How to fix: “The site ahead contains harmful programs”

Have you been notified of issues with your website? When customers or users try and access your website they are greeted with the following warning pages “The Site Ahead Contains Harmful Programs”, this is a warning page implemented by Google to warn the user of potential issues on the website ahead. It is likely that your website has been infected in some way by a hacking attack, or your site is showing ads from low quality ad networks and Googles website scanning software has picked up on this fact, notifying every customer/site user of the possible malicious software or trojan risks when they try and access your page. This has ramifications for not only your website, but impacts the trust of your users on the website going forward.

The site ahead contains harmful programs

Usually when this warning comes up, it pretty much borks any chance you have of customers or users returning to your site in the near future impacting business and productivity. So what do you do in this instance, follow my tips is what you do.

In the first instance you will need to check your website on the following link to determine if your site has malicious content or links to malicious contents on other sites. Googles ‘Safe Browsing Analysis Tool’ allows you to check your site, all you need to do is add your sites’s domain name as the query parameter in this URL.

Following this register your site (and verify this) on Googles Search Console. Once your site is verified, navigate to the ‘Security Issues’ tab on the lower-left side of the screen.

Taking these simple steps will allow you to immediately see which of your links have been infected, by malicious code and those which may lead to an external compromised site, allowing you to fix the mess that has been created. I would recommend you fix these links straight away and strengthen the reputation of your site in the eyes of your customers, and restore your confidence in your online product.

I wrote about this in a previous blog post, detailing the steps to take to remove malicious links or suspect programs as a result of hacking within a Wordpress website. You can read more about it here

As with any website based issues, if you cannot immediately find and fix the issues at hand you will have to take your site offline until a solution is found.

Take the following steps to fix your Wordpress:

Deceptive site ahead

All of the major browsers (Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox) use Googles Safe Browsing to protect their users from the risk of downloading adware or spyware onto their computers. 

If you are getting this warning for your website, it is likely that there are deceptive download buttons on your website that may install malicious software on unsuspecting users computers. Hackers along with some tricksy social-engineering can insert this into webpages through ad-inserters. This could be a download posing as a media player update, which when clicked on downloads a trojan horse to the users computer. It is not only seedy websites that get these sorts of malicious software, they can be found on many innocuous and innocent websites. If you are getting these warnings you could do worse than check out Google’s guide for webmasters.

I would recommend that you take your site offline if you cannot remedy the problem quickly, then follow my instructions further down the page in order to fix the issues at hand, and in doing so return your website to full working order.

The site ahead contains malware

If your site is showing up this warning when you or your users try to enter, you may well have an issue with malicious code within the directories of your site. This is something that should be taken seriously, however certain you are that your site may well be safe. Hackers can use automatic toolkits that spot and exploit vulnerabilities in websites, enabling them to insert malicious code into to infect visitors. If you are unable to find and fix the issue, then you owe it not only to your customers and their precious data, but the integrity of your site to take it offline until you can resolve the issues at hand.

So how do you fix these problems?

Simple, I wrote a comprehensive post on the steps you should take in instances similar to this HERE.

If you are subject to any instances where a hacker has used some tricky techniques in order to manoeuvre their way into your affections (note: sarcasm in full effect), then you need to kick some digital arse and harden your website. After this you need to respond to the (ever-increasing, sadly) threats posed by hackers who take advantage of the vulnerabilities in CMS (content management systems) to manipulate websites to their ill-minded will. Hardening your website will only take you so far, you also would be advised to install an exploit scanner, one that works it’s magic whilst you are free to go about your business… as you would want to do.

Utilising Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools will give you an overview of your site metrics, ensuring you can keep track of stats and by checking these regularly enables you to counter problems as they arise. 

For continual security and exploit scanning of your Wordpress database and files download the Fixhacked scanner, this runs in the background of your Wordpress site with minimal performance impact and alerts you to any issues that may crop up. Installing the scanner is easy and requires the download of a .php file which can be uploaded to your Wordpress site and activated from there. 

If an issue does crop up and you are at a loss for what you need to do in order to remedy those awful situations, you can always contact us to Hire an Expert. Initially this plugin will have a minor effect on your sites performance as it begins scanning your files and database, but in the long-run it runs seamlessly and smoothly in the background with little effect to your sites continuous performance. In the long run, what is a minor performance hit when ensuring the safety of your site going forward. Reducing the effects of malware and hack-attacks. 

  1. Download the simple to use exploit scanner from www.fixhacked.com
  2. Upload this scanner to your Wordpress site, it works just like installing a plugin.
  3. Let the scanner do the work, the scanning of your files. 
  4. Following the scan, we tell you which files are corrupted and which could be exploited. Providing you with a solution to any exploitation issues you may have. Giving you the opportunity to clean these up quickly and efficiently.

Installation is a very simple process and should you require any help or advice, feel free to get in touch and Contact Us.

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