Remember the time mom would check for monsters under the bed before tucking you in? Well, you are all grown up now, and the monsters have found a new way to haunt you – in the form of malware corrupting your precious WordPress website! And you can’t just say their names and banish the vermin to hell!
Fortunately, there’s a way to find these – using a good website malware scanner, that can reveal even the most complex threat to your WordPress site! There are different types of malware scanners, based on what they scan to identify possible breaches in the website. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Types of website malware scanners
1. Scanners that look for signatures & patterns
The first approach is pattern matching through signatures. It checks a sequence of tokens for the presence of the constituents of a particular pattern. This is done by checking signatures, which is like a digital fingerprint of a piece of malware. Signatures include a unique string of bits and a binary pattern representing the malware.
Each time the security scanner scans the site, it scavenges the file and seeks to find out if the byte in the signatures matches the byte in the file. The limitation of this approach is that it has to be an exact match. Attackers easily bypass signatures by tweaking, mutating or obfuscating the code. A scanner that is solely based on a pattern or signature matching becomes powerless against a smart hacker.
2. Scanners that seek malicious keywords
Another approach is to identify malware through keywords. This can include phrases like eval or base64_decode. However, not all suspicious code use keywords. Also, there are valid and good codes that use these keywords. As a result, this will only lead to a proliferation of false alarms.
3. Scanning for differences in core files
Malware can also be identified by examining in-depth your local WordPress core files and comparing them to official WordPress core files. Hackers often try to insert malicious code in these files, making it difficult to detect.
Since WordPress is an open source platform, this method can be effective to an extent. However, if you have made changes to WordPress core files, it can show up as false positives when you run a scan. In addition, malware does not necessarily reside in core files, it can be sitting elsewhere unnoticed as well. Nonetheless, you can still look for changes in the core files and keep a watch out for drastic changes in the file size.
4. Scanners that look for differences in WordPress plugins
Similar to comparing the WordPress core files, you can also spot malware by matching local plugin files with the official one in the public repository. But, the problem is that not all plugins are readily available for public view and there can also be different versions of the plugins. Additionally, plugins can also have modifications that are not yet reflected in the repository. The success rate of detecting malware through this medium is quite low.
5. Scanners that seek recently modified files
There is a possibility of finding malware in recently modified files. If you or your team did not make any changes, then chances are that a hacker might have accessed it. Diagnostic tools will look for changes in the recently modified files under multiple directories and send you an alert based on file hash, timestamp and file size. You can exclude files and directories from the security scan to avoid false positives. However, hackers are getting smarter by the day and can reset the time of modification, making it hard for you to uncover those files.
6. Scanning for malware in unknown files & WordPress root folder
Finally, scanners can also look for unknown files and folders in the root folder of your WordPress site installation. Other vulnerable folders can be the plugin and themes folder. Any presence of unknown .php files or extra folders can signify danger. After scanning your site for various web security threats, such as code injections, malicious hidden iframes, hidden eval code, and backdoors on your behalf, most scanners will create a report to show you a list of suspicious files.
How MalCare is different from the other malware scanners?
WordPress Malware scanners in the market employ one or more of the mechanisms described above. As seen, each has its own set of limitations that can be exploited by hackers. For starters, a common problem with most scanners is that they are simply looking for known malware with pattern matching, keyword matching and other criteria.
This is where MalCare stands apart and employs a radically different approach. Rather than following a primitive approach with a step-based algorithm, MalCare’s website scanning mechanism is a sophisticated branched system. Malware is detected using over than 100 intelligent signals.
In addition, most of the scanners tend to slow down your website because they use your site’s server resources to run scans. On the other hand, MalCare runs all its processing on its own server. It syncs your website on to its server and then conducts the website malware scan using its own server resources. It’s technologically far superior to detect the slightest of abnormalities and identify threats faster than other malware scanners. What’s more, MalCare offers automatic, flexible scans, therefore protecting your website from threats at all times!
Over to you
Before you choose a website scanner for your site, examine its features and figure out which ones work well for you and choose accordingly. Here is a comprehensive guide that compares the various scanners and malware cleaners available in the market today.
MalCare goes an extra mile beyond traditional signature matching protocol and can serve to be a powerful choice to fight malware successfully. Malware scanning your website is only the first step towards curing your WordPress site! If you learn that your website is hacked, then the next step is to clean it immediately. You can use MalCare’s malware removal plugin to clean your site under 5 mins.
Suspect your site has hidden malware on it?
Find out for certain with MalCare!