If you visited my blog in mid-July at some point you were probably greeted by a message that looked something like this:
Despite my fairly neurotic computer a**-covering tendencies and anti-virus software (Avast) I caught the equivalent of a miserable summer cold: malware. Not only did it infect my blog but it also brought down my computer. It also coincided with my return to work, which meant (a) I needed my computer to be fully functioning (b) I didn’t have time to deal with it. Three days after the first message appeared I finally sat down at 8 pm and hit Google up for some ‘wordpress blog infected with malware’ answers. Four hours later I was almost in tears.
According to Wikipedia (21st century dictionary) malware is:
Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or created to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software.
Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs. In law, malware is sometimes known as a computer contaminant, as in the legal codes of several U.S. states.
Despite being fairly comfortable in WordPress and with basic coding I started to sweat when I came across the steps for ridding my blog of malware. It involved getting into the nitty gritty code of my blog with warnings of ‘be careful what code you edit because you could take down your entire site‘.
(insert bullets of sweat and tears)
Thankfully I stumbled upon Sucuri and within several hours my blog was cleaned up and the Google blacklist removed.
The clean-up process cost $89 and was worth every penny. Not only was my blog back up and functioning within hours but I followed their step-by-step process to protect my blog from future attacks. Curious about what you can do to protect your blog from falling victim to malware? Check out Sucuri’s suggestions.
Based on their report it looks like the attack came through an old theme in WordPress that I hadn’t updated and was no longer using. As part of the clean-up I deleted all the unused plug-ins and themes as well as updated all the plug-ins and themes that I was using.
I also downloaded Malwarebytes for my desktop computer since my anti-virus program hadn’t protected us from the attack. To purchase a copy of the program (there are free versions of the software) costs $26. Because my computer is an integral part of my business (photos don’t edit themselves) I can’t afford for it to be out of commission for even 24 hours.
Has your computer system or blog ever fallen victim to malware?