Fixing the “This site ahead contains harmful programs” Error
If you’re encountering the “This site ahead contains harmful programs” error, it can be a frustrating and confusing experience. The error message appears when Google Chrome detects that a website you’re trying to visit may be unsafe, and it’s designed to protect you from potentially harmful content. However, this error message can also appear on legitimate websites due to false positives, and it can be a real headache for website owners.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to fix this error and regain access to your website. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps to take to fix the “This site ahead contains harmful programs” error.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Check Your Website's Security
Checking your website’s security is an important step in fixing the “This site ahead contains harmful programs” error. There are a few key things you should do to ensure that your website is secure:
Keep your website software, themes, and plugins up-to-date: Make sure that you’re running the latest version of WordPress and that all of your themes and plugins are up-to-date.
Run a security scan: Use a website security scanning tool to check for vulnerabilities and malware on your website. Netspace, Linux hosting plan comes with malware protection hosting inbuilt into Cpanel which can help you scan and remove any affected files.
Check for malicious code: Manually review your website’s code for any malicious code or injections that could indicate that your website has been compromised.
Check for suspicious file: Use a file scanner software to scan all the files on your website and check for any suspicious or unknown files, this can help you identify any malware or malicious files.
Check your website’s logs: Review your website’s logs to look for any suspicious activity or attempts to access your website that could indicate a security breach.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to ensure that your website is secure and identify any issues that could be causing the “This site ahead contains harmful programs” error. Keep in mind that regularly monitoring your website’s security and taking action to fix any issues that arise can help prevent future security problems.
Step 2: Submit Your Website to Google for Review
Check security issues in the Google search console
If you’ve confirmed that your website is secure and that the error is a false positive, the next step is to submit your website to Google for review. To do this, you’ll need to create a Google Search Console account and submit your website for a security review. Once your website has been reviewed, Google will either confirm that your website is safe or provide you with further instructions on how to fix any issues that they’ve found.
Google search console is one of the most well-known tools when it comes to website security.
Earlier known as Google webmaster tools, it notifies you if google receives any problem when indexing your website. It emails you about the detection of malware on your website. All you have to do is Search console preferences and select email alerts.
Some issues Google summarizes when you use this tool and help you to keep your website secure include cross-site malware warnings, Phishing and deceptive sites, code, content and URL injections, SQL injection, code injection, Server configuration and error template malware infections.
Look for notifications from your hosting provider
Generally, your hosting provider can help you secure your website by alerting you if your website gets hacked. When sites get hacked, they are taken offline by the hosting providers and they notify the owner via email about the same. Choose Netspace India’s web hosting services which ensure 360-degree protection for your website.
Utilize Google’s safe browsing tool
You can instantly view the most updated status of your website with this tool. Google scans the index of its sites regularly for malware and uses advanced statistical methods to look for phishing websites. As soon as your site is displayed hacked on the screen, it is advised to start working on fixing the problem as soon as possible. After the issues are resolved, you can ask Google to re-evaluate your website or submit a website review report. Under 24 hours, Google should assess and mark your website as safe.
“This site may be hacked” notification
If your website when being viewed in the google search results is flagged as hacked or harmful, then you probably should check it out. Because, it means that the hacker probably has made some changes to the existing or added some spam pages. The messages are shown below signify that Google has detected some phishing activity or malware on your website.
Utilize the Hacked sites troubleshooter
The Hacked sites troubleshooter by Google helps you to investigate whether your website is hacked through various steps, look for issues left due to the hacking and also is quite useful when it comes to finding all the hacked content on your website.
Monitor Your Website for Future Security Issues
One should try to find any sort of infection and stay alert about any sort of suspicious activities on your website as this gives you sufficient time to resolve the issues with your team before the warnings are displayed elsewhere.
Visit your site often
You should go through your website content and existing pages now and then to look for any suspicious activity that may have taken place. Try looking for PHP errors which are a common symptom to assume your website is infected which generally appear at the top of your content.
Confirm with a source code scanner
To detect if your website has been hacked, you can use a source code scanner that investigates your source code such as all of your PHP for any malware patterns and in case of the presence of any, alerts you.
Use Malware scanners
You can receive notifications about your website being infected by malware scanners. You can customize which email alerts you need to receive but you must keep yourself updated about your website alerts.
Confirm with Google warnings
Google blacklists over 10,000 websites daily. To know if yours is one among them you may come across these signs,
The site ahead contains malware
The site ahead contains harmful programs
Phishing attack ahead
Deceptive site ahead
Government-backed attackers may be trying to steal your password
Verify activity logs
You can track the changes on your website with the help of an activity log, which is a list of actions taken on your website. As it is not part of core WordPress, you may not find an activity log already set up on your website. However, you can set it up easily using WordPress management, specific log plugins or a security plugin.
Look for fake plugins
Many times, the malware can be hidden in your website as a plugin that you may not have installed. These are the most common types of malware and viruses on the Internet that you might come across. Most website administrators do not keep themselves updated with the plugins on their websites. If not taken notice in due time, these can prove harmful. A convenient way to check if all the plugins on your website are safe is by checking if they exist on the WordPress repository. If not found, either they are fake or custom.
Solving : "deceptive site ahead" Warning for website hosted under cpanel
If you are a Netspace Linux shared hosting customer log in to your Cpanel account.
All our Cpanel based shared hosting come with malware protection service powered by Immunify360 which protects Cpanel based web servers and all hosted websites against malware infections, web attacks, vulnerability exploitation and all other threats.
Change Cpanel Password
The first step will be to change the Cpanel password. In the event, your password is compromised you should change it as soon as possible also do remember to keep a strong password.
Finding the infected files
Loing to Cpanel and look for imunify360 under the security tab of Cpanel as shown below
Click Imunify360 and this will lead to a list of files that the antivirus has marked as suspicious.
The list will also show you the path of infected file.
make a note of all files and try to restore the clean version of the backup file or if you feel this file is not uploaded by you then you can safely delete the file using cPanel File Manager.
The history tab will show you all the files which were marked as infected in the past under your account you can review the same.
Requesting for review your website
steps to submit Deceptive site removal request via Google Search Console:
- Navigate to the Security Issues Tab of your Google Search Console.
Click on the ‘Request Review’ button.
- Check the box, I have fixed these issues.
- A new window will pop up, you will have to mention all the steps you have taken to remove the infection & protect the site from re-infection. Make sure you give detailed information.
- You’ll now have to wait for 24-72 hours for Google to verify that your site is clean and remove the red warning message.
Website hacking is one of the many digital crimes seen lately and can be avoided if you take certain measures and look out for the signs and take the required actions as soon as possible for keeping your website working without any hassle. For some more quick tips on how to protect your data in the digital world, refer to the link.
Yes, it is possible to repair a hacked website although the owner must resolve all the issues before the damages get out of hand.
Websites get hacked when the security measures are not taken seriously for the website. For example, using outdated files or applications, etc.
After the confirmation of your site being hacked, it is easier to look for solutions. You can fix your website in the following three ways:
- Clean up with a security plugin
One of the simplest methods to clean a hacked website is by using a security plugin as you not only need to take as little time to resolve the issues as possible and leave no traces of the hack.
- Clean your website manually
You can clean your website manually but it is considered time taking and risky, especially when it comes to sites that contain a lot of content. To get into the actual process if you intend to, you need to have full access to your account. If not, you should contact your web host and ask them to whitelist your IP address.
- Hire a professional
The most preferable method would be to outsource your website to an expert to clean it. Experts look for vulnerabilities, malware, and backdoors to check and verify the cause of the hack and clean it accordingly.
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