In cleaning infected websites and protecting them, we constantly see infected websites that have been infected due to stolen passwords.
That all depends. Sometimes it’s the CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) or the ecommerce (Zen Cart, osCommerce, etc.). Other times it’s either the hosting account or the FTP account’s password that is stolen.
How can we tell?
There are numerous ways of determining when stolen passwords were used as the point of entry into a hosting account or website, but frequently we can see successful logins in the log files from places all over the world. Mind you, these are not attempted logins, but actual logins.
Often times we can tell by the type of infection or where the infectious code is located, whether or not the point of entry to an infected website is via stolen passwords.
How does this happen?
Typically there is a virus on someone’s local computer that is stealing the password. When this happens you can “cloak” your WordPress login page, you can have a 52 character password with multiple special characters, you can rename the admin account, but none of this matters as the password stealing viruses and trojans steal: the login URL, the username and the password.
This can also happen if you’re using SFTP or FTPS, the “secured” file transfer protocol.
Yes, this even happens to Mac users. Quite often we find that Mac owners don’t have any anti-virus program or they’re using ClamAV for Mac.
With everyone seeking “free” anti-virus programs, we typically recommend: Free version of Avast for Mac, or Sophos for Mac.
On PCs, the most used anti-virus program is Microsoft Security Essentials. That is not what we recommend, but that is what most people are using.
Today, I read an article that gives some details into why Microsoft Security Essentials may not be a reliable program to use if you’re trying to keep your PC safe.
Please understand I am not a Microsoft hater. I don’t hate anyone. But in our efforts to lower our already low re-infection rate (currently at .048%) we like to recommend products that will save you money and be highly effective.
If you could take a minute, let me know what anti-virus program you use and whether you’re on a Mac or a PC.