How to Remove Malware – Infected Site Guide

There’s been a surge of hacker activity lately leading to malware on WordPress sites. If your are experiencing any of the following issues, then this guide on how to remove malware may help you clean up the damage done to your site and/or server. Please note this guide is written for beginners and the common WordPress use. Therefore, I intentionally do not cover advanced technical trouble-shooting.

What is Malware?

Firstly, we have to understand what the heck malware is – after all, you can’t fight something you can’t define. So let’s go with the definition given to us by Wikipedia:

Malware, short for malicious software, consists of programming (code, scripts, active content, and other software) that is designed to disrupt or deny operation, gather information that leads to loss of privacy or exploitation, or gain unauthorized access to system resources, or that otherwise exhibits abusive behavior.

Now we know that malware is essentially code that somehow got onto your site or server. The first step is figuring out whether your site actually has malware. Here are some common symptoms of malware on WordPress sites:

This guide consists of the following sections so that you can follow along step-by-step:

  1. Determine If Site is Infected with Malware
  2. Backup current site (as-is)
  3. Review and remove erroneous files
  4. Timthumb Notes
  5. Update WordPress files
  6. Update wp-config.php file
  7. Update / Remove Themes and Plugins
  8. Update Usernames and Passwords
  9. Clear Browser and Site Cache
  10. Re-Scan Site for Malware
  11. Conclusion

The guide assumes the following:

  • you wish to avoid starting your site fresh, in which case, you could simply delete the entire site and wordpress database and start over without completing any of these steps.
  • you wish to restore your site to its pre-infected state.

Let’s begin…

Charlie

Charlie Patel is a world traveler, WordPress geek, serial entrepreneur, & consultant to big-shots in the corporate world and on the web. Otherwise, he's just planning the next trip or in some far-away land. He runs WPsite.net (this awesome site!).

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