For a visitor or a business, seeing the message “The website you are going to open is misleading” is sometimes frustrating. Indeed, when a website is hacked, it is very uncomfortable for a site manager who has undoubtedly taken a lot of time and energy to invest in his solution. For a visitor, it is a warning signal to avoid falling into a trap. In this article, we will see how to fix such a problem. Then we will see some causes and how to protect ourselves in the future better.
What to do if you see the message “The site you are about to open is misleading”?
If you own a site and see such a message, your website has likely been hacked. Therefore, you need to follow steps to address the issue. Below are some suggested steps.
0 – Do not panic; it happens frequently.
You’re never immune to cybercriminals. So, the first thing to do is not panic. Indeed, panic can lead you to delete your website or make irrational decisions.
1- Make a copy of your website (if not done yet)
You can validate your codes and files and probably restore your website with a copy of your website. If you use a CMS, you must also make a copy of the database and regulations. Don’t forget your photos and videos. In the case of WordPress, for example, you can focus on the following:
- A copy of your database
- The folder of your active theme (parent theme and child theme)
- A copy of the (premium) extensions. You potentially list the extensions available in the WordPress library and reactivate them.
- A copy of the “upload” folder
Other data will be available in a subsequent WordPress installation.
For other CMS, you need to analyze custom folders and probably not handle the software folders.
2 – Check the security of your website
Ensure your site is secure and does not contain malware, phishing, or other potential user threats. In this scope, you can use online tools such as:
- Google Search Console,
- or Sucuri SiteCheck
To analyze your site. If your website displays a security-related notification, there is a high probability that your website is not safe.
3 – Clean up your website.
To clean your website, using a malicious code detection tool to scan the files would be ideal. Then, if you have a cPanel web server, here are some examples of tools that can help.
Imunify360 is a complete and automated security solution for Linux web servers. It is designed to protect websites from online threats such as malware, DDoS attacks, SQL injections, brute force attacks, and other vulnerabilities.
Sucuri is a comprehensive website security solution that protects against malware, DDoS attacks, vulnerabilities, and other online threats. In addition, it offers regular scans, alerts, security patches, and website cleaning services.
Wordfence is a popular WordPress security solution that protects your site from malware and online attacks. It also offers security scans, a web application firewall, a malware scanner, and alerts for updates and vulnerabilities.
SiteLock is a website security solution that scans your site for malware, vulnerabilities, and other security issues. Moreover, it offers a web application firewall, automatic malware removal, and website cleanup service.
MalCare is a WordPress security plugin that analyzes and protects your site from malware and other online threats. In addition, it allows regular scanning, automatic malware removal, and a web application firewall.
Astra Security is a website security solution that protects your site from malware, DDoS attacks, and other online threats. It also offers security analytics, a Web application firewall, alerts, and website cleaning services.
Once you have the files containing viruses, you can delete or clean them.
4 – Update the software
Ensure that all software, CMS, plugins, and themes used on your site are up-to-date and come from reliable sources. Indeed, outdated or compromised software can be vulnerable to attack and lead to security issues. In your update process, you can, for example, fully reinstall the application.
5 – Use an SSL certificate
If your site does not already have an SSL certificate, install one to encrypt the data between the server and visitors. Furthermore, SSL certificates are essential for search engine ranking and user trust.
6 – Review the security measures of your website
If your website says, “The website you’re going to open is misleading,” there are security vulnerabilities that you need to address. So, to find the latter, several possibilities are to be explored:
- The Contact forms on your website. Often, if you give your users the ability to send files, you can exploit that to send malicious code.
- Check the login to your website. When users create an account to access your website, you must have validation and filtering measures.
- Easy-to-guess passwords. Hackers very frequently use password vulnerabilities to access solutions. Therefore, changing passwords regularly and avoiding easily guessing passwords is crucial.
7 – Request a new exam
Once you are confident that your site is secure and free from problems, request a new review from browsers or security services that initially displayed the error message. For example, if the error message is from Google, use the Google Search Console to request a new review of your site.
8 – Fix server configuration issues
Ensure your server is configured correctly and does not redirect users to insecure or misleading websites.
It can be challenging to restart developing your solution during an attack. However, by following the proper procedure, you can get away with less damage. If you wish to avoid the issue of “The website you are going to open is misleading”? We then recommend this WordPress plugin that we developed. The latter allows you to protect your website from spam.