, and being a blogger it doesn’t matter how much hacking preventive measures we take, hackers will always find a way to gain access to your Website. Specially, when you are using WordPress with too many plugins, this makes it easier for hackers to find a loophole on your website. Here at ShoutMeLoud, I keep talking about various methods to make our website hack-proof, but at the same time, there is no 100% guarantee that your website will never get hacker.
Yesterday when I was travelling, I got this Email from Google Webmaster tool, notifying that few of my sites are distributing malicious codes, and they started giving warning message (This site may harm your computer) to users accessing my website via Google. Such situations are common, and thanks to Webmaster tool, for notifying me about this issue. For the record, Dominder tool which I reviewed sometime back, also sent me an Email letting me know about my site issues with malware.
Here is the official Email which I received from Google Webmaster tool:
We recently discovered that some of your pages can cause users to be infected with malicious software. We have begun showing a warning page to users who visit these pages by clicking a search result on Google.com. Below is an example URL on your site which can cause users to be infected (space inserted to prevent accidental clicking in case your mail client auto-links URLs):
Here is a link to a sample warning page:
We strongly encourage you to investigate this immediately to protect your visitors. Although some sites intentionally distribute malicious software, in many cases the webmaster is unaware because:
1) the site was compromised
2) the site doesn’t monitor for malicious user-contributed content
3) the site displays content from an ad network that has a malicious advertiser
If your site was compromised, it’s important to not only remove the malicious (and usually hidden) content from your pages, but to also identify and fix the vulnerability. We suggest contacting your hosting provider if you are unsure of how to proceed. StopBadware also has a resource page for securing compromised sites:
Once you’ve secured your site, you can request that the warning be removed by visiting
and requesting a review. If your site is no longer harmful to users, we will remove the warning.
Google Search Quality Team
Since I have seen such issues many time in the past with many of my client sites, it din affected me much, but my plan of action was to resolve the issue ASAP. Because if this issue last for long, I will miss out all my search traffic, and my search engine ranking will significantly drop in few days.
How I fixed my WordPress Website malware issue?
So, like any other Webmaster I started finding what caused the issue, and why my website is hacked. Here are few things that you should know:
- I got notifications for 4 websites under my Webmaster tool
- All sites are hosted on Hostgator Baby plan hosting
- Some of the sites were running old versions of WordPress.
- Some of the WordPress sites are running old version of plugins.
- Also I had PHPMyAdmin WordPress plugin installed, which is potentially danger plugin and prone to hacking.
Here are few things which I did, and which didn’t helped me but eventually helped me to make my sites more secure:
- Updated WordPress to latest version for all the blogs. Including non-active blogs too.
- Updated all plugins.
- Removed un-ncessary plugins and themes.
- Checked last updated file via FTP (This was useless), as I couldn’t find any file which was recently modified.
- Scanned my sites using Sucuri free scanner
- Installed exploit scanner plugin and scanned my sites, but it gave mew few fake alarms, and nothing concrete.
I tried few more things, but nothing helped.. I was not able to find the infected file, and I removed some of the websites which were installed in Sub-domain and are no longer in use.
Contacted my hosting : Hostgator
All these sites were hosted on Hostgator, and I added a support ticket to scan my sites. Though it took 14 hours for them to respond, but eventually they found the culprit file and removed it. To add extra precaution, they also updated my cPanel password, and ask me to put malware re-consideration request using Google Webmaster tool.
How to Submit Malware reconsideration request using Webmaster tool:
Google Webmaster tool is one of the best tool for webmaster which you can get for free, and if you have not yet submitted your Website in GWT, you are missing out many vital information regarding your website. Here I’m sharing step by step guide to put malware review request using Google Webmaster tool:
- Login to GWT
- Verify your Website ownership
- Click on Site > Dashboard > Health > Malware
Here you will see list of URL, google is suspecting that is infected with malware. Once you have cleaned all hacked files and your website is malware free, simply click on request a review, and add notes in the form of actions you have taken to remove the malware.
After submitting the request, almost 3 sites were stop showing “this site may harm your computer” warning in Google search, and rest one site is still yet to come out of it. In this process, I lost 1 day of search engine traffic, but considering the long term impact, this is negligible.
- Related read: Use Google alert to get Website hack notification
- How I removed malware counter on my hacked WordPress blog
So if you ever found yourself stuck in such situation, you know what to do and how to get your website out of such mess. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask my via comments. If you find this article useful, do consider sharing it on Facebook and Google plus.