WordPress error "This site ahead contains harmful programs" - Fix it Now ?

Browsers and Search Engines marks the error, "This site ahead contains harmful programs" when they find any suspicious code that could be malware or trojan.
Here at Ibmi Media, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to fix related WordPress errors.

Nature of WordPress error "This site ahead contains harmful programs"

This error warns users to be careful and implies that the website is hacked and Google has marked it insecure.
Main causes of this error includes:
1. Distributes malicious code. It can spread from the infected website to website visitors and can even to other websites.
2. Shows ads from low-quality advertising networks.

To fish out malicious code on the site, do the following:
1. First and foremost, we need to change all WordPress passwords. This includes WordPress user accounts, WordPress hosting account, FTP or SSH user accounts and WordPress database password.

Hence, if one of these passwords compromise, the hackers will fail to use it to regain access.
2. Next, either using a plugin or manually through phpMyAdmin and FTP we create a complete WordPress backup. Hence, if something happens during the cleanup, we can still revert back to the infected state of the website.
3. After that, remove the malware from the site. In addition, we can restore the files from a clean backup.
4. We can also check the site using Google's safe browsing analysis tool.
5. In order to do so, add the site's domain name as the query parameter to the URL: https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=YourDomain.com

How to resolve WordPress error "This site ahead contains harmful programs" ?

Start by taking a complete backup of the WordPress site.
Removing malware and recovering a website is a very complicated task.

Though we clean the site thoroughly, the malicious code can come back until we find and remove the backdoor placed on our site.
Backdoor is a method to bypass normal authentication and gain the ability to remotely access the server undetected.
Finding the backdoor is not an easy task either. It could be a compromised password, unsafe file permissions, or a cleverly disguised file.
Backdoors on a WordPress install are most commonly in the folders:
i. Themes
ii. Plugins
iii. Uploads directory
iv. wp-config.php
v. Includes folder

To clean the Website backdoor, follow the steps below:

1. Search the Uploads Directory
We execute the following command via SSH:

$ find uploads -name "*.php" -print

The uploads folder is for media files in most cases.

However, if there is a .php file that is in there, it needs to go.

2. Delete Inactive Themes
Deleting the inactive themes is the best thing we can do.

3. .htaccess File
In some cases, the redirect codes can add in the .htaccess File. We can delete the file and it will recreate itself.
If it does not, go to the WordPress admin panel, Settings » Permalinks » Save. It will recreate the .htaccess file.

4. wp-config.php file
We can compare this file with the default wp-config-sample.php file. If we find anything that is out of place, get rid of it.

5. Database Scan for Exploits and SPAM
An easy trick is to scan the database. The database stores their bad PHP functions, new administrative accounts, SPAM links, etc.
Once we remove the backdoor, we still need to thoroughly check all files and databases for any malicious code.
If we are absolutely certain that the website is clean, we can ask Google to remove the warning from search results.
In order to do so, we need Google’s Webmaster tools. In there, click on the security issues section.
It will list the security issues Google found on the website. In addition, we will see the links to resources on clean-up on the site.
Once we fix the issues, click on the checkbox and request a review.

[Having issues with any WordPress errors? We are here for you. ]


This article covers WordPress error "This site ahead contains harmful programs".

Basically, the error, This site ahead contains harmful programs happens when Google finds any suspicious code.

It's risky for Google users to visit hacked websites because they could become targets of the hacker:
1. Hackers could steal their data or redirect them to phishing sites.
2. Hackers could trick them into downloading malware onto their devices.
3. Visitors may be subjected to viewing inappropriate malicious content and ads.

Search engines like Google constantly crawl the web for new sites and new content to index.
They use bots and algorithms to check a website's content is original and relevant.
They can also check which websites are using deceitful tactics such as keyword stuffing.

During this process, they can also detect if there's malicious code on your website.
If they do, they proceed to:

1. Blacklist your website immediately.
2. Display "Site Ahead Contains Harmful Programs" or "This site contains malware" warnings to visitors.
3. Depending on the risk posed by your site, it gives users an option to bypass their security warning and proceed to your site by clicking on 'details'.
Or they can choose to leave the site and go 'back to safety'.