CryptoPHP and other Malware Infects WordPress Themes

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – AHosting, a provider of high-performance CMS hosting, has released an advisory notice warning WordPress users that a large number of sites have recently been infected by malware such as CryptoPHP, including over 20,000 WordPress sites in the last month. AHosting has cautioned WordPress users to take care when using free themes in WordPress and to avoid using pirate premium themes at all costs.

Themes that do not originate from verified theme directories and developers can contain malware which puts sites and their users at risk. As a provider of CMS hosting, including WordPress hosting, AHosting is well placed to observe the current state of the free WordPress theme ecosystem. While there are many excellent free themes available from reputable sources, the company has concerns that users who are unfamiliar with the risks may be influenced to install themes that contain malicious code or spammy links.

“WordPress has created an inclusive platform that allows anyone to create a presence on the web,” commented Daniel Page, Director of Business Development at AHosting, Inc., “Criminals are taking advantage of inexperienced users by injecting malicious code such as backdoors into themes and plugins, then making them available online. We’d like to make users aware of the risks and point them in the direction of verified, safe resources for obtaining free themes.”

WordPress is hugely popular, which makes it a tempting target for online criminals. The easiest way for them to infect a site is to let WordPress users do it themselves. AHosting has strongly advised that WordPress users do not install free themes that they discover through search engines. Instead they should use recognized WordPress theme repositories or ensure that they obtain themes from reputable developers.

Over 20,000 WordPress sites were recently identified as being infected by the CryptoPHP malware, which inserts a backdoor into WordPress that allows online criminals to take control of infected sites. Online criminals continue to use this successful technique and WordPress users remain at considerable risk. The primary vector for CryptoPHP infection is free and pirate premium themes. The only safe way to deal with infections of this type is a complete reinstall of the content management system, which can cause serious disruption and lost revenue for site owners.

There are many thousands of free WordPress themes that are entirely safe to use. WordPress users should take all necessary precautions and ensure that, when installing a new theme, they are certain it originates from a trustworthy source.

About Ahosting:

AHosting is a managed web hosting provider with facilities in Orlando, FL, and Detroit, MI, owned and operated by AHosting, Inc., supplying hosting services that are truly beyond imagination. Since 2002, AHosting has established one of the web’s premier solutions for specialized CMS hosting, including WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal hosting; reseller web hosting, multiple IP hosting, dedicated servers, and VPS hosting. For more information, visit http://www.ahosting.net.

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