You know you’re going to have a bad day when you Google your website and see the warning “This Site May be Compromised” in blue underneath your website address:
This is what happened to one of my clients. Find out what we did to fix this and get the warning removed.
First, this website is a WordPress website. If you get my newsletters you know how much I harp on my clients and readers to keep their versions of WordPress up-to-date. In this case, the site was hacked into but the WordPress version was current. However there were a half dozen plugins that had fallen out of date.
I contacted the hosting company, who said the only way to fix the hacking was to do a totally clean install of everything. So I got a clean version of the theme. Manually downloaded the uploads file (so we wouldn’t have to reupload the images). Exported the pages and posts. Then did a clean installation of WordPress from scratch. Imported page and posts, uploaded images, reinstalled all plugins and reset all configurations.
But of course the warning was still there. Even after Google had recrawled the page, the warning is still there. So I submitted a reconsideration request inside Google Webmaster Tools – but it says it might take weeks for Google to verify the hacking issue is fixed.
It is also important to note that when I added the website to my Google Webmaster Tools I got a message “Notice of Suspected Hacking” that appeared. So I guess this was Google’s way of communicating something was wrong. I don’t know if Google would have sent an email as well with this notification or not.
We are still waiting….the reconsideration request was submitted 7/20/2012. I’ll updated this post with the results. When you submit a request for reconsideration, they say “Please allow several weeks for the reconsideration request.” But it’s awfully hard for a small business owner to wait that long for this message to disappear.
So remember keep your WordPress version up to date and also keep all your plugins up to date and remove any plugins you aren’t using. And keep those passwords robust!
UPDATE: I got notification on 8/3/12 from Google via email that the website had been reviewed and the request had been approved, and the blue Google “This Site May Be Compromised” is now gone!
So the total time it took from for the reconsideration request was 14 days.Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.