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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Website Hacked? MalCare Security Service to the Rescue!

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Did you know that 73% of the 40,000 most popular websites are built on WordPress? There is no doubt that WordPress is world’s favorite website building platform. Each year hundreds of thousands of hack attempts are made on a WordPress site. This makes it apparent that there is a vital need for protection against hack attempts.

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A few years back, I built a couple of websites on WordPress and didn’t think I’d need to invest in a security solution. However, my sites were hacked, and I have started to take security seriously since then. When I Googled for security plugins, I came across many listicles mentioning MalCare. It had great reviews so I thought I would give it a try.

MalCare: An Overview

Designed by the team behind BlogVault (a popular backup service), MalCare is WordPress security solution. It scans and cleans WordPress websites and protects them from future security issues. BlogVault has been providing backups to WP website owners for years. In that time, they noticed that there was a dire need for a good security solution. It took them over two years to build the security solution.

An all-encompassing security software, MalCare focuses on the following:

  1. Detection of the Malware
  2. Removal and Prevention
  3. Providing Protection Against Hacking

MalCare also ensures that there are Zero False Alerts so as to not send users into a panicky fit. My favorite part about MalCare is that I didn’t need to have any prior knowledge of the technical side of building sites, nor do I need to manually scan the site (which is not a good idea anyway). The Automatic One-Click Malware Cleaner ensures that I don’t have to call a technician and wait around for them to fix my websites.

Installation and Setup

Setting up MalCare on my website was an easy process. It took me no longer than five minutes to get it up and running as a plugin on my WordPress sites.

Here’s a quick look at how to set up MalCare:

  • Add the Website: Enter the URL of your website by clicking on Add Site or by clicking on the + button that appears on the top left corner.

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  • Install the Plugin: Enter the credentials of your website, and you’re ready to go!

The setup process is quick and very easy.

Dashboard Overview

The MalCare dashboard is easy to use, as it is neatly divided into sections such as Management, Backup, Security, Reporting, and White-Labelling. The quick links on the left are also handy.

After the plugin is installed to your site, it starts scanning the website for malware automatically. Once the scanning is complete, a score appears on the dashboard. It’s calculated using an algorithm that shows how secure your website is. The score ranges from A to D, with A being best and D being worst, in terms of security. MalCare also indicates how one can improve the score.

MalCare Scanner

MalCare promises to detect the most complex malware, so I decided to put it through the wringer and test it myself.

Testing the Scanner

For this review, I decided to use one of the infected sites. The scanner scans the website automatically every day and you can schedule the scan as per your convenience.

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But you can also scan a site right away by pressing the Scan Now button.

MalCare syncs that site to its servers and performs the scans, therefore, my site is left unaffected. MalCare was able to detect a hack immediately. I was informed via an email, and the detection was reflected on the dashboard too.

Advanced Technology

The scanner uses over 100 signals to detect new and complex malware on a WordPress website. The AI-based technology is constantly learning and upgrading its knowledge base. MalCare syncs the website to the servers and tracks daily changes that help located malware with precision.

Scans Beyond Signature Matching

MalCare keeps a record of and evaluates the changes that occur on your site. It looks for anything abnormal and investigates the presence of existing malware, it looks for new and complex malware.

Does Not Overload Your Server

Since MalCare runs the scanning process on its servers, it does not bog down to my site. It does all the heavy lifting on its own server so that my sites remain unaffected.

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Minimal False Positives

Since MalCare focuses on accurate detection of any malware, it hasn’t sent me a single false positive so far. Sure, I did worry that the lack of these false positives meant the scanner was failing. So, I talked to the MalCare support, and they said that they have taken significant measures to make sure that the security solution only reports actual malware on the site.

MalCare Cleaner

One of my favorite MalCare features is the One Click malware clean. In the past, I’ve been the type to continually panic about my site if even one thing seems out of place, which led to me making panicked calls to security specialist sometimes. MalCare’s One Click cleaner makes the job so much easier.

Testing the Cleaner

I received an email from MalCare saying my site was hacked, so I immediately clicked on the Auto Clean button. I filled in the details of my site and voila! The malware was automatically cleaned within a few minutes. If you want to check the infected files, simply click on the words Infected Files in the Scanner section.

Complete Malware Removal

From what I have read online, malware tends to come back after a while through backdoors, but MalCare takes extra measures to make sure this doesn’t happen. I haven’t faced a return of malware so far.

No Technical Knowledge Necessary

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The cleaning is a One-Click feature, so you don’t need any technical insight to keep your site safe, neither do you need an external specialist to perform the cleanup for you. This means there is no need to share your website credentials with a stranger.

Surgical Precision in Malware Removal

MalCare keeps track of all the changes made on my website. That way, it’s able to investigate what looks like a suspicious activity. This helps the security solution find new and complex malware and even pinpoint their exact location. Then remove the malware with precision and without affecting any of the clean files.

Website Hardening

WordPress recommends a variety of practices one can follow to harden their website, and MalCare covers them all. Based on the severity of the security required, MalCare allows the following measures to be taken:

  • Essentials
    • Block PHP Execution in Untrusted Folders
    • Change Database Prefix
    • Disable Files Editor
  • Advanced
      • Block Plugin/Theme Installation
  • Paranoid
    • Reset all Passwords
    • Change Security Keys

Here’s what MalCare helps you do:

  • Change Security Keys

MalCare helps you keeps security keys secure by storing them in the wpconfig.php file. This is because the plugin is guarding against hackers who may get access to the security keys that are stored in the database of the site.

  • Protect Upload Folders

MalCare helps you block PHP files and other forms of hacking used by hackers.

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  • Disallows Plugin Installation

Don’t let malware come in again through backdoors and rogue plugins. MalCare doesn’t allow any automatic installations so that you can guard against this.

  • Disable File Editor

It helps you protect the site’s backend by disabling the hacker’s access to your backend files.

I select whatever security measure was convenient for my site and filled into the SFTP details. That’s it. My site is secured!

Since I didn’t have the technical knowledge to perform these functions, MalCare is a blessing. The feature helped harden the security of my website by protects the backend. I enjoy the fact that it takes no times, and all I have to do is click on a few buttons to get the job done.

MalCare Firewall

A Firewall protects a website by building a virtual fort around it to protect it from hack attacks. MalCare firewall is enabled automatically but I can disable it if I want to.

MalCare firewall offers two features: IP Blocking & Login Protection.

IP Blocking

MalCare blocks bad IP addresses that are known to harm website they visit. The firewall keeps track of such websites and blocks them from accessing my site. That’s a relief!

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Login Protection

Following a few failed login attempts, MalCare deploys CAPTCHA-based protection, therefore, thwarting any Brute Force Attacks! A bot cannot read CAPTCHA.

Details on the blocked IP or even the ones allowed can be found by simply clicking on the options Blocked IPs or View Details.

To ensure that the Firewall is working properly, I made a couple of attempts at entering my site by using the wrong password, and in incognito mode. After my third try, MalCare barred me from logging in. And then the CAPTCHA was deployed which I had to solve to be allowed to log in again.

Website Management

Website maintenance is crucial but to perform it one has to jump from site to site on a regular basis. MalCare allows one to update or delete plugins, themes and the WordPress core from its dashboard.

User Management

I can also manage user like adding new ones and deleting the old ones among other things. For those of you who have to work with a lot of users, this little feature promises to make your life easier.

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Integrated Secure Backup

Backups are integral to the security of a site. MalCare offers daily backup that’ll act as a safety net for when the most happen. With MalCare backups (powered by BlogVault), I can get my site up and run in a few hours.

Support

MalCare offers seamless support. I had a few general questions regarding the security of my site, and the MalCare support team got back to me within 24 hours with a response. The support team even provided me with relevant information on security, which was very handy. Being serious about WordPress security now, I took notes on them.

Price

MalCare has a free as well as a paid version. The Scanner with Firewall is available in the Free Version. The Paid version begins at $8.25 a month which is a decent enough price.

Verdict

After using MalCare, I felt like my WordPress site is safe which is why I’d recommend this plugin to everyone. My favorite bit is its lightweight and powerful scanner and not to mention it’s one-click cleaner. I no longer have to find security experts to help me out, neither do I need to visit every single one of my sites to be able to update or secure them. All can be done from a single dashboard.

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Another impressive MalCare feature is white labeling, which means that I can re-brand the MalCare plugin and sell the service under my own brand name. Also, the detailed client report is very handy in managing clients. And for extra security, the MalCare team is also introducing a Two Factor Authentication System soon!

Why not try MalCare right now!

Kingsley Felixhttps://kraftysprouts.media
Based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I am the founder of Krafty Sprouts Media, LLC (US), i make sure thing run smoothly and well organized in our organization. Follow me on my social media platforms.
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