Malware-infected websites pose a risk to site owners and visitors alike. For visitors, infected sites could lead to compromised devices, which could in turn put their personal information at risk. For owners, successful malware attacks could result in damaged reputations, reduced revenues and stolen (or destroyed) data. Danger Will Robinson, danger.
This isn’t an isolated issue: According to recent survey data provided by information-age.com, 4.1 million websites worldwide are infected with malware at any given time. What’s more, 93% of the sites weren’t flagged as compromised, increasing the risk for visitors and owners alike.
The result? Companies must find, remove and, wherever possible, prevent malware on their websites. Here’s how.
Methods of Checking for Website Malware
Detailed in a report by ibm.com, in 2022, it took companies an average of 277 days to both detect and contain a breach. This is bad news for businesses but great news for attackers: The longer they go undetected, the more damage they can cause.
To help reduce the time between infection and detection, regular website checks are critical. Wondering how to scan a website for malware? Common options include:
Remote Security Scans
Remote security tools can help scan a domain for malware. These solutions are available as both traditional applications or cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) and are designed to check for the telltale signs of malware. If malicious files are found, the tools notify site owners and suggest specific actions.
Check Recently Modified Files
Another way to check your domain for malware is to check any recently modified files. Here’s why: When compromising sites, malicious actors prefer to go unnoticed as much as possible. To accomplish this aim, they often modify files to add new code but keep file names the same. Regularly checking when files have been updated can help pinpoint potential problems.
Check Security Authorities
You can also use tools provided by popular search authorities to scan your site.
For example, the Google Transparency Report lets you conduct site diagnostics to spot potential problems. You simply enter your domain name, conduct the scan, and then check the diagnostics to see if any issues were detected.
The Google Search Console, meanwhile, lets you enter and scan your domain to detect and flag issues. Enter your domain name, run the scan and then check the “Security and Manual Actions” tab to see the results.
Another option is the Bing Webmasters toolset. Along with SEO, reporting and dashboard metrics, the “Security” section of this toolset lets you run site diagnostics to check for potential compromises.
Utilize Security Software
It’s also worth considering the use of security software solutions such as firewalls and intrusion detection tools capable of flagging issues before they become bigger problems.
How to Remove Malware From a Website
If malware is detected on your website, don’t panic, the next step is to remove it.
Ensure You Have a Backup
The world isn’t all candy and sprinkles, malware happens. And when it does, it’s worth data backups that can help restore operations ASAP. Common backup options include on-site servers that have additional protection to prevent compromise, cloud-based backups for on-demand access, or physical media such as hard drives or USBs that aren’t part of local networks but can be accessed as needed.
Worth noting? Creating a comprehensive and effective backup requires knowledge and expertise. As a result, it may be worth partnering with an experienced security provider for this service.
Replace Core Files
You can also remove malware by replacing core system files that underpin key functionality. While effective, this process does come with risk — if the wrong files are replaced, critical operations could be compromised. Expert assistance is often worth the cost.
Replace or Restore Corrupted Files
Malware attacks often corrupt files that govern website operations, making it possible for them to affect almost all aspects of site functionality. By repairing or replacing these files, you may be able to remove malware and get sites back on track.
How to Prevent Website Malware
While detecting and removing malware helps reduce attack impact, if companies can prevent website malware, they can avoid the issue altogether. Effective ways to prevent malware infections include:
Remove Accessible Backdoors
Attackers look for the easiest way into your network. As a result, it’s worth removing accessible backdoors such as accounts that don’t use two-factor authentication or hardware that doesn’t require access credentials. By locking digital doors, companies can frustrate attacker efforts.
Utilize SiteLock Security
SiteLock is a global leader in website security that makes it possible for companies to automatically detect and remove malware, in turn saving both time and money. Trusted hosting providers — such as Name.com — offer website security plans that include SiteLock solutions.
Avoid Phishing Scams and Targeted Attacks
Beware of phishing emails. These targeted attacks remain popular because they’re so successful. If attackers can convince users to provide account details or click on malicious links, they may be able to gain network access without being detected.
By teaching staff to recognize the telltale signs of phishing, such as misspelled email addresses, messages that ask them to do something URGENTLY or that direct them to suspicious websites, companies can reduce the risk of getting hooked.
Minimizing the Malware Impact
Ready to minimize the malware impact? Start with secure sockets layer (SSL) solutions combined with SiteLock security to ensure site security and increase user trust. Then, make sure you’re equipped to effectively detect and remove malware ASAP and get operations back on track.
Ready to streamline your site security? See how Name.com can help.