Detecting Malicious Codes in Nulled Scripts
Piracy is excelling with ease and has become so convenient that the original paid stuffs are now available free over the web with the same content; and these pirated ones sometimes are a threat for you. Pirated stuffs includes Music, Movies, Gadgets, Open Source Materials and so on. There are many bloggers who use such things like nulled (When somebody changes the script to remove the protection implemented by the author of the script.) scripts, premium themes and plugins as their mindset says if a premium stuff is available over the web with a free download link then why should I pay the money to buy that stuff rather than just download it! But leaving a few, all the other scripts have hidden malicious codes in them which can kill your site. So you need to tackle them in order to use nullified stuffs!
The king marketplace of themes and plugins are CodeCanyon and Themeforest whose items are widely available over the web as nulled ones. Secondly, are the themes of ThemeJunkie. If you’re a blogger then you might have seen, Freshlife theme of Theme-Junkie over hundreds of blogs as it is best and prominent theme for tech blogs and you can easily find a download link of that theme!
What is Wrong in Using Nulled Scripts ?
This is an expected question from everyone those who have never used nulled scripts or themes and when they start using it, eventually their first question would be this. The definition of null is zero i.e. nothing free. Actually nulled scripts are the pirated scripts which usually means the security measures or the protection which has been made by the original script’s author and developers has been removed and that the script is available for free. Nulled Scripts are ILLEGAL unless and until it is distributed by the prior permissions of the owner/author of the script.
Mostly nulled scripts are used in WordPress Blogs as wordpress themes and plugin are nullified to the max. Quiet often, Nulled Scripts also have the modified code of the original script inserted into them which allows the Crackers/Hackers to access your server and probably take down your entire site, which is obviously very dangerous. Maximum probability is the scripts contains hidden malicious codes which spreads malwares within your server and can even harm bad to your site. If you use nulled scripts you also risk being banned from your web hosting company if reported somehow. So be careful!
How to Spot a Nulled Script ?
It is quiet easy of determining whether a script, theme or plugin is nulled or not. According to me the simple way is, when a premium script is available with a download link from any of the mirror or third party sites then it is blindly a nulled version. As the author/creator wouldn’t possibly provide his premium script as a freeware so it’s the ‘Nullifiers‘ who modifies the codes of the script and share it on other sites with a download link.
It is an other case, if someone is conducting a giveaway of some premium plugins and themes as he/she would have purchased it from the author and would be giving away as a reward to their visitors. But many people, download the nulled scripts and use them as giveaways and you have no proof to say it on the spot that it is a nulled version. The main danger lies that sometimes in these scripts there are hidden malicious codes which you can’t notice and once it is activated, it affects badly your site and server. Check out how you can detect the codes!
How to Identify Malicious Codes and Threats in Nulled Themes, Scripts & Plugins ?
Nulled scripts for mostly meant for WordPress Blogs as it has a better code editor than any other platforms so that you can perform tweaks with it. Here are some easy ways which will help you in detecting any suspicious threats and codes within the files!
1. Scan with VirusTotal after you Download the File
Basically all the stuffs like scripts, themes, plugins, PHP jQueries etc. are archived in a zip folder which you can extract into a new folder and use it. But while downloading them from different sources you don’t have an online antivirus scanner system in your browser like that of Gmail has, which scans it’s attachments before downloading. So the thing is, if there is any malware/virus threat and you download the archive; without scanning, upload it in your server and install it then the threats would spread across your files and infect them which will result in your site’s take down.
Virus Total is a free service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware. You can use this free online to scan any downloaded file or directly scan the URL to detect any kind of threats. So after downloading any script just upload it over here and run the scan. If it comes out clean then it doesn’t have any kind of malwares or viruses, but that doesn’t means it is free from malicious codes. If your script is a nulled theme, then proceed to the next step to detect the same in themes.
2. Install Theme and Run TAC
TAC stands for Theme Authenticity Checker. It is a WordPress Plugin. Currently, TAC searches the source files of every installed theme for signs of malicious code. If such code is found, TAC displays the path to the theme file, the line number, and a small snippet of the suspect code. So it would be easy for you to deal with those malicious codes and it depends upon you, whether you wish to keep them or remove them.
The main motive of the plugin is not to remove the codes rather to determine them and perform a clean up so that you can possibly enjoy your nulled theme. Just because the code is there doesn’t mean it’s not supposed to be or even qualifies as a threat, but most theme authors don’t include code outside of the WordPress scope and have no reason to obfuscate the code they make freely available to the web. As there are many third party websites providing free premium WordPress Themes, so it’s necessary for you to use this plugin if you often download those themes!
3. Run Exploit Scanner to Detect Malicious Codes in Plugins
The plugin, Exploit scanner searches the files on your website, and the posts and comments tables of your database for anything suspicious. It also examines your list of active plugins for unusual filenames. When a website is compromised, hackers leave behind scripts and modified content that can be found by manually searching through all the files on a site. Some of the methods used to hide their code or spam links are obvious, like using CSS to hide text, and we can search for those strings. Meanwhile, it will only detect the code and show it’s path where as you have to remove it manually.
How to Stay Intact & Protected from the Code’s Effect ?
Well, not everyone is good at coding’s so they probably don’t know what to do even if they found the malicious codes in those scripts. And sometimes, they don’t feel like asking others about it as they don’t want to disclose that they are using nulled scripts. So in this situation, you need a helping hand for which Bullet Proof Security Plugin works the best!
It provides WordPress website security protection. Website security protection against XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection hacking attempts. One-click .htaccess WordPress security protection. Protects wp-config.php, bb-config.php, php.ini, php5.ini, install.php and readme.html with .htaccess security protection. One-click Website Maintenance Mode (HTTP 503). Additional website security checks: DB errors off, file and folder permissions check. System Info: PHP, MySQL, OS, Server, Memory Usage, IP, SAPI, DNS, Max Upload.
BPS Maintenance Mode allows you to create your custom website under maintenance page within BulletProof Security and activate Maintenance Mode to put your website in maintenance mode.
People won’t stop using nulled scripts so at least they can be safe by using a cleaned pirated script. It may sound odd, that a pirated script and clean ? Well it’s same as like that of torrent downloaded movies. Ain’t they same as the original ? Or there are different scenes in them ? All are same but in nulled scripts the only difference is that the security protection gets removed from the original one. Therefore always be alert while downloading any nulled script and follow all the above mentioned instructions to protect your blog from the malware attack and any other threats.