In today’s world of web development, no name is as significant or famous as WordPress. Seeing that it is responsible for setting the bar for content management systems (CMS) that professional-grade websites use, this particular tool has made web management far more accessible than ever. Currently, more than 75 million websites are using this same exact tool to run their websites, and yours likely falls under this figure as well.
With WordPress becoming an even clearer staple of modern website management, thanks to the undeniable difference it has made in terms of convenience, it’s only safe to assume that the number of websites that use it is going to grow. However, as essential as this particular tool has become for pages of all types, there’s just one growing problem with it: it’s one of the largest targets for malware attacks.
Where did the trouble begin?
Currently, thousands of websites are at risk of experiencing malware attacks just by using WordPress alone, creating a serious problem that many are scrambling to fix.
The root of the problem is that WP itself has an internal security vulnerability that hackers discovered in a common plug-in used with the site: an add-on called Gootloader. This risk of being hacked has carried over to every single website that uses the said plug-in (and other similar options) since a seemingly harmless download item has become a portal for malware.
Undoubtedly, the loophole that hackers have been exploiting through every WordPress plug-in has raised chaos in the cybersecurity world. Currently, the number of malware attacks being carried out through Gootloader exploits has reached millions of cases, making it a critical problem today that any website owner using WP should be mindful of.
How does Gootloader affect a website?
The way Gootloader puts websites using websites at risk of malware attacks is straightforward: it uses malicious SEO techniques to get a page into relevant Google search results.
Although this doesn’t sound too drastic, the problem is that this downloader malware modifies existing websites so that they change how certain visitors see them by presenting different websites whenever your link is clicked. This then can lead to severe penalties. Beyond misdirection, Gootloader also brings trouble in the form of potential phishing attacks since it redirects website visitors to a specific page that may be used as a “trap” or “bait” for unsuspecting users.
From a functional standpoint, the way Gootloader malware attacks WordPress websites is that they initially inject a few additional lines of code into the file of a page. Once executed, these lines of code run a command that forces an infected website to download dozens of pages of fake content. Over time, these downloads are continuously executed to buy extra time to remain undetected so that the real cyber-attack can proceed and conceal the end result.
How can you prevent your website from being affected by the same problem?
Generally, the best way to protect your website from a Gootloader attack is to avoid downloading affected plugins (especially the actual Gootloader plug-in itself). Apart from avoiding unwanted downloads, preventing disaster from happening with your CMS and web pages also involves watching out for warning signs like:
- A file with the name of “*agreement*.js” (for English site users)
- A file with the name of “*herunterladen*.js” (for German site users)
If you want to provide your website with the well-rounded protection it needs to avoid such malware attacks, it’s important to enlist the services of an expert that can keep your pages protected. Through the help of an experienced professional such as FraudWatch International, you’ll be able to minimise the risk of experiencing a Gootloader attack even as it evolves!
Amid all the different things you need to worry about when running your WordPress website, the risk of being a victim of a Gootloader attack is something worth preparing for the most. By taking the key points mentioned above into mind, you can maintain a more proactive stance towards protecting your website and ensuring that it doesn’t experience the implications of the malware threat in question!
We are an Australian brand protection company that specialises in helping businesses all over the world with our anti-malware and cyber-attack prevention services. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help keep your business safe online!