The Paralyzing Attack of Malware

paralyzing attack of malwareMalware … even the thought of it makes me uneasy.  We have all gone to a site and our virus protection starts howling at us with warning that the site is infected. We run faster than we did when our mothers licked their fingers to wipe something off our faces as children. If it is a site we have frequented, we feel bad for the person, send an email or DM to them and check back in a day or so certain that they have fixed it and all is good.  For sites we have not ever visited or visited often, we pretty much blacklist them from our sites we visit list. Why should we visit a site that is infected that we do not know the person? Why? Because malware and viruses happen every day, probably every minute of every day a  site is attacked and it is relentless.

Enter eval(base64_decode

Eval(base64_decode” that was my malware.  At first my visual editor was affected so I started researching how to fix the visual editor. Simply click on the last button which is the kitchen sink and show what you wish to show. Easy, simple but there was no kitchen sink button.  I had the upload/insert but nothing else.  Hmh, ok more research needed but the site was completely functional and no alarms were sounding. I reached out to folks in my network and after about 1 minute of investigating into my custom_php file, it was very clear that I had a (eval(base64_decode) that was EVERYWHERE and I mean everywhere. Every file, even every plugin  I looked at had this horrific code at the top.  Andrew Kolyvas, my favorite aussie with a great name as I refer to him, who I have come to know via skype, jumped in and  scheduled some time via Skype for the next day and together were going to rebuild this and be virus free.  The very next day, I tweeted a blog article and the DM’s came flowing in that I had malware.  Took a week but the site was infected with a trojan virus.  Three hours I spent with Andrew rebuilding this site and I was back in the game … so I thought.

Paralyzing Attack of Malware

A week later my visual editor went down again. I thought there is NO way that this is happening again.  Sure enough, it was. This time it was different though it was so aggressive that within an hour or so the virus protection on the laptop was sending trojan virus alerts that were avoided for my site.  Are you kidding me? We just fixed this.  I was angry as how could this have happened again?  I was ready to throw in the towel unless we found the source of where this was coming as I was not entertaining fixing the site each week. At that moment the fight was gone and I was closing in on admitting defeat.  Really, I was.  I was going to be down for a few days again and if I was able keep the business going for almost 2 weeks of not having the site, then just let it die as unless I found the source the site would be down more than it would be up so what did it matter?  I am not one to ever give up that easy but time is never on our side so to have to add 3 hrs to fix the site with every virus when I could not figure out where it was coming from was not something I wanted to do.  So I did what a person does, I reached out to my network and sure enough I found out that my hosting company was having problems with WordPress sites being compromised.

Back in the Game

So here I am with a new hosting company, a completely virus/malware free site thanks to Andrew Kolyvas.  He took on this project which now was bigger as the site has to be cleaned and moved.  I stepped back on this one and let  him work his magic.  On Saturday I awoke to the sweet sound of “mom, I’m awake” which I do each day and then the quick check of the computer while I am making breakfast. My quick check gave me the good news. Not only is the site virus free, it loads faster and my visual editor is back in tact. While the site was down, I realized that I missed the blog. I could not wait to have it back as the 4 days this week it was down, I analyzed what direction it was going and created a new/better road map. Sometimes we need that, I know that I did.  While I am hopeful that the site will be malware/virus free forever, I know that  there is now way that I can control that.

Strength of Your Network

How strong is your network? Do you have the right people there should you experience something that affects your business the way that the malware affected the website? Our online presence and reputation was compromised. My network is strong as I have people available that are there to answer questions, help, offer their services and ensure that the job will be done right. If your network is not as strong as you would like or filled with people that you trust and respect, it is time to build that network before you have a crisis and need them.

As for the blog, it will still be the small business marketing resource but over the next few months, it will remain true to itself by focusing on tips, how to’s and proven results that we as an advertising and social media marketing agency have put to the test. If there is anything good that can ever come out of malware/a virus, I am confident in saying that I have a strong network and the blog has a new/better road map.  If you ever have a problem with your site, be sure to reach out to Andrew and tell him his favorite American sent ya. It has to be worth some sort of discount, I am sure.

How strong is your network?

photo credit: Sophos D/A/CH Presseinfo

  • Suzanne, I definitely “feel your pain” and am happy to hear that you weathered the storm . . . and even advanced several steps. I had missed your articles, but this is a fabulous read and a good lesson as well.

  • I have only had one serious attack but it took me four hard days to undo everything, I now go to great lenghs to avoid it, thanks for the article