How to Recognize Malicious WordPress Themes and Plugins

How to Recognize Malicious WordPress Themes and Plugins

WordPress is popular among bloggers and eCommerce stores. It is easy to use, and available themes allow you to create a website you have always dreamed of. Besides themes, users can install various plugins too. Fellow WordPress users design the majority of themes and plugins, and they are often free.

However, some WordPress themes and plugins could be infected with malware or contain links to malicious websites. But there are ways to detect infected WordPress themes and fix the code yourself. So if you plan on downloading some of these features for your blog or shop, here are a couple of things you should look out for.

Why are WordPress Themes Infected with Malware

So how do WordPress themes get infected with malware? Popular WordPress themes are regularly maintained and updated. After all, a large number of people like and use them every day. But there are a handful of well-liked themes that creators have pretty much abandoned. Cybercriminals can recognize these and slowly infect the code over time.

Unknowing users will continue to download and install the abandoned themes without realizing the code has been corrupted. Of course, there are less popular themes that do have their audience. The chances of them being abandoned are way higher. The themes that are not best-sellers are more likely to contain threats and malicious links, so be mindful of that.

Cybercriminals see WordPress themes as the perfect means of spreading malware to as many computers as possible. Unfortunately, users rarely check the sources for the themes or plugins they want to use. Once malware gets inside your device, it will begin collecting your data which can be a huge security problem, especially for eCommerce stores.

Themes with hidden code can do lots of damage too. For instance, hackers might insert a link leading to a malicious website on your blog or eCommerce store. Some of your visitors could click on the link, redirecting them to a potentially dangerous web location. Hidden codes might add unwanted advertisements to your website as well. Finally, cybercriminals could also crash your website and make it unavailable.

Detecting Malicious WordPress Themes and Plugins

If you are a regular WordPress blogger or run an eCommerce store, several methods could help you detect and avoid corrupted themes as well as plugins:

Use a Reputable Source

WordPress offers plenty of free themes and plugins, but there are other websites out there that have even more designs. Some of them do have a good reputation as they scan each piece of code for malware themselves. However, you might end up on a website that is not very concerned about the safety of its users.

Avoid downloading themes from unknown sources or websites known for piracy. If you are not good at recognizing dangerous sites, consider using a VPN service. This tool will not only hide your IP address but can detect websites that feature malware. A VPN service can amp up your cybersecurity. All in all, it is best to find a good and trustworthy source for everything related to WordPress.

Try Anti-Malware Plugins

WordPress users did notice a growing number of infected WordPress themes and plugins, so they came up with a response. There are many excellent plugins you can try out that will scan your WordPress website and point out if it has viruses or corrupted code in it. These plugins can delete threats and continue to monitor your updates and uploads.

Some of these plugins are completely free, while others do have some paid features. But all of them can do the basic scan of the code and detect threats. It is important to note that the said plugins are easy to use and will work in the background. Overall, these tools are a must-have for keeping your WordPress website secure.

Install Wordfence

If you are suspecting that your WordPress website is already infected, Wordfence can help out. This plugin can scan your code by comparing it to the WordPress repository. It will check both the theme and any plugins you have on a website all at once.

Once you activate Wordfence, it will continue to monitor your WordPress page and send you real-time warnings about possible cybersecurity threats. Wordfence is mostly free, but users can unlock some extra features if they have a subscription. If you are just interested in protecting your website, there is no need to spend extra money on these additional options.

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