Discovering malware or infections on your website through Google Search Console can be a concerning situation, but it's crucial to address the issue promptly to maintain your website's integrity and search engine rankings. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do if malware or infections are detected by Google Search Console.
Confirmation and Assessment:
- Log in to your Google Search Console account and navigate to the Security & Manual Actions section to view any reported security issues.
- Pay attention to any notifications or alerts regarding malware or infections.
Identify and Isolate the Issue:
- Use reputable security tools to scan your website thoroughly. Tools like Sucuri, Wordfence, or SiteLock can help identify and isolate the infected areas.
- Manually review your website's files and code to identify any suspicious or unfamiliar elements.
Take the Website Offline
If the infection is severe, consider taking your website offline temporarily to prevent further damage and protect visitors.
Backup Your Website
Before making any changes, create a comprehensive backup of your website files and database. This ensures you have a restore point in case anything goes wrong during the cleanup process.
Clean and Remove Malicious Code
- Remove any identified malware or infections manually by editing affected files. Ensure you remove all instances of malicious code.
- If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, leverage security plugins that can automate the cleanup process.
Update and Patch
- Ensure all website components, including the content management system (e.g., WordPress), plugins, themes, and server software, are updated to their latest versions.
- If the infection exploited known vulnerabilities, apply security patches promptly.
Change Passwords and Credentials
- Update all admin passwords for your website, hosting, and any related accounts. Use strong, unique passwords.
- Change FTP and database credentials to prevent unauthorized access.
Submit a Reconsideration Request
Once you've cleaned up your website, submit a reconsideration request through Google Search Console. This informs Google that you've addressed the issues and are seeking a review.
Monitor and Strengthen Security
- Schedule regular security scans for your website to detect and address potential threats promptly.
- Enhance your website's security by implementing best practices such as using secure hosting, employing a firewall, and restricting file permissions.
Educate and Train Users
Educate users with access to your website on security best practices, such as using strong passwords and being cautious about clicking on suspicious links or emails.
By following these steps, you can effectively address malware or infections detected by Google Search Console and work towards maintaining a secure and resilient website. Swift and thorough action is key to minimizing the impact on your website's reputation and search engine standing.