How to Find a Backdoor in a Hacked WordPress Site and Slam It Shut

Updated November 15th, 2017
Updated November 15th, 2017
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Backdoor is a term used for the method of bypassing a normal authentication process and gain access to the server remotely without getting detected or noticed.  Generally smart hackers upload the backdoor file as the first thing because this allows the hacker to regain the access even after they are traced and their plugin is destroyed. Often a Backdoor in a hacked WordPress site also survives the upgrades to the site making the WordPress vulnerable until it’s completely removed from the system.

Many Backdoors are so complex that they give hackers an opportunity to send emails from servers, execute SQL queries and anything else that they might wish to do, such as create a hidden admin username.

Most commonly, the Backdoors in WordPress websites are found in the following places:

  1. Upload’s Directory – As bloggers have thousands of photos this place is the most favorite amongst hackers as the backdoor goes unnoticed and rarely does anyone have any plugin monitors.
  2. Themes – Generally the inactive themes are the target – not the ones that are currently in use. It is advised not to keep any old inactive themes.
  3. Plugins – This is one of the most common place for Backdoors due to the fact that they are generally not looked into, they are often not updated and most importantly, plugins are sometimes not made secure enough to ward off threats.
  4. Folders – Many times users do not check folders making them a good place to hide.

In order find these threats and remove them a user needs to start searching for this proactively in accordance to the above-mentioned points. It is very simple to do by merely deleting the file or the code that any threat is found in. Users can also use malware scanners that are available. Once the cleaning is done it is always advisable to run your browser in incognito mode and check if the threat comes again or not.

Following are few points that can help users of WordPress stay away from threats:

  1. Stay updated
  2. Use a very strong password for your admin and user accounts
  3. Limit the number of login attempts
  4. Password protect the WP-Admin
  5. Disable Theme and Plugin editors
  6. Always have a back-up of your data
  7. Disable the PHP execution in certain WordPress dictionaries; this would not allow users to upload any file or Backdoor in the website.

One way out of the threat is to delete the entire site and restore it to a point where you know that it was safe. This may lead to loosing a lot of data but it is better than being under threat from hackers.

Lastly, when it comes to the security of WordPress, use the best possible security measures even if they are expensive. You can not possibly monitor everything that is going on in the website as you will have other things to do, so it is advisable to have malware scanners and strong back-ups so that they keep monitoring the website against any possible threats.

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