How to Fix the WordPress Pharma Hack

Have you ever looked up your website on Google only to find a pharma ad? Learn about the pharma hack and ways to fix it in a few simple steps.

WordPress is one of the best content management systems, and its popularity comes at a price; Hackers, you guessed it right. We are well aware that WordPress’s Achilles heel is WordPress Vulnerabilities. Hackers always know how to use WordPress security issues for their ulterior motives, and one of such ways is the WordPress pharma hack.

Have you ever looked up your website on google to find some weird pharma-related title instead? If so, it might have given you a mini heart attack. If you are wondering that your website got sucked into oblivion, you are wrong, fortunately! However, it means that your website is a victim of a pharma attack, unfortunately. A pharma attack is a big deal, and you’ll understand why in no time.

How to Fix the WordPress Pharma Hack

WordPress Pharma Hack – Everything You Need To Know About It

A WordPress Pharma hack is also known as the Google Viagra hack. Hackers use this attack to sell illegal drugs and banned medicines through a legitimate website.

The website owner or the users will not recognize that their website is a victim of this hack unless they search their website on Google.

When a WordPress website gets infected with a pharma hack, the genuine website will look like an ad display for selling drugs like Viagra, Cialis, etc. This attack can immensely affect your website reputation and SEO rankings.

Working Of The Pharma Attack

As with any other attack, hackers use the pharma hack on vulnerable websites, so you must avoid all kinds of security mistakes and take measures to secure your WordPress website. Hackers use black hat SEO methods to display illegal drugs on popular websites having high keyword rankings and divert the traffic to their own.

The Pharma hack code gets embedded by the hackers within CSS files of your website, and the hackers also ensure that the additional code will not be visible to you. This way, you won’t be suspicious of anything.

However, though the malicious code is not visible to you, search engine crawlers can scan for harmful code, and it will seriously affect your SEO rankings; your website could fall on the blacklist. 

How Will hackers Benefit From The Pharma Attack

Hackers have many reasons to attack websites; the motives can range from boredom to profit. However, in the case of the pharma hack, it is the latter. The pharma hack can be very beneficial to a hacker if successful. The reasons for a hacker to attack your website with a pharma hack are:

  1. Hackers can use this attack to sell illegal and banned drugs/medicines.
  2. They can get paid to redirect a website to other website links.
  3. They can add phishing pages to your website.

Negative Impact Of The Pharma Hack On Your Website

As we know, hackers use various devious attacks to harm your website, but the consequences of each web attack are just as frustrating. The negative impacts of a conditional pharma hack are:

  1. Your website SEO rankings will take a fall and can enter a blacklist.
  2. Your website spam score can get increased, and Google will consider your website as a spam site.
  3. In extreme cases, your website might get banned from displaying in search results.

How To Fix The Pharma Hack?

Hackers have an edge with the conditional hack because it can go unnoticed by the website owner for a long time. However, once you figure out that the website is under hackers control, you can follow these steps to remove the pharma hack:

Step 1: Backup Your Website

Backing up your website should not only be limited to fixing a pharma attack, but you must pick it up as a routine since it is a good practice and benefits your website in crisis. While fixing something on your website, if something goes wrong and you mess up something important, your backup will be there to undo the changes.

Step 2: Website Scan

Scanning your website for malware and vulnerabilities will help you figure out where the problem lies so that you can fix the website issue. There are numerous WordPress security scanners like the Scan My WP, which will help you trace back to all security vulnerabilities on your website.

Step 3: Removal Of Infected Files

On your website, look for hacked files that may have extensions like .class, .cache, .old, by going to /wp-contents/ directory. The dot represents that files are hidden and are not visible unless we opt for the “show hidden files” option. After you find these files, delete all the hidden files.

Step 4: Temp Directory Clearance

Hackers may use temp files and folders while injecting malware into your website, so you should go to /wp-contents/temp/ directory, which contains the temporary files of the pharma hack. Empty the folder if you find any entries that you do not recognize or if you find them suspicious.

Step 5: Check The Content Of .htaccess File

Hackers can use the .htaccess file to hack into your website, so you can regenerate a new .htaccess file from the WordPress dashboard and check if something is out of the ordinary.

Step 6: Remove Malicious Code From Your Database

Handling a database is a risky one, so let me remind you to back up your website. If something goes wrong, your backup will fix things up.

Follow these steps to make your database malware-free:

  • Look for the phpMyAdmin panel.
  • Click on your database.
  • Select wp_options table.
  • Find out the malicious entries similar to wp_check_hash, Class_generic_ssupport, widget_generic_support, Ftp_credentials, rss_% , etc and delete them. However, make sure not to delete important entries from the table and tread carefully during this step.

The pharma hack is not the only threat to your website, and hackers use many other attacks to harm your website. Using WordPress security plugins like the Hide My WP will block many lethal attacks. Some of the best features of the Hide My WP security plugin are:

Hide My Wp security plugin
  • It can hide your WordPress and lets you hide or rename the themes/plugins folders.
  • It helps you change WordPress permalinks. and hide the login page of your website to prevent brute-force attacks.
  • It can block attacks like SQLXSSCSRF, read arbitrary files, and brute force attacks with the help of a firewall.
  • It informs the user about attack value, page (i.e the plugin they used), attack Impact, and IP address of the hacker.
  • It will help you hide or rename WP-admins.
  • It allows you to disable direct access to PHP files/directory listing and minify HTML and CSS.
  • It lets you to change anything in your source code.
  • It also has anti-spam included.

Summing It Up

WordPress will always have the attention of hackers, and it is our responsibility to make sure that our websites do not fall prey to their attacks. The google conditional pharma hack is very dangerous for your website’s reputation and rankings. Hence, you should take the necessary measures to ensure that it doesn’t leave a lasting impact on your website.

Taking extra precautions like using a WordPress security plugin and firewall to protect your website from attacks like pharma hacks will prove to be a good choice. 

Also Read: GDPR: What Is It, And How Does It Affect My Website?