My first indication came from a friend who sent me a DM telling me that Google was blocking my site because of unsafe content. However, when I went to check it, everything was fine. A couple of days later, another friend told me she too had been alerted to possible malware on my site. Hmmm…. I began to check, but my results were spotty.
One big clue was that the searches that landed people on my site were for free software. Just for the record, you won’t be able to get free copies of MS Office on my site.
However, when I ran some scans, I discovered my site definitely had been infected – now came the arduous process of removing the malware. I thought it wouldn’t bee too hard – I was wrong. I thought my web host would protect me – I was wrong. I figured there’d be a cool tool I could download and remove the offending software – wrong again. I thought WordPress was impervious – wrong. I thought I had taken appropriate steps to protect my site – WRONG!!!
So began my journey. I learned more about PHP, SQL, and their respective databases than I’d ever known before. I now have an Amazon S3 backup and I’m making regular backups of my database and files. I’ve been working on this for several weeks, but kept running into roadblocks. I was just about to say “uncle” and pay a company $90 to fix it – when I found a way to do it myself.
I was able to export my posts to save them (thankfully I had other WordPress blogs that are unused). Then I deleted all the files, the WP installation, and the databases that constitute my blog. Anyone who’s ever done an emergency reformat of a hard drive knows that you will always lose something when you wipe your files clear. After reinstalling WP, re-importing the posts, and reinstalling the plugins and setting them up, it looks like the only thing I’ve lost are my tags and categories, and my site stats. Oh, and the offending malware!
So, again, let me apologize. I’ve taken further steps to protect myself – and hopefully you too. Please let me know if you have any problems. Now that I know what I’m doing, I’ll get right on it quicker.