My Website Has Been Hacked And Redirected – Is your WordPress site redirecting users to unknown malicious sites? If yes, then your website might be hacked.The famous WordPress redirect hack is one of the most popular WP hacks by hackers. There is a reason behind this much abuse, more on that below.
The ‘WordPress hacked redirect’ to suspicious domains is not a new hack. Over the years, hackers have developed this virus to make it subtle and difficult for you to detect. Here are some variations of the WordPress redirect hack:
My Website Has Been Hacked And Redirected
Hacked redirects have been around for a long time. Whenever someone visits your website, they are redirected to suspicious links like pharmacy websites, adult websites etc.
How To Know If You Have Been Hacked
When the website is opened by entering the URL in the browser, it opens correctly. But when it is opened with a search on Google, it turns to a malicious website.
When the site opens only on mobile devices or redirects only when opened on desktop depending on the type of malware present.
We have seen this since the last few months where hackers are showing browser notifications to your visitors. These push notifications often refer to pornographic websites.
In some cases, some of your visitors may see the redirect and others may not. This may be because hackers are planning their malware to work only for certain geographies. As for specific malware replication, it can also be tailored based on the hackers’ geography.
Why Do Hackers Hack Websites
Currently, we see cases where WordPress sites are activated to links like travelinskydream[.]ga, track.lowerskyactive and perspective phishing pages.
Actually, there may be more or more ways that hackers can perform this hack. Some of them are listed below:
The file is ignored by free security plugins. For WordPress sites that refer to Pharma sites, we found that malicious code was injected into the site
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An encrypted file like any normal code. Hackers put the code in such a way that you can’t even see this code hidden in the file unless you scroll very far to the right. This makes it more difficult to detect and remove such redirect hacks. Apart from these two files, you should also check all WordPress core files like
Tags. This can be useful for adding JS code to Google Analytics, Facebook, Google Search dashboard, etc. We have seen such features being misused by hackers to take back WordPress sites.
In an attempt to make it harder to find, the URL of a malicious website is often converted from a string format to its own code. Here is the converted code:
Due to the increased possibility of vulnerabilities in plugins, it is sometimes possible for hackers to create fake users or admins on your website. Once a hacker becomes an administrator, they gain full access to your site and add backdoors and redirection code to your site.
WordPress Hacked: What To Do When Your Site Is In Trouble
Hackers can gain access to websites by inserting code into WordPress core files. Check these files for bad code:
, plugins, theme folders, etc. The same secret code is usually added at the top of all JS files.
Tables is the most targeted table in the WordPress database. Spam site links and JS codes are often found in individual posts or pages.
File on your server that contains malicious PHP code. This malicious PHP code is known to perform malicious actions on websites such as entering URLs, creating admin accounts, installing plugins/trojans, creating phishing pages, etc.
Has Your WordPress Site Been Hacked? How To Check & Fix It
It pollutes your server with spam files. These files have malicious code in them instead of the actual image code. Some of the code used to upload such files can be seen below:
To begin the malware scanning process, you first need to identify the type of redirect hack your website is experiencing. After you have done this by referring to the steps mentioned above, we have to find the malicious code and remove it from your website.
You can choose an automatic or manual malware scanning solution. Here are some steps you can take to remove bad redirects from your site and prevent redirect hacks:
For non-technical WordPress users, a malware removal solution like Astra will be a quick and easy way to find, remove, and fix WordPress redirect problems without breaking your site.
Removing Malicious Redirects From Your Site (step By Step Guide)
If you want to analyze your own website and find a solution based on the type of redirect hack you are facing, follow each step provided beforehand.
As a preliminary check, you can scan your website using tools such as the free Astra Security Scanner and Google Safe Browsing. If your site contains a link to an unapproved URL, you will be notified by these tools. You will also see a short (non-exhaustive) list of the malicious code snippets found on your website. For a deep scan, you must manually scan all of the site’s files or search for malware.
To see if malicious code has been added to the WordPress core file, you can check the integrity of the file using WP-CLI. To conduct such an audit, follow these steps:
To see the difference between the original CMS file and the original file, you can perform an analysis of the integrity of the original file with Astra.
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Hackers often leave a path back to your site. Backdoors usually exist in files called legitimate files.
Etc. Note that these features are also used by WordPress plugins for legal reasons, so make sure you take a backup or get help so the site doesn’t go down suddenly.
Log in to your WordPress admin area, and check if any ghost/anonymous users have been added. Hackers often add themselves as administrators to keep access to your website and restore it even after removing the redirect hack.
If you find such a user, immediately delete the account and change the password on all other Administrator accounts.
Signs You Have Been Hacked
While you’re at it, also make sure (as your site requires) that the membership option called “Can Register” is disabled and the “New Default User Role” option is set to Subscriber.
Click ‘Plugins’ on the left panel to see all the plugins installed on your site. If you see any unknown plugins, disable them.
For plugins with updates available, check the WordPress plugin changelog for recent security issues. Also check your plugin files for backdoors and redirection code as mentioned in step #4 above.
Use an online tool (eg diff checker) to compare the plugins files first. You can do this by downloading the same plugin from the WordPress plugin repository and syncing your installed plugins with those.
Has My Site Been Hacked?
But it also has its limitations. Since you will be using multiple plugins, it is not always possible to compare each file. Also, if the redirect hack is due to zero day, there is a possibility that the plugin update is not available.
You can manually search your WordPress database for common PHP vulnerabilities like we did for backdoor detection. Log in to a database management tool such as phpMyAdmin or Admin. Select the database your website uses and search for terms like
Be very careful before making any changes, as even small changes like spacing can break the site from loading or working properly.
With Astra’s award-winning website security solution that includes a firewall and malware scanner, your website will be thoroughly monitored and protected not only from WordPress redirect hacks but also from Internet, viruses, Trojans etc.
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Since redirect malware is widespread, we have done some detailed hacking to fix video streaming. Although hackers are constantly innovating their methods to stay under the radar of security companies, the basic principles remain the same.
Hackers are constantly changing their tactics, exploiting unknown vulnerabilities around the world, and combining various exploits to create hacks. While removing hacks is one part, making sure no one gets hacked requires something more permanent – like Astra Security 🙂
Tags: hacked redirect site, wordpress malware hack, wordpress redirect hack, wordpress redirect, redirecting hacked wordpress site, redirect wordpress site
Ananda Krishna is the co-founder & CTO of Astra Security, a SaaS division that protects businesses from cyber threats. Approved by Indian Navy, Microsoft, United Airlines, etc. by finding critical security vulnerabilities in their systems. Winner of Best Security Product at World Internet Conference 2017 (awarded by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India) & French Technology Ticket, Paris (awarded by François Hollande, former President of France). In Astra he creates a psychological defense system
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