How to Scan Malicious Code or Malware on WordPress Themes

Imagine how terrible it would be if Malicious codes running behind the WordPress themes? If your theme is infected with Malware, especially Ransomware, the hackers would take advantage of your data and use it for their needs.

However, you are performing cleaning steps frequently but that’s not enough. Scan Malicious codes in your WordPress and know the security risks involved with the theme.

The important thing which one should understand about certain free WordPress themes comes with hidden malware, broken links, and hidden codes that often link with third-parties.

So, if one is using a Free WordPress theme from outside resources, they should check the security from top to the bottom.

If it is ignored, it will become the biggest threat for you and may possess potential threat to the victim. Well, most of Free WordPress themes may not include malicious code or Backlink to the third-party. But here’s how we will explain how to detect or Scan Malicious Code and fix it for the best use.

So, without further ado let’s get started!

How To Detect Malicious Code In WordPress Themes?

The very first step one should perform is scan malicious code in the WordPress theme. It is important to check whole files that you are using in Theme. WordPress themes have some additional files in folders like images, JS etc.

Scan Malicious codes

So, check all the files as they are major suspects. Here’s how you can detect the Malware

  • When your screen shows a sudden white screen of death, there is a strong possibility your theme is infected.
  • If you are receiving warning messages on the screen
  • If your WordPress .htaccess has been blocked and your site is redirecting with URLs in Google search engine.
  • If you are seeing several pop-ups or sites, keep redirecting when you click on the close button.

These are the major issues you can encounter in your website if the site is infected. Now, we are going to show you some easy ways to get rid of them.

But before further, let’s read more about scan malware codes.

Why Was The Theme Infected In The First Place?

The WordPress themes are installed for the easy work process. However, the malware themes have major pitfalls and exploited by hackers, they restrict the access of sites.

It is true no one wants to access the Malware theme on their site. But in most cases it was done mistakenly or without Scan Malicious Code. Sometimes, website owners are unaware they are using malware themes.

So how can folks get rid of malware themes? As per experts, the malware comes down to what type of theme you’re using and where did you install that.

Let’s dive a little deeper!

1. Using Themes From Untrusted Sources

Everyone knows WordPress is a repudiated platform and being cheated with this, simply unacceptable. Besides, there are many resources selling free WordPress themes which are modified and infected with high malware.

That’s the reason they often offer costly WordPress themes for free. If you have installed such themes, this means you have invited the hackers in your home.

2. Using Free Themes

Well, premium WordPress themes are easy to trust as these themes undergo serious marketing conditions and have features to enhance the business. However, free WordPress themes have no quality control and they are prone to vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities allow hackers to take advantage of you. Even sometimes they ask for ransom (money) to unlock the data.

3. Using Bundled Solutions

When things come with a bundle, they often create complications, as you are unable to find good and bad things. For example, if themes are bundled with so many plugins, how can you identify the malware between plugins? It seems impossible.

Another example is the slider revolution plugin. It is a popular image plugin and many of the sellers offer its part of the theme to users. Thus, it has a major vulnerability that can be fixed easily via an update.

The worst part about updating the plugin is that the owner won’t update this. This infection causes threats to the site and even hacked by hackers.

As you see, using free themes from the third-party is unsafe and creates potential threat to the owner. If it is impossible to buy premium themes then you can Scan Malicious Code on the free themes to check the hidden codes inside.

Thus, you can be aware of the security and enjoy the easy and safe theme.

How To Scan Malicious Code On WordPress Theme?

To get started with any theme one must identify the ways to Scan Malicious Code on the WordPress theme. So, here we are sharing two important methods which you need to look deep into to trace the malware.

Also, we will show you its solutions. So let’s Scan Malicious Code first.

Method 1: Scan a WordPress Theme for Malicious Code with MalCare WordPress scanner

Unlike other scan tools, MalCare is the best that looks out each corner of the site and identifies traces of malware.

This will simply detect the malicious code and also give you an alarm about how much your site is infected. Here we will show you how to use MalCare and Scan Malicious Code.

  • Scanning Installed Themes
  • Here are the steps one should follow:

    • Signup in a MalCare account and activate the MalCare scanner on your WordPress site, which you want to check.
    • Next choose from the WordPress dashboard and select the option MalCare from the menu
    • Now enter your email address and tap on the secure site now button.
    • MalCare will start scanning your entire site including your themes. If the malware is found, the tool will alert you.

    Besides the MalCare there are many other scanners you can use to check the themes installed on your theme. Wordfence, BulletProof security, Sucuri, and iTheme Security are the best tools to scan the themes.

    Scanning Themes Before Installation

    Here you will have two options to Scan Malicious Code in your installed WordPress theme. So, read on.

    • Create a staging site, a reliable method to run a scan before installing the theme with plugin.
    • Upload a theme to a online scanner (unreliable method)

    If you think online free scanners are reliable to Scan Malicious Code then you are highly mistaken. These scanners are designed to look for a code that is easy to see then checking hidden codes of malware.

    One of the trusted and dedicated ways to Scan Malicious Code is scanning malware with plugins like MalCare that run a deep site visit and look for hidden codes.

    Nevertheless, we will describe both the methods for use.

    Scanning Themes Before Installation With A Plugin

    Here are the steps you will need to follow.

    • First one should create a staging site, which will be an exact replica of your live site.
    • Then install the theme of your choice on your staging site.
    • Now activate the security plugin and run the scan.

Let’s go a little deeper in the steps.

Step 1- Create The Staging Site

To create a staging site one should download the BlogVault on your website. Once this is activated you can visit the WordPress dashboard and select BlogVault here.

  • Next, you should enter the Email ID and then click on the get started button. Then the BlogVault will ask you to create an account, so do it right away.
  • After this, you will be asked to add your site to the BlogVault dashboard. So tap on the add button and this will start taking the backup of your whole data and files.
  • Now on the BlogVault dashboard, tap on sites and choose your website. On the next step you will need to submit the staging action. To do this select Add staging then submit.
  • This will start with creating a website. When the staging site is ready you will receive your username and password. So make sure you have noticed all the things at the side.
  • Now your next step is to open the staging site and click on visiting the staging site.
  • When the staging site opens in the next tab, you will be asked to enter the username and password you have received in the previous step.

    Note- The staging site is password protected, so no one uses it except you. Thus, it keeps you secure against unauthorized access.

  • Now you are able to access your staging site. So, just add the WP-admin at the end of the URL to get started with the login page.
  • Now log into your staging site that is similar to credentials of your live site.

Step 2- Install The Theme on The staging site

Installing the theme on the staging site is the simple way that you have followed in the live site. To do this follows the given steps:

  • Open the WordPress dashboard
  • Ahead to appearances >> themes
  • Find the best theme >> download >> activate

Step 3- Install Malcare Scanner On Your Staging Site To Scan Malicious Code

To know how to use MalCare on your staging site, go through the previous section, which is Method 1. There we explained everything in detail.

Scanning Themes Manually

Before thinking of doing scanning themes manually, first answer a question- how many plugins can you check manually each day? The more plugins you have used to improve the website performance, the more you have to check in depth of plugins.

Scanning a theme manually is time-consuming and also risky. In each plugin there are many files you will need to check and even go in the ground to cover everything. Hence, you may become restless but unable to detect viruses from each file in the plugin.

However, if you are a developer then this might be easy for you. But if you are not tech-savvy the chances are higher you can fail. In addition, if you have not checked any file (which is malware) this can cause damage.

If you find a malware infection then remove that as soon as possible. The longer you will delay the more infection it will cause and you may not be able to fix the issues.

Method 2- Scan A WordPress Theme For Malicious Code With TAC

One of the fastest and easiest ways to analyze and Scan Malicious Code in the WordPress site is using TAC plugin, theme authenticity checker.

The theme is priceless and it is perfect to scan your website from each section including zip files. So to get started with this, first we need to install the plugin as usual.

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard >> plugins >> add new >> TAC
  • Download and activate the plugin

When the plugin is downloaded you should ahead to the dashboard >> appearances >> TAC. There you will see warnings highlighted in the red color that contain malicious code. If your theme is okay you will not see the message.

Testing For Malicious Code In WordPress Themes

If your site seems perfect then there is no need for further testing. However, if it finds then we have explained to you with a little example, as how to deal with it.

If your site has malicious code then finds out its location by clicking on the code, as to find encrypted code.

Once you find the details, you should navigate the file and clean up the file or code. Then again test the theme with TAC to see if the threat is removed or not.

After cleaning this code you will get back to your work in an exciting mood.

Now the biggest question is how to clean Scan Malicious Code? Keep reading.

How To Clean Infected WordPress Themes?

If you have Scan Malicious Code then your second step is to clean the threat from the website. So, here are the ways.

1. Cleaning An Installed Theme

To do this here are the steps to be followed.

  • Open the MalCare’s dashboard and choose your website
  • Now on the next page, you will see a section named security.
  • Then click on Auto-clean and MalCare, it will start cleaning your site.

Note- the process will take a few minutes to complete, so wait until it stops. Also note, MalCare is a premium service, so you will be asked to upgrade it. The average charge is $99 per year.

2. Cleaning A Theme Before Installing

If you find your theme has malware before installing then you can opt for its alternative. But what if the theme is already installed? It seems you have neglected the security measures.

Besides, if the theme has malware already or gets malware after downloading it, this means the vendor is selling a malicious theme so they can hack your site and ransom you with money.

And if vendors have no idea about malware then these are at high risk to install. These themes are poorly coded and can have high vulnerability and exploit you when they gain access.

In case, if you paid for the themes before checking then ask them for a refund. And if you bought that for free then don’t buy them again from that marketplace. You should get your themes from the well-known theme marketplace such as SKT themes, theme forest, etc.

Cleaning Infected Themes Manually

If you have decided to clean infected themes manually, then first we would say this will be time-consuming and risky if it is done wrong. For the developers it is best left over to do.

Some PHP functions like eval, base64_decode, Gzinflate, etc. are not malicious by default. These plugins have been used already to carry out many operations. If you have deleted the pro code by mistake, this will break your whole website.

But yes, if you want to experience the adventure or explore the coding itself then go ahead and clean your themes manually.
If you think it is just impossible then allow MalCare to make things easier for you.

Impact of An infected WordPress theme on Your Site

We don’t think so you need clarification why an infected theme can impact your site. This could lead to poor performance and could give a major negative impact on your business and revenue both.

1. Give Direct Impact

When you are working on infected site, they carry out malicious acts such as:

• Steal your regular visitors- the most common thing most hackers love to do from your site is stealing your visitors and converting them to their site. Note these sites are Phishing sites that redirect and steal visitors and their personal data. These could be adult sites or useless products.
• Stealing personal data- the hackers can steal your whole login credentials and use them for the worst. They can trap your information related to bank details, credit card, and more.
• Interrupting with ads- when hackers hijack your places they start advertising on your channel and disturb your users. Sometimes, these ads are malicious to steal your user’s details.

2. Impact On SEO

When a website owner is working with malicious acts, without knowing they can trap these activities by checking the following points.

  • Slow website performance- if malicious activity is running behind your website, you will see its direct impact on SEO by slowing down its website performance. These activities put a heavy load on the server and it takes time to check your site’s performance that causes slow down.
  • Drop your rankings- when the site is infected, your site ranking starts dropping. You know that it is not an easy task to take your site to the top. Your constant efforts have sped up the website performance. So, when Google detects a scam in your site, it drops the ranking and you start losing traffic.
  • Google may blacklist- As SEO expert, you know the search engine crawls your site regularly and if they find loopholes they immediately blacklist your site and may suspend your Google Ad words Account.

Hence, this is advised to everyone to protect your site and if it is infected clean it immediately. Otherwise, Google will blacklist your site and you will be left with nothing.

3. Web Host Suspension

If your hosting server detects the malware on your site, they will suspend your account immediately. They do this because hackers always use the resources and personal data in the worst way. Further, this immediate action will impact your server’s speed and performance.

Besides, if you are using a shared network then it may bring down the performance and affect the server. However, many hosts do not have strict policies, but one should stay away from these website issues, if you want to stay online.

4. Affect Your Brand Image And Reputation

It is obvious when visitors visit your site and they are duped by hackers they lose trust on your site and won’t return back. Hence, it affects your brand image and reputation. Thus, it is very essential to have Scan Malicious Code of your site to avoid such blunder.

How To Protect Your Theme From Malware Protection?

Now you have cleared with how to scan Malicious Code and how to fix that. But still the most important question is left to answer- how to protect your site from hackers?

Here’s how you can do it to save your WordPress themes.

1. You Can Buy Themes From The Trusted Source Only

As we said earlier, using free themes from untrusted sources may cause threat to your site. Hence, it is important to buy both free and premium themes from genuine authorities like SKT Themes. Also you should pick themes which follow the security standards.

Avoid buying themes from the untrusted marketplace. Check the market that follows strict guidelines and policies that the user needs to adhere to.

In addition, one should avoid using the pirated and null themes as these are more likely to be injected with malware.

2. Always Scan Your Theme Before Installation

The very first step you will need to perform before installing the theme is Scan Malicious Code. While scanning your theme you can easily identify whether it is safe to use or not. If the virus detects you can choose the alternative and get the most of your website.

3. Disable The Theme Editor

You know that already, the theme editor is accessible through your WordPress dashboard. So, if you want to manage the hackers then disabling the theme editor is the perfect way to start. Most hackers attack the theme editor, because these are the backdoors of the site where they will get secret access to your site.

If you do not require this feature, you should disable it and go safe. Here’s how to disable the theme editor.

  • Using MalCare security plugin
  • Open the MalCare dashboard and click on your site. Next check security and choose WordPress Hardening. Here you can easily disable the WordPress editor. By tapping on the same you can see disabled editors on the WordPress dashboard.

  • Edit WP-theme manually (config.php file)
  • It is one of the risky methods so we advise to perform only when you have knowledge of coding. Keep note, the smaller mistake can break your whole site. Also we recommend you perform the site only when you have complete backup of your site.

  • Once you are ready, access the web hosting account and open the Cpanel. Now choose the file manager then Public_HTML.
  • Next navigate the Wp-config.php file and select edit option.
  • Paste the given code and save the changes.
  • Define ( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
    This code will disable the theme editor from your dashboard.

4. Delete The Inactive Themes

It is the most important step that we often forget to do- removing inactive themes. When we check out themes and choose one, we often forget to remove previously installed themes.

This ignorance gives hackers a chance to land on your site and use you for their purposes. So, after selecting themes one must ensure you’ve deleted inactive themes.

When you complete these steps and Scan Malicious Code we ensure your website will be safe and secure.

Wrapping Up

So, in this post you have learned everything such as how to Scan Malicious Code, methods to Scan Malicious Code, and ways to prevent threats to your site. We hope with this information you are pretty much aware now how to buy themes for your WordPress blog.

P.S- securing your theme is not only the way to prevent it from hackers.

By following this complete guide you can easily know how and where to start. Also, this guide may help you become serious about choosing the themes, especially vendors of your themes.

One of the best security measures is to install the MalCare plugin. This detects viruses and gives the alarm that you are unprotected. This plugin will scan your site regularly and provide you notifications on every malicious activity.

Further, it is best to protect your site from hackers. So, what are you waiting for? Go and install this plugin and stay away from hackers.

About Sonnal S Sinha

Sonnal S SinhaSonnal S Sinha is a passionate writer as well as WordPress and WooCommerce rockstar who loves to share insights on various topics through his engaging blog posts. He run successful website design and digital marketing company. With 15+ years of experience in WordPress themes development, he strives to inform and inspire readers with his thought-provoking content. He helps thousands small and medium businesses and startups create a unique online presence. Follow Sonnal S Sinha for your regular dose of knowledge and inspiration.