htaccess being hacked and detecting malware on Linux

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Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn a thing or two about server intrusion, .htaccess being hacked, backdoors and more in the last days. Well, one could say it is a good education… In any case, one of the major issues I was confronted with, is that on one PHP based server (with WordPress) the .htaccess file was manipulated. The hack wasn’t obvious, since it was targeted to any user coming to the site from a search engine and then being redirected to some (random) russian site.

Now, removing the .htaccess file, editing it or changing the file permission did not help, as the file itself was being reset to the hacked version every 30 minutes or so. It was obvious that someone was able to upload a backdoor to the server and calling the file remotely. The question was now, how to find the infected file or uploaded on in order to close the hole?

Luckily, the people at R-FX Network made the malware script available (under the GPL open source license), that lets you scan your server for any malware and infected files. It uses many different scans to find any malware. I especially like, that users can send their infected files to them and they then update the scanner engine. Very effective method to keep your server secure.

In my case, the malware script quickly found the file in question, which was then quarantined. Since then, the WordPress blog worked again. Needless to say, just running this script wont secure your server. You need to have a firewall in place, update your server regularly, read your logs and so on.

If you want to read more about the difference way of hack and how to protect the server I’ve found this blog post from Unmask Parasites very valuable. Also, they have a video of Matt Cutts talking about malware.


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