Take Charge of your InboxRecently some bozo hacked the Gubmints.com blog and tricked the 800-lb-gorilla of online searches to think that GubMints is just a euphemism for selling boner pills.  It was tricking the search engines to link to content providers who sell stuff that rhymes with ‘Niagra’.

Here’s what I learned, and here’s how to prevent your WordPress (.org) blog from getting hacked like mine did.  This is NOT what I expected to be wasting spending my time on when I decided to host a personal finance blog.

If your blog has not been hacked yet, DO THIS NOW:

1) Log in as the administrator and install WordFence (the free edition is ok).  Do everything WordFence recommends, including opt-in for automatic updates.  Then grab a cold beverage- Your blog is now pretty much safe.

If your blog and/or its search engine results have been compromised (as mine was), here’s what to do:

1) Backup your website via FTP
Run a backup of your site to your hard drive via FTP in case you brick the Website and need to recover.  You should probably do this once per month anyway
2) Install WordFence and Run the WordFence Scan
There’s a pretty good summary of how to clean your WordPress site here.
3) Clean/remove infected files

Contact your ISP and ask them if they can help locate the suspect files.

In my case, I called GoDaddy (who had actual live help), and they walked me through the suspicious files (evidently this stuff happens all the time).

GoDaddy alerted me to the suspect files:
css.php
sltranslate.php
image-media.php
wp-hloper.php
I also edited the following file under their guidance:
.htaccess
4) Delete unused plugins and themes from the server
Note: WordFence will do this for you if you ask it to.
5) Check the blog/theme

Go look at a ‘live’ view of your Website and make sure the new or updated theme displays properly.

6) UPDATE EZ Adsense if you change the theme!

7) Go back to the Google Search Console page and do a ‘Fetch as Google’ for your website.

In my case, I found that my site gubmints.com displayed properly on the search engine and was good.   I also did ‘Fetch as Google’ for the malware page that was previously flagged by the search engine to verify it was no longer there.

Well that’s it.  Goes to show you that an Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!


One thought on “Surviving a Hack Attack on your WordPress Blog

  1. Glad you’re back; I really appreciate all the great advice and insights!
    Although I have to admit, I couldn’t resist an involuntary titter when I read who’d briefly hijacked your terrific blog. May their towering tumescence be plunged into the perilous precipice, never to rise again.

    Reply

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