MODX: How to Recover from a Website Hack

modx website hacked recovery


Having a responsive, functional and well-maintained website is essential in today’s digital marketplace. Websites are increasingly functioning as the public and professional face of businesses, and a negative customer experience on your site could lead to a decline in your clients, leads or reputation. As the amount of business and transactions conducted online increases, so too does cybercrime and the possibility of your website being hacked.

Website hacking can have disastrous consequences for your Sydney based business, including the total loss of your website, being delisted from Google’s index or Google AdWords, or even becoming a victim of extortion, which involves your website being held for ransom by hackers. Therefore it is critical that website and server software is adequately maintained by a Sydney MODX developer, especially as it is likely that a hacking attempt will be made on your website at some point.

Recently, there have been widespread compromises of MODX websites. MODX is a popular PHP content management system (CMS) used for business websites. If your website is built on MODX, then it is important to learn how to recognise the signs that your site has been hacked, as well as how your website can be recovered by a Sydney MODX developer. This month, the team at TWMG present a guide to recovering from a MODX website hack:

Signs that your MODX Website has been Hacked

There are several ways to tell if your MODX website has been hacked. These particular signs are related to the most recent attacks made on MODX sites, and could change in the future. One sign that your website has been hacked is being unable to login to the Manager or if the login screen itself is missing. Another telltale clue is if your website redirects to a different site entirely, such as a gambling or adult website.

There are other, more subtle signs that your website has been hacked. You may be able to login to the backend of your website, only to discover that certain files are missing or new files have been added. If the Assets directory is missing, or new PHP files have appeared in the main directory of your MODX site, it is probable that you have been a victim of hacking. You may also find PHP files in the Assets or Images directory, or discover that Javascript files have been overwritten with obfuscated code. If you are unsure whether your site has been hacked, it is best to make contact with the developers of your website or a Sydney MODX developer.

Recovery with Backup

If you are with a reputable website hosting service which undertakes regular backups of your site, then recovering from a website hack should be relatively straightforward. This recovery method involves restoring a backup of your website prior to the hacking, to ensure that no malicious files remain. Please note that you will need to reapply any changes made between the time of the backup and the time of restoration. You should then immediately upgrade MODX to the latest version to ensure that your website is protected with the most recent patches and upgrades. If you find that you need to recover data which was lost during the restoration, a skilled developer should be able to extract that data from the hacked website and database.

Recovery without Backup

It is also possible to recover from being hacked if you do not have a backup to restore. However, recovering a hacked website without using a backup requires a certain amount of technical expertise. You should choose a MODX developer in Sydney who is familiar with MODX and CMS-based websites, skilled with web hosting tools such as cPanel or SFTP/SSH, and knows programming languages such as PHP and JavaScript.

Recovery Process

The most common process of recovering from a website hacking involves locating and removing all compromised files, uploading and upgrading the latest version of MODX, and replacing any lost or overwritten files. Locating the malicious files is best achieved with some form of malware scanner, where the files can be identified, removed and quarantined. Upgrading to the latest version of MODX will then enable you to access the Manager, upgrade the Extras and replace core files.

It is vital that your Sydney MODX developer should update the software that runs your website as soon as upgrades become available, as this is the best way to protect your site from being hacked. This applies not only to MODX, but to all software platforms including WordPress, Drupal and Magento. If you are currently running a version of MODX prior to 2.6.5, then it is critical to upgrade your website immediately.

You can trust the MODX experts at TWMG with your MODX site. We are a team of Sydney MODX developers, website designers, SEO experts and content creators. To put your business at the forefront of digital innovation, give us a call today on 1300 008 964 or Contact Us here.

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