Malware is short for malicious software and can be inserted into the code of a website using vulnerabilities or hacking. If a user then visits the website which contains malware, it can attack their machine and do a number of malicious things such as stealing information or spreading more malware.
How can malware infect my website?
Pretty much every website online is built using a CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal or an eCommerce one such as Magento. Malware works by exploiting vulnerabilities in the code of these systems.
Unfortunately, if a vulnerability exists on one website that uses a particular CMS, this vulnerability may also exist on other websites that use the same CMS. This means that hackers will target popular CMSs such as Wordpress because it’s efficient to target them.
You can take a number of steps to protect your website from Malware, at the most basic level you should keep your CMS up to date and keep any plugins or extensions that you use up to date too.
What happens if malware infects my website?
If malware infects your website, your users are likely to be affected directly by whatever the malware is designed to do. It may be that it attempts to steal personal information or payment details or to drop affiliate codes on them.
Once malware is detected by Google, they will also show warning messages in their Chrome browser which will stop users from visiting your website. They will also remove it from Google search results if the problem persists and isn’t fixed quickly, meaning that you’ll lose traffic and almost certainly, conversions and revenue.
This is why we tell you as soon as we know that malware is present on your website.
What do I do if malware infects my website?
The first course of action is usually to contact your hosting provider who can often investigate the problem and if possible, remove the malware by restoring an older backup of your website. This is why it’s important to choose a good, solid hosting provider who runs backups and is capable of supporting you if something goes wrong.