The Damaging Effects of Malware On a Server

One of the most dangerous concerns one could find is malware on a server. Malware can appear on websites produced through any CMS including WordPress. A malware developer can create a code that targets a specific website, or an entire CMS. It can ruin how a site works, and it can be quite difficult to remove. This is why it’s critical it’s eradicated, so it doesn’t have a chance to work it’s way onto a server and infect other websites.

Malware – A Plethora of Problems

  1. Malware can entail code to steal a website’s information and data stored on a server. It can also steal sensitive data i.e. credit card numbers or personal identification information.
  2. Malware could alter a website’s appearance, and remove bits of content or code that may be necessary for operation.
  3. Ransomware, a form of malware, can appear requiring a party having to pay to regain access to their own data and login credentials if the website is hacked.
  4. Hidden content such as malicious links may also appear throughout a website through malware which can damage a website’s reputation and ranking within search engines.
  5. Cross-site scripting, another common side effect in many malware attacks. This particular attack is done without any sort of admin access. Essentially, by way of insecure code on the website, an attacker can manipulate the information passed to the visitor’s browser, to make a popup that is not a part of the site appear to be part of the site.

A common example of this would be a vulnerable bit of code allowing an attacker to add a pop up that makes it look like the user was temporarily logged out and needs to log back in. They’re still actually logged in, but they see the popup on the page, and they’ve not left the site or seen anything suspicious, so they “login” again. As a result, their credentials are sent to an attacker. The attacker does not have control over the website, but control over the appearance of the site to the end-user (visitor).

While hackers prefer to attack vulnerable websites that are outdated, malware shows no prejudice and can appear on any website or server – even ones using the most updated versions of WordPress or any other CMS.

What Will You Experience If You’re Attacked By Malware?

Just a few things that could occur include:

  • A search engine can penalize you for having malware.
  • Your website could develop multiple broken or redirected links. Since the malware will interfere with the website’s code, there’s a chance your site will be broken. Search engine crawlers can flag these broken or hijacked links or pages, further harming your search engine ranking. The worst part is your server might not notice these errors, leaving the damage for weeks or months.
  • You could be fined for not complying with anti-malware rules and/or reported as hosting malware on your server.
  • Other websites on the same server that are shared could also be impacted. Since malware requires extensive memory, CPU data, and other features to operate, other websites that use those resources on a server might lose access causing possible damage like a ripple effect.
  • You can suffer a massive loss to your reputation, as people generally do not want to provide data to you if you’ve been compromised already.

A Challenge to Remove

Another reason malware on a server is dangerous is that it isn’t obvious it’s there and it’s sometimes a significant challenge to remove as a result. That’s why your best defense is a good offense. Enter Patchman – the tool you need to patch up vulnerable websites. While it doesn’t clean up malware, patching these vulnerabilities can often help prevent the elements that would otherwise lead to malware.

The example we often use is a house in the middle of a dust storm. The house is the website, and the dust is the malware. The windows and doors are the vulnerable entry points for malware (dust). Patchman is essentially going through the house and shutting all the doors and windows that shouldn’t be open so there is a significantly smaller chance for the dust to get in.

When you use Patchman, you can ensure Linux server security thereby protecting any website owners utilizing your servers as well. Learn more about what Patchman can do for you, and all of its features by visiting its website.

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