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What is WordPress Malvertising Hack & How to Fix It?

Published on: August 3, 2021

What is WordPress Malvertising Hack & How to Fix It?

Are you seeing irrelevant ads popping up on your site that do not close at all? Does the ad content relate to illegal drugs or adult websites? If so, then your WP website might be hacked with WordPress Malvertising Hack.

WordPress malvertising hack is one of the most common hacking techniques used to target WordPress websites. The aim of this hack is to redirect legitimate website visitors to spammy sites that sell unsolicited products, illegal drugs, or host obscene content.

If a WordPress site is infected with a malvertising hack, it can also distribute malware or virus on the website visitor’s system. There can be other implications as well. We will learn about it all in today’s blog, starting off with a brief introduction to the WP malvertising hack.

Introduction to the WordPress Malvertising Hack 

A WordPress malvertising hack is an attack where the hackers inject a piece of malicious code into the online advertisements displayed on a website.

This hack doesn’t affect the entire site, it only aims to target website visitors that click on the ads present on a website.

A victim site is leveraged by hackers to compel its visitors to download malicious software. In some scenarios, the malicious software is automatically downloaded after a single click.

Sometimes, hackers also try to steal user information from a hacked site by infecting the advertising area on a site.

The malicious code injected into the ads is not easily identifiable and is accepted easily by the website owners because they look legitimate.

The targets for such hacks can be both large and small-scale WordPress websites.

Impact of WordPress Malvertising Hack

The WordPress malvertising hack affects websites and visitors quite negatively. Here are some points on how Malvertising hack impacts website owners and visitors:

  • The victim site expects a loss in business revenues via ads network
  • Website visitors get reduced due to illegal content present in ads
  • Existing customer reputation get crushed
  • The victim site experiences slow performance due to injected malicious javascript
  • The website owner may have to spend extra to clean up the malvertising hack infection
  • It can lead to a phishing attack for customers trying to look for your products
  • A victim site can also get blacklisted by Google for having illegal content or malicious scripts

The impact of malvertising hack can be severe to any small or medium-sized business. Therefore, it is important to identify this hack and fix it quickly.

You can always use Astra’s Malware Scanner to check for malware on your website and get reliable results.

Fixing the WordPress Malvertising Hack Step-by-step

The criticalness of fixing the WordPress malvertising hack issue could be directly proportional to customer trust retention and financial losses.

Before starting the process of fixing the malvertising hack, it is important to create a safe backup of your WordPress website.

Here are the steps that you can follow to clean WordPress Malvertising Hack from your website:

1. Create a backup of your website

Before fixing the bugs present on your website, it is always recommended to take a backup of your entire website, including the database and other files.

This helps in restoring your website if something goes wrong while fixing the bugs.

You can take this backup with the service provided by your hosting provider or manually using a plugin or via SSH or SFTP.

2. Turn on Maintenance Mode

Put your website in maintenance mode as soon as you realize malicious activities on your website to prevent your visitors from getting affected.

This will ensure that no unnecessary changes are being made on the website while fixing the malvertising hack. 

3. Scan your WordPress website for malware

Hackers use advanced techniques to stay hidden from the eyes of website owners or tools. To detect malicious scripts or injections present on your website it is important to use a good malware scanner that can perform a complete scan of your website.

If a malware scanner like Astra’s Malware Scanner detects suspicious files, there are a plethora of resources available online to decode the scan results contents and fix the security loopholes. It is always advised to check the recent modifications made to your original WordPress files based on the version. 

Lastly, use diagnostic tools to confirm the presence of the WordPress malvertising hack on your website to be dead sure. You can always reach out to us for a detailed manual guide or take help from the experts.

4. Clean the malicious code from WordPress files

Once you scan your WordPress site for all malware, recently made changes, and diagnosed your website with tools – note down all the findings. It’s good to list all the recent modifications, file differences, newly added users, etc., and review them closely.

Also, clean the WordPress site core files like the wp-contents, wp-uploads, wp-config.php, theme files, database, and so on. 

5. Clean the sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that aids Google in crawling the necessary pages on your website. Hackers may inject malicious links into this sitemap file. Scan the file and remove the malicious links if found. 

6. Clean your site database

The database is the storehouse for your WordPress site that stores all the critical files and information and is the best target for hackers to attack your site.

You can use a malware scanner to efficiently scan your database for the presence of unwanted files or infections that leads to malvertising hack. 

You can also opt for manual scanning and look for links or iframes that look malicious and remove them to eliminate the WordPress malvertising hack.

7. Reset and Reinstall 

If your WordPress website is heavily infected, it is good to delete the older versions of the files and install the latest ones.

Reinstalling includes both the files and plugins.

If there are vulnerable plugins installed on your WordPress site then they can be easily exploited by hackers to hack into your system.

Always note that deleting the website and restarting from scratch again is never a feasible option. Think before you act.

8. Seek professional help

Your internal technical or management team may not be capable of understanding the complex security-related issues in a website. Therefore it is always a good practice to ask for professional help.

The cybersecurity experts from Astra Security will help scan your website and fix all the present malware & backdoor issues and assure an all-time secure environment for your website. They will also help you plan the security practices for your business. 

Ensure Fool-proof Protection With Astra Security

The WordPress Malvertising Hack can create an unnecessary mess on your website which can lead to financial and trust issues for your business.

Follow specific security protocols and permanently fix the security issue as soon as you get a hint about it. Once things go out of hand, it becomes an expensive affair for the reputation of your website.

If you wish to secure your WordPress website fully, not only from malvertising hacks but also from all other kinds of vulnerabilities, Astra Security provides a holistic WordPress Firewall that filters incoming requests and blocks the malicious ones.

Website Security and malware protection Astra Security
How Astra’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) works

The package also comes with an on-demand malware scanner that lets you scan your website for malware, backdoors, and other foreign files at any time of the day.

Astra Malware Scanner flagging malware in a WP website

With our malware scanner, you can even delete the malicious files or view the modifications made to a file on your server.

Astra’s malware scanner highlights differences in a file

Astra protects you from malvertising, redirect hacks, SQL injections, XSS attacks, CSRF attacks, and tens more. With Astra protecting you, you will not lose crucial hours and money remedying an attack.

Check out Astra with this demo yourself.

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Aakanchha Keshri

Aakanchha is a technical writer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. She is an avid reader, researcher, and an active contributor to our blog and the cybersecurity genre in general. To date, she has written over 200 blogs for more than 60 domains on topics ranging from technical to promotional. When she is not writing or researching she revels in a game or two of CS: GO.
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