We really appreciated your help the last time we put this up, and we have taken your advice to heart. You’ll find below two explanations now… one for “non-geeks,” and the other for “geeks.” We use the term “geek” most endearingly given that we are a company of 100+ geeks here at Site5. 🙂
Again, we would really appreciate your feedback on whether the explanations below are clear and concise. We’re happy with them, but ultimately our customers are the audience. Any constructive feedback you have is much appreciated!
Malware refers to the bad things that happen if an attacker gets into your website.
Malware refers to just about anything bad an attacker can do if they gain access to your website. Usually it happens if there is a security bug in the script that is powering your website (such as WordPress, Magento or Joomla,) or in a supporting plugin, add-on, module, or theme.
Once an attacker has access to your website they use this as a launch point to do things like:
- Place extra, malicious code into your website to infect your visitors’ computers with viruses and desktop-malware.
- Display unauthorized advertisements to your visitors
- Send spam and phishing emails through your hosting account
- Upload fake webpages to your account, and attempt to get people to visit them and steal their information (i.e. a fake bank website) through phishing emails
- Other bad things.
Malware on websites has come to refer to just about anything that results from an attacker gaining access to a website or the scripts that power that website. This is code, iframes, or scripts designed to provide malicious hackers with the ability to use infected websites for illegal purposes. Those illegal purposes include but are not limited to:
- Sending spam email
- Infecting your visitors’ computers with malware
- Displaying unauthorized advertisements
- Deploying identify theft attempts through fake webpages
Malware is also often used to create “botnets,” a collection of Internet-connected computers controlled from a central location for the purposes described above or to launch attacks on other websites.
There are several ways to tell if your website has been infected with malware:
- Your web host notifies you of spam/abuse complaints against your domain(s)
- Your hosting account begins using far more resources (CPU, RAM, storage) than normal
- You receive a warning when visiting your website because it has been blacklisted by a malware detection service which often partner with web browser development companies (e.g. Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Safari, Opera)
Site5 Malware Protection helps prevent any of the above issues from occurring by proactively scanning your website, fixing any discovered problems, and alerting you to any issues before your end users begin to notice them.