How to Clean-Up a WordPress Website Infected with SocGholish Malware

- Security, WordPress

Is your WordPress website infected with SocGholish malware? This malicious software can compromise your site’s security and reputation if not promptly dealt with. Cleaning up malware from your WordPress site requires a systematic approach to ensure thorough removal and prevent future attacks. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you effectively clean up your infected WordPress website:

Step 1: Identify the Infection
The first step is to confirm that your site is indeed infected with SocGholish malware. Signs of infection may include unusual redirects, suspicious files in your WordPress installation, or warnings from security plugins or Google Safe Browsing. Use security scanning tools like Sucuri SiteCheck or Wordfence to scan your site and identify malicious files and code injections.

Step 2: Backup Your Website
Before proceeding with any cleanup process, it’s crucial to create a full backup of your WordPress website. This ensures that you have a safe copy of your site in case anything goes wrong during the cleanup.

Step 3: Remove Unauthorized Access
Change all passwords associated with your WordPress site, including the admin password, FTP/SFTP passwords, and database passwords. Ensure that strong, unique passwords are used to prevent unauthorized access in the future.

Step 4: Update WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins
Outdated WordPress core files, themes, and plugins are common entry points for malware. Update all components to their latest versions to patch vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of reinfection.

Step 5: Clean Malicious Files and Code
Manually inspect your WordPress installation for suspicious files and code injections. Look for unfamiliar files, particularly in directories like wp-content/uploads, wp-includes, and the root directory. Remove any files or code that you determine to be malicious.

Step 6: Scan and Remove Malware Using Security Plugins
Utilize reputable WordPress security plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri Security, or MalCare to conduct a thorough malware scan. These plugins can identify and help you remove malware from your site automatically.

Step 7: Check and Repair File Permissions
Review and correct file permissions on your WordPress site to ensure that they are set correctly. Directories should typically have permissions set to 755, and files should be set to 644. Incorrect permissions can potentially lead to security vulnerabilities.

Step 8: Harden Security Measures
Implement additional security measures to harden your WordPress site against future attacks. This includes using strong passwords, limiting login attempts, enabling two-factor authentication, and installing a web application firewall (WAF).

Step 9: Verify Site Cleanliness
After performing the cleanup, use security scanning tools to verify that your WordPress site is now free of malware. Ensure that all identified vulnerabilities have been addressed and resolved.

Step 10: Submit Your Site for Review
If your site was blacklisted by search engines due to the malware infection, submit it for review to have the warning removed. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools provide processes for requesting a review.

Step 11: Monitor and Maintain Regular Backups
Regularly monitor your WordPress site for any signs of unusual activity or malware. Maintain up-to-date backups so that you can quickly restore your site to a clean state if needed.

Need More Help?

Zealth specializes specifically in WordPress. We can assist in auditing, cleaning, and hardening your WordPress powered website. Simply send an email to [email protected] to open a ticket.