If you are using WordPress, Joomla (or any other CMS), and it is not already using the stable current version, take a minute to update please. Why? Because out-of-date software is the leading cause of infections. This includes your CMS version, plugins, themes, and any other extension type.
Choose a good and strong password. What often defines a good password is built around three core components – Complex, Long and Unique. The argument most made when it comes to passwords is that it’s too difficult to remember multiple passwords. This is true. It’s also why Password Managers were created.
Password Tip: Start using a password manager: Peguta and LastPass are good ones to use (online and free).
We cannot stress the importance of changing all passwords to include those not related to your CMS. Your website has various access points, attackers understand this and because of this they will often exploit multiple points of entry. At a minimum, be sure to update the password for all administrator accounts. We say all because often users will create more administrators than they require and will often update one, but forget about the rest. There really is no better time to clean than after a compromise, take advantage of this time.
If you are using a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc…) change your database password. Please be sure to update your configuration file – Joomla: configuration.php and WordPress: wp-config.php. This is not an automated process so you will need to know how to open those files and edit manually. If you’re not familiar with handling changes in your database and configuration files, contact your host.
*If you don’t know how to change your passwords (specified above), contact your hosting company for details. You can also Google for “YOUR HOSTING COMPANY – FTP password” for instructions how to do so.
In a lot of cases we see that websites are compromised via local environments (notebooks, desktops, etc..). Its why we always ask you take a minute to run an Anti-Virus product. If you’re OK with spending a little money, BitDefender is leading the pack in malware detection on MAC’s and PC’s. Other alternatives includes Kaspersky for Windows and MAC, and Sophos and F-Secure for Windows. You can also try Avast, MSE, Spybot that are free alternatives and very good. Here is the bottom-line, it doesn’t matter how many times your site gets cleared, if your desktop is not clean, your site can get reinfected quite easily.
After the site is clean and secure, a very good practice is to do daily backups at a minimum. We do offer an offsite backup service that once configured will automatically backup your sites files and databases at a an interval you define.
Whether you’re a Sucuri client or not, it doesn’t matter, we recommend leveraging their Free WordPress Security plugin. They provide detailed instructions on how to install and provide a more in depth discussion on WordPress Security Monitoring.
Too often the issues we see plaguing our clients are caused by “soup kitchen” servers. Old installations of their content management systems, themes or plugins. Over time these old installs become forgotten but grow ripe with malware that’s ready to infest their entire server after each clean. Take a minute to separate those things that belong on a test, staging and production server.