Over the past 3 months I’ve discovered viruses on the sites of 4 of my clients. On one of the sites Google Analytics showed that 40% of the traffic coming into the Home page was being redirected, and the site visitor was receiving a 404 error.
I don’t know a lot about how viruses work, and at first I thought the site owners had infected their sites by uploading from their own computers. With more research I found information about a virus that is not new, but it seems to be spreading more quickly than before.
The bad guys have found ways to hack into the ftp account, which allows them to do just about anything they want with your site. This virus shows up under a variety of names but the result is the same: Your website will be flagged and you will need to jump through some hoops with Google to get it released. The site could be down for 3 days or more.
The basic steps to recovery are:
1) Prove that you are the site owner
3) Ask Google to check your site and remove the warning.
You can read full instructions from Google about Malware and Hacked Sites to learn what to do.
Of course it’s best to have a backup of your entire website before you need it. Once your site is infected, the cleanup and recovery process can be pretty expensive. Save the database files with a plugin (I use WP-DB Manager) and download the site files through ftp.
If you don’t have time or don’t know how to do this type of backup, we’ll take care of it for you as part of our Monthly Maintenance Program. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org