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Viruses on the website: how to detect, cure and eliminate the damage caused

Infecting a website with viruses is a very common occurrence that occurs much more often than many people think. We invite you to discuss the dangers of malicious code entering your web project, as well as how to identify and eliminate this threat.

The site is in danger: what risks do viruses pose?

The main threat is the breakdown of the functionality of your project, partially or completely. Imagine a situation where, when visiting your website, you only see a white screen or a redirect to an untrusted resource.

In addition, a virus attack can lead to the display of someone else’s advertising, disruption of the page structure, loss of data and other troubles. A “black mark” from Google or Yandex in the form of a warning about the security of your site, of course, will instantly scare away potential customers.

In addition to the risk of loss of traffic and losses, there is also the threat of a negative impact on the site’s ranking in search engines, and in some cases even blocking it completely.

For a business, these threats turn into serious financial losses: costs for website restoration and lost profits due to downtime.

How to determine if your site is infected

There are several obvious signs that indicate the presence of a virus on the site.

You should be vigilant if you notice the following problems or a combination of them:

  1. A sharp decrease in the number of visitors to the site.
  2. Increased loading time for resource pages.
  3. Increased bounce rate for no apparent reason.
  4. Errors appearing in Google Search Console.
  5. The antivirus built into the browser blocks access to the site.
  6. Violation of site functionality — some functions have become unavailable or do not work correctly.
  7. The site stopped working altogether — white pages are displayed when loading.
  8. Content that you did not add appears on project pages.
  9. Problems with feedback.
  10. New folders and files appear on the server.
  11. Received notification from Google that there is malware when using Google Tag Manager.

All these signs indicate that your site has been subject to a virus attack, and the infected resource has become easy prey for attackers or a platform for spam.

Why are viruses on the site dangerous?

Let’s look at the dangers posed by the presence of viruses on a website:

Complete breakdown of the site (white screen)
A virus can cause a site to crash, causing visitors to only see a white screen when they try to access it.

Partial breakdown of functionality
Malicious code can damage part of the site’s functionality, making it impossible to place orders, send applications, and other important actions.

Complete or partial loss of access
A virus can limit or completely prevent you from accessing your site, which can be a serious problem.

Identity theft
Attackers can steal personal data of the site owner and clients, which can lead to serious consequences.

Website blocking by search engines and antiviruses
Your site may be blocked by search engines and antivirus programs, which will greatly reduce its traffic.

Reduced traffic
A virus can lead to a decrease in the number of visitors to the site.

Exclusion from search results
If your site is blocked or contains malware, it may be excluded from search results.

Loss of user trust
Visitors may lose trust in your site if they encounter problems due to viruses.

Sanctions and domain security threats
A virus on your website can lead to penalties and domain security threats.

Lowering Domain Authority
Malicious code on a website can reduce the authority of your domain in the eyes of search engines and users.

How does a virus get onto a website?

Regarding the mechanisms by which viruses enter a website, four main routes can be distinguished:

Password selection
Using weak passwords and standard logins can lead to site hacking. Attackers can use a «Brute force» attack to brute force passwords.

Vulnerabilities on the site
If your site has vulnerabilities, attackers can use them to inject malicious code.

Unprotected computer or network
Viruses on the computer or network through which the site is accessed can cause infection.

Hosting vulnerabilities or incorrect server configuration
Incorrect server configuration or hosting vulnerabilities can also serve as a path for viruses.

Choosing a strong password

Let’s look at the issue of password selection and why password security plays a key role in protecting web resources.

Why is it important

One of the most common methods of hacking web resources is password guessing. It is important to understand that weak passwords and standard logins are a real boon for attackers. Passwords such as “admin”, “user”, “1111”, “qwerty”, “1234” and the like have long been known and are widely used by attackers when attacking websites.

Which password is considered weak?

Often, attackers gain access to a site when the resource owner uses standard authorization addresses in the admin panel and then uses a simple password brute force attack known as «Brute force». This attack is carried out using special software that generates and verifies various combinations of logins and passwords to enter the site’s administrative panel or to access the project database. Attackers can use this method to steal personal data, introduce malicious software and gain complete control over the resource.