Today the Internet is an essential channel for communication, advertisements, trading, analytics, education, news, consulting, and tons of other reasons. The number of websites there is reaching 2 billion pages. Many users maintain their websites and are interested in their excellent work and safety, directly impacting their popularity.
Nobody will revisit your website if there are errors, malware, or viruses. It also goes down in all search engines, and all efforts to develop the website will be for nothing. Viruses can steal your and your user’s private data, lead to incorrect work and blockage, which cause loss of income.
So, it is crucial not only to protect your website and constantly check it for viruses and malware, but hackers every day invent new ways to attack.
How To Check A Website For Virus Infection?
The methods of website checking for threats can be different and should include two types: checking the content and checking the code. Viruses in the content can be hidden in comments, chats, and files, and it is easier to find them; to find coding viruses, you need more deep search as the whole script should be checked.
The viruses are usually inserted in the additional coding at the beginning or end. Proper website analytics for viruses should include both checks. It is recommended to start using all methods of checking, especially if you see any of the described cases in point one below.
1. Check Manually By Indirect Causes
The website owner and its users can understand that the Internet source is infected even before starting any program, checking if they experience:
- The internet provider sends a notification about infection.
- New external links, files, folder pop-up windows, and advertisements appeared on the website that the developer did not create. Also, the creation dates of files and folders were updated.
- The website starts to work significantly slower.
- The antivirus program alerts you to check the website for viruses.
- The number of visitors increased drastically without new posts. Usually, these are boots.
- New website administrators that are unknown to the website owner.
If you observe these, go to the next point without waiting, you are on edge to lose control of your website.
2. Check via Search Engines
Another way to check if your website is infected is to check indexation in search engines. Search engines (Google, Yandex) check the website coding for malware and viruses before indexation but can miss some threats if they are located in zip/ rar files. So, suppose you are trying manually to find your website in search engines and could not find where it previously was (it could be blocked with notification of infection or significantly dropped in the search list). In that case, you should check it for potential viruses
This method does not guarantee 100% accuracy, but you should definitely go next and to the most efficient way to define if your website is infected or not.
3. Check Using Programs – Online Scanners or Antivirus
Each website should be regularly checked with virus scanners. It could be an antivirus program on your computer or with online resources. It is recommended to use in addition an online scanner for checking, even if you already have performed your installed antivirus check. An online scanner is able to find up to 90% of threats; the rest should be checked only manually in the website coding. After performing the virus scan online scanners provide a detailed report about the virus life on your website – where it is located when it came, and how it influences the website performance.
Typically, trustable scanners include several antiviruses, which is why they are so effective in finding worms, Trojans, malware, and other infections. Online scanners imitate the real users on the website to find vulnerabilities and check the coding before and after performing the scripts. To start checking the website, you need to insert its URL and wait for the security analysis.
Avast, Quttera, Dr. Web, PR-CY, Sucuri, Kaspersky VirusDesk, and Antivirus Alarm are the most reliable scanners. The virus check is a free feature at many scanners, but the treatment some scanners can propose costs some money.
How Can A Website Be Infected?
There are several ways how the virus can be infected if it is a massive attack:
- Through unprotected control systems.
- Old not-updated software.
- Free software may include threats.
- Errors in the coding that allow unauthorized access.
Massive attacks usually include CSS attacks, LFI, and SQL injection coding.
To prevent the infection at the initial step, use only proper software, update it regularly, and check your website’s coding twice. The attack can even be ordered by your competitor and be very serious. Still, these are expensive attacks requiring manual searching or vulnerabilities and passwords, so they are not so frequent.
What To Do If Your Website is Infected?
If you determine viruses and malware presence on your website using three previous ways of checking, you need to treat and protect the website immediately. Some essential steps should be performed:
- The infected website should be disconnected from the Internet to prevent harmful attacks on the users.
- Change passwords.
- If you have a backup of data from the website from the previous safe check, use it and change the current one.
- Check all users and delete suspicious registered ones.
- Check all files, templates, databases, scripts, and coding. Try to find the differences with the original versions from developers. Delete all suspicious extra data.
If you still experience problems with your website, you may need professional help. Many antivirus programs and online scanners can offer additional support, not for free, but this might be the only way to solve the problem.
All websites should be constantly checked. The hacker attacks change every day, and their consequences are not so evident in some cases; it could be the loss of personal data, spam to the users, blockage of separate pages, or stealing the whole resource. No matter its origin, the article proposes three ways to check your website for viruses and malware; these methods are free.