WordPress is a popular platform website. As a result, it attracts a lot of attention and may even attract unwanted attention from hackers and their malware. The WordPress team at Automattic is constantly working to make WordPress a secure CMS.
But it’s an ongoing process, a tug of war, as new malware and even hackers keep coming up. Historically, WordPress websites have been targeted by attacks that redirect traffic to malicious URLs. That’s why it’s so important to regularly scan WordPress for malware.
When this happens, Google may turn visitors away from your website. This is done to prevent visitors from being infected with malware. After that, you will notice that your website traffic has decreased.
How Malware Gets To Your Website
A WordPress user have wide range when it comes to themes. Choose a niche, and there’s certainly a theme for you. But, one thing that you should be aware of when choosing a theme is unnecessary code embedded in the theme. As since most users, aren’t developers, you will need to have a process to scan WordPress for malware.
However, I’ll advise you to be careful when purchasing themes from third-party site or even free themes. As some malicious theme providers will embed code that harm your website.
These code snippets can be harmless snippets that do little harm. But they can also be harmful enough to bring your website down completely. They are unobtrusively embedded in your blog. Most of the time, you won’t notice them when working on your site normally.
Themes, aren’t the only way for malicious code to enter your website. It can be included in the plugin by either a hack, brute force attack or even left in the comments section.
And sometimes, you may want to install software that is bundle with popular application that you’ve download and install. But this software can often be malware or spyware disguised as an additional feature. So you may unknowingly allow these options to be on your websites, where malware lurks around, often adding more malware to the site.
But, why do hackers inject malware?
What’s the purpose of these code serve? Why do hackers infect websites?
- To track visitors.
- Add their own banners and ads.
- Access to personal information such as names, passwords and email addresses.
- Take down your website entirely for any reason
- To do it just for fun.
So, the longer malware goes undetected, the better for hackers. This is because the website can continually be used to collect information or send spam emails,infecting visitors. So, it is your responsibility to scan WordPress regularly for malware, and to check for malware even on a solid website.
This WordPress Wednesday I’m posting 6 plugins and services that can scan your WordPress site for malware. There’s high quality WordPress plugins that are available to scan malware.
Scanning your website can consume a lot of memory on your server. So, to speed up scanning, you may need to change PHP memory access and clear cache directories.
Most plugins below come bundled with security features. While few plugins are pure malware detection solutions. While others are full-fledged security or backup solutions that include malware detection capabilities.
The iThemes security plugin is one of the most popular ways to protect your website and scan WordPress for malware. The free version of this plugin offers 30 layers of protection and protection, including one-click “secure site” checking, malware scanning (via Sucuri SiteCheck), strong password enforcement, brute force protection, database backups, file modification detection, and more. Provides security.
For that extra layer of protection, consider iThemes Security Pro, which gives you access to features like two-factor authentication, scheduled malware scans, password expiration, and WordPress core file comparison. The plugin costs $80 a year, which may be a bit high for some. But can you really put a price on security and peace of mind?
It checks all pages and links against Sucuri’s malware database and reports anomalies. Scans detect malware, blacklists, tampering, website errors, and outdated software. The scan reports on detected malware and recommends actions to take.
This service does not access your server. So anything malicious on the server that is not visible in the browser will not be detected by the remote scanner. Therefore, this scan is not effective against phishing, backdoors, and malicious usernames.
However, the Sucuri security plugin can do much more, including audit logs, integrity checks, email alerts, security hardening, and other tools. If you don’t want to run the URL often, you can enable the plugin to generate a free API.
Wordfence is more than just a malware scanner, it’s a near-perfect security protection for your website. It’s free, open source, and uses a constantly updated Threat Defense feed to monitor websites and prevent hacks.
Web Application Firewall can detect over 44000 known malware and block them from reaching your website. It also scans for backdoors, phishing URLs, Trojans, suspicious code and other security threats.
Scans typically run every hour. So within an hour of visiting the site, you may notice malware content on the site. Wordfence can check core integrity and monitor traffic in real time.
To use scheduled scans, country blocking, and some additional features, you must pay to obtain a premium API key.
The All In One WP Security & Firewall plugin is another popular and easy-to-use option. This plugin provides numerous security features such as password strength, brute force login protection, built-in capture, database prefix options, file permissions, .htaccess/WP-Config backup, firewall protection and more. However, the plugin also offers an easy-to-setup security scan that can quickly detect and remove malware.
So, use the file change detection scanner and the Database Scanner to look for file changes or data tables that you have not created. Use settings to schedule auto-discovery and send emails directly to your inbox when file changes occur. This will notify you immediately of any potential hacking attempts.
malCure Malware Scanner is a plugin focuses on a user-friendly interface. And a simplicity while at the back-end as it is able to detect 50,000+ infections. This plugin executes a database scan as well as WordPress file scan for a complete 360° detection.
The thoroughness of this plugin is by virtue of the approach. It takes a hybrid approach which includes multiple scans on every file and database record i.e. checksum integrity, scan against known malware signatures as well as a heuristic scan. This allows for highly accurate results and very rare false alarms. Definitions are updated regularly so malCure can detect even the latest infections.
Where this plugin focused on simplicity, power and performance for the general user, one of the things that malCure Malware Scanner really excels in is its robust integration with WP-CLI. This takes its usefulness to a whole new level by allowing you to easily scan and clean your WordPress site from the command line if your host has revoked access to your site to curb the spread of malware. malCure has a powerful feature set in WP-CLI mode that makes it very attractive to web security professionals as well.
CLI integration allows you to automate scans via cron. And if you have some scripting knowledge, you can use the malCure malware scanner in almost any way imaginable.
You can also connect the MalCure scanner to your website’s Google Search Console property to retrieve warnings and security advisories issued by Google. This ensures that the scan also covers injected spam links, Google Transparency blacklists, and alerts. malCure Scanner comes with a built-in firewall that protects against the most commonly exploited WordPress attack vectors
Astra Security Suite is the go-to security plugin for thousands of WordPress sites. This plugin provides a comprehensive firewall solution, malware scanner, and instant malware removal service for your WordPress site. Please take note that the free version only provides remote scanning of your website and detects OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities in zero days. Backdoors, SEO spam infections, website blacklist checks, hidden cryptocurrency miners, credit card phishing scripts, and more.
However, there’s Astra Security Suite Premium plugins which adds extra protection with a wide range of website security solutions including real-time web application firewall, automated malware scanner, vulnerability analysis and penetration testing (VAPT), and instant malware cleanup if your site is hacked. Provides an advantage. And a community security platform.
One best part about Astra Security Suite is that it doesn’t require any DNS changes during installation. In other words, unlike other plugins. This plugin does not store your website traffic on our servers. Instead, it monitors your website for incoming and outgoing threats in real time.
How at the time of posting, this plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. So just be warily.