How To Check WordPress For Malicious Codes?

WordPress comprises 33% of the World Wide Web. However, being the cheapest and easiest solution available on the internet, WordPress has also become the favourite attack spot for hackers. It has become the highest targeted CMS. In this article, you shall read about the different malicious codes that may be residing in your WordPress website and how you can perform a check on them using various WordPress Malicious Code Checker.

There are malicious codes that reside in your WordPress website and remain undetected by web admins. But when a search engine blacklists your website, then you realize about their existence and then try acting upon it which then becomes too late. In a highly competitive world, the existence of malware in your website questions the trustworthiness of your website.

Related Article: Meaning Of Search Engine Blacklist By Various Search Engines

WordPress Malicious Code Sources

Being a responsible company for web application security, we have also analyzed the security of WordPress as of 2019. You may go and give it a read here.

Security issues concerned with WordPress websites

Related Article: WordPress Website Hacked & Sending Spam

Moreover, a WordPress website can get infected by malicious codes from different sources. The tell-tale signs that your WordPress website has malware in it are:

Themes from Untrusted Sources

There are premium WordPress themes which are available for free in an illegal manner. As the online world is highly competitive, hence website owners in order to get ahead of their competitors, download the themes. But what they don’t know is that they are inviting a threat to their website. These themes contain a back door hack that can make your website prone to hacking.

Such themes are deliberately floated so that an unmindful WordPress website owner downloads them and thus fall prey to hackers. The themes are poorly coded which lead to the creation of unauthorized access to your WordPress websites through these loopholes. There can be several intents of the attacker who has set up the theme over the pirated link:

  • To acquire a link back to your website through blog posts
  • For redirecting your websites to malicious hyperlinks
  • To add adverts
  • To create a backdoor to your website

Warning Message By Search Engines

The search engine, for instance, Google, displays a warning message about the existence of malware in your WordPress website. It can cause partial or full blocking of the website.

White Screen of Death

When a theme in your website contains malicious code in it then your website starts showing a white screen of death. The pages of your website may stop loading fully and only display a white screen on being invoked.

Corrupted .htaccess File

When this file is corrupted by malware, your WordPress website keeps on redirecting to other malicious hyperlinks whose cause sometimes seems inexplicable.

Unwanted pop-ups

If your website keeps popping advertisements or popups to a hyperlink which you would usually close, then it is a sign that your WordPress website has malicious code running in it.

Usage of exploitable PHP functions in the database

A vulnerable / poorly coded database file can make your website an easy target for an attacker. Such malpractices can lead to DB malware infection. These functions, however, are not bad in themselves and can be used in an ethical manner also. But would you let fate decide the security of your website? Would you hope that the hacker would use those functions ethically? Definitely not a wise idea.

One can get the SQL file for their website, which contains these PHP functions, from the PHPMyAdmin console by exporting their whole database into SQL format. After that, the file can be opened in any text file editor and then the following functions can be searched upon:

Function base64_decode

This function can be used by a hacker to mask their malicious code and as WordPress is open source, hence it is highly unlikely to contain concealed information.

Function gz_inflate

Similar to the above function (i.e. used to decode data that is encoded), if found in your website, it may clearly indicate that a hacker is on the prowl and is trying to conceal their malicious code.

Function eval

Discouraged for use by php.net, this function tries to process any string as a valid PHP code. If you find this function in your PHP code file, you are advised to remove it with immediate effect.

Function error_reporting(0)

This function with 0 as a parameter is used to hide any error logs or code errors. If this is found, in your website’s database code, then it seems that the hacker is testing things in your backend database and is trying to prevent logging and displaying of any code errors.

Function shell_exec

This function can be used by the hacker to execute commands at the server level operating system. Since this function gives full access to take over the entire server, it is the prime target for hackers.

Unknown links or iframes in your website

Apart from the above-mentioned flags, there can exist malicious iframes and redirect links existing in your WordPress website which can cause further infection. You can filter them out through careful examination of website code.

Is your WordPress website hacked? Drop us a message here or chat with us now, and we will be happy to help.

WordPress Malicious Code Checker

Now that we have got a fair idea about what all malicious codes that can possibly exist in your WordPress website, in this section, we shall discuss the various WordPress Malicious Code Checkers that can be utilized by WordPress website owners to keep their websites safe from malware.

Before you begin using any of the tools, ensure that you have a clean backup of your whole website. Otherwise, data loss can be troublesome and might throw your business out of gear as you invest time and effort in recovering the lost data. The WordPress Malicious Code Checkers are:

Astra WordPress Malware Scanner

With Astra’s intelligent malware scanner you can scan your website for malware like pub2srv, Japanese spam, Credit card hack, Malicious redirects, Pharma attack, backdoor etc. Plus, it uncovers to you the exact places (path & file) where you have been infected. Our malware scanner scans a website in less than 10 minutes for the first scan and takes even lesser time for the subsequent scans.

This WordPress Malicious Code Checker tracks file changes in your website, any change in your website code are logged within Astra & available for you to review. At the same time, it also ensures that your WordPress website doesn’t lag and deliver swift performance.

Astra’s Malware Scanner

Virus Total

Another popular WordPress Malicious Code Checker available as an open source is Virus Total, it automatically scans your website for suspicious code, infections, malware or corrupted website and presents you a comprehensive report of the results obtained. Virus total is an open source tool that scans files to 256 MB. It is available for free

Official website of Virus Total

Anti-Malware Security

This WordPress Malicious Code Checker comes in the form of a plugin which scans for suspicious code, scripts, .htaccess threats, backdoors and known-patterns of infections in all folders and files of your website. The author of this plugin actively maintains definitions and new threats are recorded as they are discovered. The only drawback is sometimes the scan takes too much time and can cause the generation of false positive results. The software level firewall that comes with it is also less effective than a DNS level firewall.

Anti Malware Security – WordPress plugin

PCRisk

PCRisk is a free online tool that can be utilized over any type of website including WordPress. According to PCRisk’s official website, it can scan malicious code, hidden iframes, vulnerability exploits, infected files and other suspicious activities.

Theme Authenticity Checker

As discussed above that themes too can be a potential threat to a WordPress website, hence this tool scans the source files of the WordPress themes installed in your website. It scans and points out the distrusted code present in a certain line number of a particular theme. The tool is in the form of a plugin and helps you in easy analysis and removal of malicious code.

Theme Authenticity Checker

 

All In One WP Security & Firewall

A popular plugin of WordPress, it is mainly known for its DB scanning function. The DB Scanner in this WordPress Malicious Code Checker scans for suspicious strings in the core tables of your WordPress websites.

WordPress malicious code checker- All in one WP Security & Firewall

 

Conclusion

These were some of the WordPress Malicious Code Checker tools available in the form of plugins for your Word Press website. Some of these services are free to use, some are paid and premium and some can be customized based on your WordPress website needs. Thus, these WordPress Malicious Code Checker utilities can help you detect for the malicious code present in your WordPress website. They won’t help you with the removal part of the malicious code.

Hence, as a responsible WordPress website administrator, you must use these checker tools to evaluate the vulnerabilities time-to-time and act upon them as soon as they are reported by these utilities. One must also understand that there might be false positives that would be generated by certain utilities. Hence, it is advised to use the best WordPress Malicious Code Checker for your website based on your requirements and your trust and make your WordPress website secure.

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About The Author

Naman Rastogi

Naman is a Digital Marketer & Growth Hacker at Astra. A technology enthusiast with focused interest in website security.

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