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How to Clean Up Your Site From a Malware Infection

What is a Malware Infection?

Malware bug with no entry sign“Malware” is short for “Malicious software”, software that tries to disrupt websites or computers, collect private information, or access system resources for illicit use.

A malware infection is obviously a serious problem for website owners because it deters visitors, who may believe the owner is trying to display content that is undesirable or illegal. Moreover, search engines won’t list the site in general search results.

If your site has a malware infection, it has almost certainly been hacked.

How Did My Website Get Infected?

Basically, if you have an infection, somebody has changed the source code of your website. They must have:

  • accessed your web server;
  • discovered a vulnerable web page;
  • added code that will execute when the web page is loaded.

There are plenty of ways to introduce malware, such as:

  • cracking weak passwords;
  • exploiting known vulnerabilities in your operating system, web server, or the database that drives your website;
  • introducing code into a data entry field which has no, or poor, validation;
  • redirecting your web page to a very similar page on a hacker’s website.

It’s also possible for a virus to attack a user’s web browser and inject code onto a web page after downloading. This wouldn’t show in search results, though.

How to Clean Up Your Website

Because of their variety, it is not possible to write a set of instructions for dealing with all types of malware. This is what we would do:

  1. Tell your website designer or manager, they'll have a variety of tools they can use to track the problem down;
  2. Take down your website;
  3. Replace it with a temporary “apology” page if you think it will be down for long;
  4. Check your web server's firewall and anti-virus software;
  5. Change all your website's passwords – make sure they’re strong;
  6. Find the page or pages that contain the malware;
  7. Restore the most recent clean website back-up – restore the whole site as you might have missed an infected page;
  8. Work out how the hackers broke your site and close all loopholes;
  9. When you're sure you've cracked all the problems, re-submit your site to the search engines and ask them to reconsider your website’s penalty.

Last, but not least, add check for malware to your regular website monitoring job-list!

Help to Clean Up from a Malware Infection

Call BlueTree now on 0117 339 0095, or email us using this contact form.

If Search Engines Find Malware

Google won't list an infected site unless the query is very specific, so you lose exposure. If it does, the listing will show a message, "This site may harm your computer."

Bing will scare you just as much, with a panel containing a similar message.

Neither will open the website directly, but link to advice about how to react.

If you find that your website is infected with malware, call 0117 339 0095, or contact us here, and we'll help you solve the problem.


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