A quick guide to removing malware from a message forum.

By Shawn G · Oct 2, 2012 ·
  1. Shawn G
    A quick guide to removing malware from a message forum.

    A bad SEO report or an inactive community are not the only major problems that forums face these days. There are even worse problems that a community can face and one of them is malware injection. This is where vulnerabilities are seen on your forum by a hacker and then the hacker adds harmful content or scripts to your forum which will set off virus protection software for your members. This can harm a forum very quickly and drive people away for good. I have faced this a few times myself and it was very hard to recover from. However, I am making this article to share my experiences with you in hopes that it will be easier to overcome if it was to happen to you.

    Mitigation First

    Mitigate or prevent the attack before it happens! You need to keep your forum secure at all times. If you do this, you will have a better chance of blocking an attack before it comes your way. You can do this by keeping your forum up to date and taking the latest security updates when they become available. You shouldn't be slow on updating the security of your forum because the hackers will get in there and mess things up while you are waiting for that better day to update and then you're screwed most of the time. You also need to make sure any modifications you have are up to date and are secure. I will read a modification's support thread thoroughly before I install it on my forum to ensure that it is safe to install on my forum. You need to make sure the hosting service you are with is secure as well. Lastly, you should always make backups of your forum. I backup my forum every day (365 days year) and I save all the backups for an entire week before saving the next. I may be overly prepared but it's worth it when the time comes when you need to be prepared.

    Scanning

    If your forum has a virus or malware infected on it, then you need to scan it. Most hosting companies have the tools to do this for you but usually, you will not get a very detailed response. You should first scan your computer for any malware and viruses and then clean if needed. Then you need to transfer your forum files online to your computer. Once they are on your computer, you need to use your malware and virus scanners to scan the computer again (including the forum files) to help look for the infected files. If you find infected files, you should clean them accordingly. I would recommend scanning a few times just to be safe. I would also recommend using top rated scanning software to ensure that you have the best scanning possible.

    Look for edits

    Another good tactic on combatting malware and viruses on a forum is to actually look at all the file of the forum and see what has been recently edited. If you find some edited and you don’t recall editing them or doing anything to where the file would be edited then you may have found the hacked file. You should look at the file and compare it to a default software file to see anything that has been changed. A lot of time, the hacker's script will be on the very top or the very bottom of the file. You should remove any scripts that do not belong and then also look for files that have been added that do not belong. I have even seen hackers try to slip hacker program files into image directories or directories that you would least expect are hiding the scripts. If looking through every file and directory is going to take a long time, then I suggest you make some coffee because it will all be worth it in the end.

    I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to removing malware and viruses off a forum and thank you for reading it. Please show your support by replying with what you thought of the article or by adding more ideas to it. Please note this is a premium article so please do not share it outside of the premium board.

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