Cleaning a Hacked WordPress site.

It’s an unfortunate experience to have your Website maliciously tampered with. In addition to getting the business up and running, we also configured the site in a manner which would make it less likely to be hacked again.

  • Date: 11 December 2018
  • Client: Affiliate Website
  • Project Type: Cyber Security (Trojans)

About this Project

Our client sent us an email, initially asking us to start a SEO campaign on their website, as it went from 500 daily clicks, straight down to 0. Whilst we understood that this can happen with Google Updates, we analysed to check why this happened.

 

  • Affiliate Website generating £1,000 a week.
  • Clicks dropped from 500 to 0, overnight.
  • High Priority Project.
  • Client un-named for future protection.

Task: Cleaning Hacked WordPress site

Nobody likes Hackers! (Unless it’s ethical hacking!). With this project, we stripped it back straight to the customers initial complaint.

We had to investigate if their Search Engine Results had dropped off a cliff. We don’t perform SEO for this client, so there was a possibility that they could have been penalised by Google. There was an update published late November, which co-incided with the Traffic issue.

After performing a full-site Audit, we found a few minor issues but nothing that would cause a meltdown like the client was experiencing. What set us on high-alert was the fact that the site was still in the Top 3 for it’s best keywords. 

Either, the search volume for the Client’s keywords had dropped to zero, meaning that nobody in the UK was searching for this keyword anymore… or there was a drastic issue. 

 We conducted further research, but the keyword volume was still very high. We then advised the client that there was either an Admin error, most likely caused by the Affiliate Link being changed & this is causing the tracking to 0. At this point, we weren’t granted Admin Rights.  We tested the affiliate link manually, and this was confirmed as working.

Once we were given admin rights, we noticed that the Affiliate URL was working, but being cloaked and re-directed via another URL. This URL was nothing to do with our clients website, which is when we informed then there was a Security Breach on their site. 

After taking over the website, flushing the website and checking the core XML files, we noticed that the site had been hacked.

We continued with more procedures to provide the website with an advanced setup, which would increase their defences against hackers.

It was completed within 3 hours of accessing their website, but business has returned to normal. If they hadn’t acted sooner, Google will have removed the website from the top of Google Rankings due to it sending content to inappropriate sources.

Fortunately, we managed to intercept before Google noticed. Business as usual, for our client. They have also continued with us on a Site Maintenance package, with the intention to turn their Hosting over to us (once their contract expires.

Sometimes, it pays to pay a little more for a premium service.

Remember, we are your Wolverhampton Based Agency, specialising in Cyber Security & Online Marketing for your website. In addition to working locally, we also cover all of the United Kingdom. 

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07469 256681