Deceptive Site Ahead
Table of Contents [TOC]
- Deceptive Site Ahead
- ⭐ What Does “The site ahead contains malware” Mean?
- ⭐ Reasons for Deceptive Site Ahead Warning
- WordPress Phishing
- Malware Infection
- WordPress XSS Attack:
- SQL injection attack:
- .htaccess Hacked
- Malicious Advertisements (Malvertising):
- Outdated SSL Certificate
- Vulnerable themes and plugins
- Nulled or pirated themes and plugins
- Uploading a file from an infected device
- Visiting a malicious or phishing site
- Impact Of Deceptive Site Ahead Warning On Your Site
- Deceptive Site Ahead Warning Chrome
- Other Warnings About Unsecured Websites
- Diagnose Deceptive site ahead red screen warning error
- Remove Disable Unsafe Site Warnings in Browser
- ⭐ How To Fix The ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’ Warning?
- Step 1: Find the Cause
- Step 2: Scan your Website for Malware
- Step 3: Remove a malware infection
- Step 4: Clean your WordPress database
- Step 5: Eliminate backdoors
- Step 6: Remove malware warnings
- Step 7: Obtain an SSL Certificate
- Step 8: Change your WordPress URL
- Step 9: Implement a 301 Redirect across the Site
- Step 10: Request a Review from Google
- Prevent “Deceptive Site Ahead” Warning Message
- Like this:
Are you seeing a red color page with “The site ahead contains malware”or “Deceptive site ahead” warning on opening your site in Chrome or Firefox. This is caused by malicious code present in your site. In this post, we will show you how to remove Deceptive Site Ahead Warning , its causes, diagnosis, removal & preventive steps you can take to secure your site.
Google chrome shows this kind of error when we open website containing harmful content or malicious code. If visitors see this error when they try to visit your WordPress site, it likely means that someone has hacked your site or otherwise injected malware into your site.
All these consequences and warnings imply that the search engines namely Google have blacklisted your site. This precautionary stride is taken to safeguard the users to suffer from data theft and fraud.
Therefore, it is evident that you might be anxious and worried about the outcome. It will ultimately result in causing the depletion of spectators and revenue.
The issue can get intense that the hackers are capable of defiling your site which creates a negative impact on your name. The only alternative to convalesce the site is to take immediate action towards it.
This requires a bit of light and we made sure to do it today. If you have ever come across the ‘Deceptive site ahead’ warning screen while navigating to a site, be sure to review the explanation below:
Also Read – Remove “This Site May Be Hacked” Warning Message in Google
⭐ What Does “The site ahead contains malware” Mean?
Deceptive site ahead is red screen of warning message shown by Google when we open a hacked wordpress site identified as unsafe for visitors. This error can also be triggered if your website downloads a malicious software in the background. It is a means of alerting visitor that this site is infected with malware and could lead to loss of financial information in your browser cookies by various means.
A red screen with the error message “The site you are accessing contains malicious programs” or “Deceptive site ahead” is a bad experience. And let’s not talk about the problem of the company’s reputation with its customers!
It means that the site was infected with a virus or malicious code, generally related to adult themes, online games, sports activities, fake news, banners, coupons, commercial offers, among others. Said code may even affect the computers of people who enter the website while it is affected.
The virus is a program used by criminals to invade computers, alter their operation and steal data such as IP addresses, databases, search queries, names, passwords, bank details, and credit cards of users.
A cyber attack of this nature, which mainly consists of redirecting victims to sites with fraudulent content, can even occur on CMS platforms such as Drupal , Shopify, Prestashop, Magento when the websites are out of date.
The setback can be remedied. Google gives the option of scanning the site, locating the virus in a safe environment, eliminating it, and taking the necessary measures so that the error does not reappear.
But there is an additional problem that must be solved, because sometimes, even if the threat is found and eliminated, the danger message still appears on the screen. This happens because Google flags sites that may be dangerous, to protect its users.
Above all, you must remain calm and understand that you are not alone in misfortune. Google reveals that every day it discovers thousands of new unsafe sites, many of them legitimate, that have been compromised.
This could happen if:
- A website is hosting phishing pages
- A website has malware/virus infection
- A website contains code within your website linking to questionable websites according to Google
- Website is transmitting your Personal information to un-secure servers/links
- SSL certificate is compromised
- Site contains credit card stealing malware
You can see different variations of this message depending upon the type of issues on your wordpress site.
- The site ahead contains malware
- Deceptive site ahead
- The site ahead contains harmful programs
- This page is trying to load scripts from unauthenticated sources
- Continue to [site name]?
⭐ Reasons for Deceptive Site Ahead Warning
As mentioned earlier if malware is found on the website, Google is urged to flag your platform as fraudulent and potentially dangerous. In this section, we will discuss in detail about various possible reasons for the “Deceptive Site Ahead” warning on your wordpress website.
Search engines like Google prioritize the satisfaction and safety of their users. Therefore, if there is an issue with your site that puts their users at risk, they will display the warning messages and prevent them from accessing your “unsafe site”.
This is because once there is malware on your site, a hacker can use it to perform malicious activities. These activities include the theft of confidential data, posting malicious content, and the sale of illegal products. All of these activities will affect your user in the following ways:
- They may be subject to viewing inappropriate content and ads.
- They could be redirected to malicious websites that trick them into downloading malware onto their computers.
- Hackers can also redirect them to phishing and malware sites with the intention of stealing their personal data.
Let’s dive into more details below.
Phishing is a social engineering technique used by criminals to obtain confidential information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy and legitimate communication.
The Phishing scenario is generally associated with the ability to duplicate a web page to make the visitors believe that it is on the original website, rather than the fake one. The deception is usually carried out through email and often these emails contain links to a fake website that looks almost identical to a legitimate site. Once on the fake site, unsuspecting users are tricked into entering their confidential data, which provides criminals with ample scope for scams and scams with the information obtained.
Malware is one of the top reasons for the ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’ warning. Websites are often infected with malware for months until it’s discovered. A Malware is often inserted into a website with these frequent cyber attacks. Here is our detailed expert guide on how to remove malware from wordpress site.
WordPress XSS Attack:
SQL injection attack:
WordPress SQL injection vulnerability is ranked as the second most critical security vulnerabilities in WordPress.
These attacks can reveal sensitive information about the database, which can give hackers access to make changes to your content and the entire website. Many attacks are accomplished today by some forms of SQL injections.
WordPress SQL injection can destroy the entire database of your site.
Attacker can hack your htaccess file and it can lead to Redirecting users from search engines to malware, Attaching a malware to the website, Browser Fingerprinting and IP logging without user interaction, Watering Hole Attacks & Information Disclosure Using htaccess.
Malicious Advertisements (Malvertising):
These could be injected in your site by means of various wordpress hacks. Hackers misuse wordpress vulnarabilities to carry out malware injections. Various types of hacks include WordPress pharma hacking, Japanese keyword hack & malware redirect hack in wordpress.
Outdated SSL Certificate
Another reason why your website has been flagged by Google as decpetive site could be that, when you move from HTTP to HTTPS. Only installing an SSL certificate is not enough, you also need to redirect your website From HTTP to HTTPS. Besides that, having some of your web pages as HTTP and some as HTTPS gives Google a mixed content signal.
Other common causes are discussed below.
Vulnerable themes and plugins
Over time the lapse of years, themes, and plugins usually build wordpress vulnerabilities. Developers launch security patches to cure the vulnerabilities when they are discovered. One can get access to the updated version in the form of these patches.
Ultimately your vulnerabilities will be cured when the new version is updated. In a few cases, the developers dawdle to detect the vulnerability, which gives an advantage to the hackers to hack the vulnerable websites.
Also, the latest version is not updated by the owner. This enables hackers to find the vulnerability in your plugins and exploit it for malicious activities.
Recently many vulnerabilities have been found in popular wp plugins, read about them here, here & here.
Surely one of the first questions that come to mind is… Why does the browser say that my website is dangerous? The answer is simple: security reasons.
The most likely in these cases is that your WordPress has been hacked, and a malicious user has taken advantage of a vulnerability in a plugin to inject malicious code into your application.
Nulled or pirated themes and plugins
The premium features are accessible to the users by nulled software on the loose. The usage of this software can get very enticing as well.
Nevertheless, the preloaded malware is already inbuilt into this software. The malware can be effortlessly distributed to any installed sites by the hackers. Thats why we always insist on keeping your wordpress theme security up to date.
To download any sort of software and unessential programs are un advisable from our side. Read – How to Scan & Detect Malware in Nulled WordPress Themes
Uploading a file from an infected device
The website can get affected when the malware has infected the computer.
The possibility of circulating the infection to the website is accelerated when the files are uploaded from the malware-infected device.
Visiting a malicious or phishing site
To open a malicious website can be negotiated and deluded at times. These sites are coded in such a way that by simply visiting the site, it could infect your computer and your own website if you have your WordPress dashboard open on another tab.
Malicious and phishing affairs are carried out by hackers. It ultimately helps them to get through your visitor’s private information. They dupe them into downloading malware, and lastly financially defraud them. Eg ; WordPress Ransomware , B0r0nt0k Ransomware
This opens up doors to severe repercussions for you and your business.
Impact Of Deceptive Site Ahead Warning On Your Site
The hazardous consequences can be experienced when the security of ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’ is flagged on your site.
- Decrease in traffic – The traffic will drastically drop when your spectators see the “Deceptive site ahead’ warning, and they will opt for the ‘go back to safety’.
- Fall in SEO ranking – Google penalizes your site for having malware which will cause your SEO rankings to drop. Your site can be ranked among the top three one day, and you would see it drop to the second or third page the next. Your site may not even appear on Google’s search results pages. This could be a result of Spam Link Injection or large scale SEO Spam
- Google ads suspended due to malware on site
- Web host suspension –The account will be instantly suspended when the malware is detected on your site. Until and unless the malware is not cleaned the website platform cannot be hosted. Read our detailed post – Siteground Account Suspended Site
So you see that your hacked WordPress site also puts your visitors at risk of being hacked. In order to protect their users, they blacklist your site and display the warning message “This site contains malware”.
Now that you know why this happened, we will show you how to remove deceptive site ahead error below. We will approach this in three steps:
- Scan and clean your WordPress website for malware
- Submit your site to Google for review
- Prevent future malware infections on your WordPress site
To safeguard the servers and interests the following steps are taken.
Deceptive Site Ahead Warning Chrome
Google pays a lot of attention to the user’s online safety, and that’s also the inclusive concept of the Chrome browser. They can invade your privacy occasionally, but phishing and malware sites are immediately identified.
So even without the online protection of third-party antivirus, you are likely to run into one or more security warnings along the way.
Especially, if you scroll through the dark parts of the Internet or click on pop-ups or advertisements.
They are characterized by the red alert screen that informs you that the link you are trying to follow is:
- Malware infection on the website.
- Links to hacked sites
- Outdated WordPress version
- Plugins or themes having malicious code
- spam in your comments linking to questionable sources can cause a warning.
As for the “Pre-misleading site” warning, most of the time these are treacherous sites trying to steal your personal data, especially passwords. The milder versions come with dozens of ad pop-ups.
When something like this happens, you can submit a report, close the tab and avoid the site in the future, or just open it if you know you can trust it. These protection measures are there to prevent phishing and malware infections. Also, Chrome will automatically prevent all downloads from unauthorized sources.
Also Read – Crypto Mining CoinHive Malware GUIDE
Other Warnings About Unsecured Websites
Depending on the browser you use (Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge …) the message may vary slightly. You can even see other warnings like:
- The website you are going to access contains malicious software
- The website you are going to access is misleading
- Suspicious website
- The website you are going to access contains harmful programs
- This page is trying to load scripts from unauthorized sources
Basically, these warnings indicate to users that your website is in danger.
Diagnose Deceptive site ahead red screen warning error
You can Verify the Status of Your Website in Google’s safe browsing analysis tool. All you need to do is add your site’s domain name as the query parameter to the URL like this:
Checking Your Site in the Google Search Console
Go to > “Security issues” link in the Google Search Console. Here you can check with Google to see what the problem is .
Yo can file a report for an incorrect phishing warning in case there is no issue shown there. Goto Google’s “Report Incorrect Phishing Warning” page. Complete the form and click the “Submit Report” button.
Remove Disable Unsafe Site Warnings in Browser
In Google Chrome
We found some bogus reports that it is a browser hijacker or a malware infection at hand. It is not. It is an integral part of Chrome that can be disabled if you wish.
Here’s how to turn off the ‘Deceptive site ahead’ indicator in Chrome:
- Open Chrome.
- Click on the 3-dot menu on the far right and open Settings
- Scroll down and expand the Advanced section.
- Navigate to Privacy and security.
- Disable Protect you and your device from dangerous sites
We recommend using an AdBlocker to overcome pop-ups and antivirus for online protection. Windows Defender will suffice most of the time, and it makes your browsing more secure.
Verify the Status of Your Website in Safe Browsing
Essentially, this alert is to inform the user that the site they are going to visit is suspicious and may contain malware.
Google also launched at the beginning of this year the label “It is possible that this site has been hacked” in its results pages in order to warn its users.
According to Google, warnings protect you from harm caused by dangerous sites, such as malware infections and phishing attacks. But it hasn’t always been clear why a specific website triggers a warning.
So, to demystify these warnings, Google is launching a tool to check the level of browsing safety on any website.
So the next time a user comes across such a warning from browsing Google results pages, they can search whether the website is actually blocked by Google’s systems.
“With Google’s Safe Browsing technology billions of URLs are scanned every day for suspicious websites.
We are discovering thousands of new questionable websites every day, including many legitimate websites that have been infected. We then flag those sites with warnings in Google search and in web browsers. You can search to see if a particular website is dangerous. ”
By using this tool, the user should see “Not dangerous” as the security level to visit the content without any risk.
If a site displays the security level as “Dangerous” in red, then this could indicate that the content is bad or has a temporary malware infection.
The condition of the site will return to normal once the webmaster has cleaned up the site. To help speed up this process, Google automatically provides the webmaster with a notification to check the health of their site through Google Search Console.
Make a complete backup of your WordPress site. Removing malware from your wordpress site can become a daunting task. Even after cleaning your site thoroughly, the malicious code can keep coming back until you find and remove the backdoor placed on your site.
Find the backdoor. It could be a compromised password, unsafe file permissions, or a cleverly disguised file. We have a detailed guide on how to find a backdoor in a hacked WordPress site and fix it.
⭐ How To Fix The ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’ Warning?
This warning is caused by the malware present in the website. To remove the deceptive site aheadwarning, you need to get rid of malicious code at first place. Then you need to resubmit site to google for reconsideration.
Follow the below mentioned 10 easy steps.
Step 1: Find the Cause
The ability to find and remove viruses can be done manually, but it is time consuming, tedious, and frustrating, so the use of specialized tools is recommended.
There are free plugins that provide best wordpress security services . They help prevent sites from being infected and make this work much more difficult for an attacker, protecting your site from these threats. They must be installed before suffering the attack.
Hunt for malware in the following files:
- index.php file
- core theme files
- header & footer files
- wp-content uploads
- functions.php file (if using WordPress)
- WP-Content Uploads Hack
- wp-config file (if this file is infected, wp-config hack could be at work)
You can also get list of infected URLs causing the issue in google search console under “security settings”
Step 2: Scan your Website for Malware
Although you can review your website files manually, it is best to perform a scan using an online tool that allows you to do it automatically. You save a lot of time and it is also much more efficient.
WP Hacked Help offer Professional security solutions for WordPress websites. We can fix WordPress site instantly. Try our WordPress malware scanner & contact us for malware removal, WordPress Security services, WordPress Hosting and Maintenance Services. 24/7 support available. For SMB websites, blogs, enterprise websites & agencies. Secure Your WordPress Website Today!
Our scanner allows you to do security scans to find infected files and replace them with healthy files. To use it, you only need to visit the official site. You hit “Scan” and the scanner does the job.
WP Hacked Help team can also help you. They just require all the necessary accesses to be able to enter and do the required updating and cleaning tasks, as it is something that we have done before. We can certainly help you.
Step 3: Remove a malware infection
The steps you must follow are:
- Log in to your server via SFTP or SSH.
- Create a backup of your website.
- Search your files for any references to malicious domains or payloads.
- Identify suspicious or recently modified files.
- Restore infected files with copies of the official repository or with a clean backup.
- Replicate the customization made in your files.
- Check that your website is still working after the changes.
If you use the WP Hacked Help scanner, we will suggest the code to remove to make your work easier. You can also edit your file directly from the compare and editor.
Step 4: Clean your WordPress database
To clean and remove malware from the database, you can use the database administration panel to connect to the database.
- Login to the database administration panel.
- Make a backup of the database.
- Look for suspicious content like spam links.
- Open the table that contains suspicious content and delete it.
- Make sure your website is still working after the changes.
You can also manually search for malicious PHP functions, such as eval, base64_decode, preg_replace, str_replace, etc. These functions are also used legitimately by plugins, so be sure to test the changes so you don’t accidentally damage your website, blog, or e-commerce.
Step 5: Eliminate backdoors
After eliminating the infection, you should look for backdoors that allow attackers to enter your website whenever they want, and the malware warnings of your WordPress.
This can be one of the main reasons for reinfection so you should look for files with names similar to WordPress core files but locate in the wrong directory. Backdoors generally include these PHP functions:
base64, str_rot13, gzuncompress, eval, exec, create_function, system, assert, stripslashes, preg_replace (with / e /), move_uploaded_file.
These functions can also be used by plugins, so be sure to test any changes so as not to cause damage to your website by removing benign functions.
Step 6: Remove malware warnings
To remove google blacklist or malware warnings on your website , you should probably contact your hosting provider and ask them to remove the suspension of your service since you have cleaned your website.
Step 7: Obtain an SSL Certificate
Obtaining an SSL certificate is relatively simple. However, in most cases, you will have to pay for it to certify that your website is trustworthy. Fortunately, SSL certificates are not too expensive.
Once your certificate is ready, you will still need to configure it before you can fix the “Deceptive Site Ahead” warning.
Step 8: Change your WordPress URL
At this point, your WordPress website is still using an HTTP URL. Before you can force the platform to load via HTTPS, you will need to change the main URL. To do this, log into your WordPress dashboard and go to the Settings> General tab.
You will see several options inside. However, the two that we are interested in are the WordPress Address (URL) and the Site Address (URL) :
What you need to do now is change both URLs to use HTTPS instead of HTTP, just adding the additional “s” to both. Then save your changes on this page.
At this point, you may be wondering why there are two different fields to configure the WordPress URL. This is because the WordPress Address field tells the platform where the main files for your site are located. The Site address field, on the other hand, specifies where visitors can find your website.
In most cases, both fields will be identical. However, you can also install WordPress core files in a different directory, which would alter the WordPress Address field. Even then, the only change you need to make now is to replace HTTP with HTTPS in both fields.
After doing so, you’ll be much closer to getting rid of Chrome’s “Not Safe” warning. There is only one more thing you need to do before your website can be considered secure (at least by Google standards).
Step 9: Implement a 301 Redirect across the Site
At this stage, visitors will already be able to access your website via HTTPS. The problem is that many of them can still work out using HTTP. They may have saved your old URL, for example, or they may come from an old link on an external site. To solve this problem and protect those users, you must tell WordPress to redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPS.
To do this, you will need to set up what is known as a redirect for your entire website. You can use various types of redirects, but the best one for this scenario is 301. This is what is called a ‘permanent’ redirect and it tells search engines that your website has been permanently moved to a new address.
You can use a plugin like Really Simple SSL, to set up a 301 redirect in WordPress which forces WordPress to load over HTTPS.
All you have to do is install the plugin, and it will automatically search for an SSL certificate associated with your website. If it finds one (which it should be, if you’ve made it this far), it will enable HTTPS automatically.
Although using a plugin is very simple, it is not what we recommend in most cases. The problem with plugins is that they sometimes crash due to updates or conflicts. When it comes to key functionality like HTTPS, you may not feel safe depending on a third-party plugin.
Step 10: Request a Review from Google
Now that you have your website clean and free of malware, it is time for Google to know it too so that it does not continue to show the error “Deceptive site ahead” and mark your website as dangerous.
In Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) you have an option to request a review of your website. To do this, open your account and, in the left side menu, click on the option “Security and manual actions” and indicate the measures you have carried out to clean your website. In about 72 hours your website should be shown again without any security warning.
Prevent “Deceptive Site Ahead” Warning Message
We have explained how to disinfect WordPress to eliminate warnings about security in search engines like Google, but the most important thing is to tackle the root problem.
If every two out of three Google detects that there is malware on your site, there will come a time when it will penalize you, which is why it is so important to take preventive measures to avoid reaching this situation.
1. Use hosting with robust security measures
If the foundations of a website are secure, it will resist much better against attacks that want to destroy it. So, using a hosting plan with strong security measures is vital to keep your business and your clients safe and risk-free.
Obviously, all software are susceptible to having some vulnerability, but using a web Hosting or SSD Hosting plan that has anti-hacking security measures, a firewall or an account isolation system like CageFS makes it much more difficult when a user is trying to exploit any security hole in a CMS like WordPress.
NOTE – Update your wordpress salt keys for better security – READ MORE
2. Make sure you have backups
The most recommended thing is that when hiring a hosting you make sure that your provider provides you with backup copies in case something happens on your website.
Not only to restore your website if your WordPress has been infected, there are many times that you start making changes to your website and the result is not what you expected … The fastest? Restore a copy and get everything working properly again in minutes. Know How to Backup WordPress Database Manually & With Plugins?
3. Keep your website always up to date
Updating WordPress and keeping your application’s plugins and templates up to date is essential to prevent any malicious user from sneaking onto your website.
For example, a very recent vulnerability was detected in the Client plugin that allowed any user to access the WordPress administration panel without logging in. Do you realize what that can mean? The developers immediately released a security version to correct the problem.
Keeping all WordPress plugins always up to date is something so important that they are already working to make automatic updates available natively in WordPress 5.5, without resorting to third-party platforms.Check for wordpress security updates
4. Use only trusted themes and plugins
Never use pirated plugins and themes. They often contain malware that causes your site to be hacked. We recommend using plugins that are in the WordPress repository or trusted marketplaces like CodeCanyon or ThemeForest.
5. Remove inactive themes and plugins
The more material you have on your website, the more likely it is for the hacker to break into your site. And hackers often target plugins and themes to compromise WordPress sites.
It is best to keep only the theme and plugins for WordPress that you actually use. Delete the ones you don’t use.
6. A security plugin can help you
Having a security add-on installed on your website will help you stay alert in case something bad happens on your website. For me, i would go for a top rated plugin from here, check out our list of best wordpress security plugins in 2023, but in the official WordPress repository, you have a thousand alternatives that help you keep your website safe.
7. Protect the WordPress login
Another effective measure to prevent a user from taking control of your website is to protect the WordPress login screen. Sometimes using a strong password or a user other than admin is not enough, so the action is required.
- Change the access URL to your WordPress
- Password protect the wp-admin directory
- Use a Captcha system
When Google shows the warning ‘Deceptive site ahead‘ on your website, it is necessary to get down working and repairing this error as soon as possible. Your visits may doubt the professionalism of your website and this is something that can harm you, both in terms of SEO and conversions.
To disinfect WordPress you can use a scanner like WP Hacked Help or also a malware analysis tool. In this way, you can detect malicious files to clean them or restore a backup of your website. We can also help you fix your hacked wordpress site in under 5 hrs.
Remember, if your website browser is indicating it as dangerous, contact us and we will take care of everything. After cleaning, you can take a Google review for malware and virus-free website.