No Bones About It: Infected WordPress Plugins Could Cripple Your Website

Anderson Technologies combines web hosting services with unparalleled customer service to help a local business stay online: “To be with Anderson Tech is really comforting because I know that I’m in good hands. Any communication I have is going to be forthright, honest, and addressed.”

Customer service and availability are what keeps your business thriving, something Greg Thompson of Country Acres Pet Resort and Country Acres Rescue knows all too well. When Country Acres’ websites stopped loading consistently and started bombarding visitors with malware-laced links, Anderson Technologies stepped in to find a solution to keep Thompson and his team doing what they do best—providing a home away from home for pets and connecting rescue animals to their forever families.

Hosting Provider Frustrations Are More Than Pet Peeves

In summer 2017, Country Acres’ websites started slowing down and crashing, so Thompson contacted his web hosting provider. “Each time they would say, ‘We’re so sorry, we’ll get right on it!’ and either the situation would continue to be unresolved, or we’d see an improvement and then shortly thereafter [the problem] would start occurring again.”

After working his way through the chain of command, Thompson finally got the web hosting provider to admit that their servers had been breached, leaving Country Acres’ two websites vulnerable to malicious malware injection. “The other company had not been honest or forthright at all about the true problem,” Thompson explains. “I got frustrated enough that I started looking at a way out.”

This problem isn’t uncommon. Over 30 million websites were hacked in 2017 alone, equating to about 80,000 websites infiltrated daily. Malware hacks can cause sites to slow down dramatically, or worse, inject code into site data to trick visitors into clicking popups containing malware or viruses.  When a company’s website is its primary method of connecting with new and returning customers, being unavailable for even one day can make a significant impact on business.

Thankfully, Thompson brought his malware problem to Mark Anderson, principal of Anderson Technologies. Once Anderson explained that Country Acres’ websites could be easily migrated to a more secure hosting provider, Thompson was ready to join forces and invest in his business’ success.

Cloud-Hosted Servers Prove to Be the Cat’s Meow

As soon as Thompson described the exasperating situation to Farica Chang, director at Anderson Technologies, the team jumped into action. “Web traffic is an important part of Country Acres’ visitor interaction,” says Chang. “It was imperative to get them up and running on our secure hosting solution as soon as possible.”

First, the Anderson team migrated both websites to their own cloud servers before cleaning up the code. This way, the sites lived in a safe environment and weren’t in danger of being reinfected with the same malware. Once isolated, the team performed a full investigatory scan and isolated the 642 files injected with malicious code.

After removing the suspicious code, the Anderson Technologies team tested every page of both Country Acres websites to ensure that the malware had been completely eradicated. An infected WordPress plugin had to be repurchased because the original license expired under the old hosting provider, and the new plugin was patched to prevent similar malware infiltration.

The results were almost immediate. “I saw an instant increase in our business, actually,” describes Thompson, “because when people go to your website and it doesn’t work or doesn’t load, a lot of times they just look elsewhere. It was a really important fix and looking back on it now, I wish I had done it sooner.”

Cyber Security Is Man’s (and Machine’s) Best Friend

Though Anderson Technologies was able to get Country Acres’ websites back in business in a matter of days, some fixes aren’t as straightforward. “Everyone with a website should be concerned about its security,” says Chang. “Automated code allows hackers to cast a wide net and look for vulnerabilities on many sites simultaneously. Every day our security monitoring tools send us alerts regarding malicious web bots trying to gain access to client web servers.”

Caution and prevention are enormously important when it comes to cyber security, but a partnership with a dedicated IT team is invaluable in times of unexpected crisis. Thanks to quick action and professional communication, Country Acres continues to provide malware-free services to all its two- and four-legged customers.

“Basic, traditional customer service,” is what Thompson says ultimately makes Anderson Technologies stand out from his previous web hosting provider. “It was refreshing to actually call up and have somebody answer the phone and return emails. You take those things for granted when you’re with a company that’s doing what they’re supposed to do, but after what I’ve been through it was pretty refreshing.”

Whether you need a new hosting provider or your website just isn’t performing optimally, contact Anderson Technologies today for a free consultation.


Snapshots of Furry Friends from the Anderson Technologies Family

Image at Top of Page (clockwise): Nicki, Howl, Oren, Mochi, Daisy

Image Below (clockwise): Emmett, Spoons & Sonny Boy Williamson, Sophie, Luna

Snapshots of furry friends from the Anderson Technologies family (clockwise): Emmett, Spoons & Sonny Boy Williamson, Sophie, Luna