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Undoing the Damages Caused by WordPress Pharma Hack

Filed Under (blog, General) by admin on 07-08-2011

Some time back, this site was hit by the WordPress Pharma Hack. It was a shock to me. There are many unwanted words like “amoxicillin”, “levitra”, “Viagra”, “Cialis”, etc, linking to some online drug stores, in every post. There were two things which I had to do. First, was to find and clear the any codes that caused the hack. And second, was to get all my posts back to the original conditions.

I had searched the web and tried a few suggested methods to clear the unwanted code to cause the WordPress Pharma Hack. So far, I do not have much luck in doing so. All I could do was to update my WordPress and all the plugins to the latest version.

I was much better luck in getting the posts back to the original conditions. I noticed that, in general, the damage caused by the WordPress Pharma Hack was putting unwanted links with those unwanted words in the posts in the form of text. Initially, I thought all I was to do was to edit individual post to remove these texts.

But after editing a few posts, I realized that I need a much efficient method to remove these texts. There are hundreds or even thousands of unwanted texts in all the posts.

I seek for a WordPress “Search and Replace” Plugin. There is one by Frank Bueltge ( which I find was quite match for this task.

In the “Search and Replace” portion, I first selected “Post Content”, put the unwanted text in the “Search for” text bar and leave the “Replace with” text blank. I repeated the process with all the possible text combination I could find. The record of the combination can be downloaded in this link.

Each line is a combination. Do take note, that the process of updating this list is on-going. There will be more to be added to this list.

This process successfully removed much of the unwanted text caused by the Pharma Hack. However, there are still many unwanted text hidden in the posts which could not be easily identified. Examples are the unwanted texts damaged by more unwanted text. For these, I need to search for the post with the keywords, “amoxicillin”, “levitra”, “Viagra”, “Cialis” and “pharmacy”; then manually edit the posts.

Do take note that, the hack had already damaged some of the embedded items links, e.g. Youtube Videos in the posts. Much work has to be done for these.

At the meantime, I will continue to seek for a method to do a clean removal of the hack and prevention of further WordPress Pharma Hack.

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