Yuzo Related Post Plugin Warning!

Last Update: April 11, 2019

If you are currently using the Yuzo Related Posts plugin, then you need to know about this! In fact, everyone should be aware of this...

Today I started working on a new post for my website and at first everything appeared to be completely normal. However, on previewing the new post that I had just created I was shocked to see that my website was redirecting to a very spammy website with an equally spammy special offer.

My heart instantly sank as I have been hacked previously and I know how hard it can be to get rid of these things.

Has My Website Been Hacked?

I started checking through the pages of my website and found that everything was redirecting to a spam website with one of those spammy pop-ups saying that I had been "specially selected".

My first thought was to get Wealthy Affiliate Site Support onto this. Whilst I did that I quickly downloaded a malware plugin to scan my website.

Unfortunately, the malware scanner didn't't pick up anything!

I figured it could be a problem with my PC, perhaps I had picked up a virus? But after visiting a few websites and running my local virus scanner I confirmed that the issue was in fact on my website.

The Solution!

Whilst I waited for Site Support to get back to me, I installed another Malware detector as the first one didn't pick up anything. The same thing happened again... Nothing was detected but yet my website was still redirecting to the spammy offer.

And then Site Support came through with a very simple solution!

Yuzo Related Posts Plugin

It turns out that the entire problem was down to a plugin that I had running on my site. I had installed the Yuzo Related Posts plugin some time ago and up until now it's performed quite well.

For those of you that aren't't aware, the Yuzo Related Posts plugin displays related posts at the bottom of your posts and pages and creates a good internal linking structure. Or at least that's what it was supposed to do...

The plugin was actually removed from the WordPress plugin database in March 2019, but is still being updated.


And here is where my issue was. It turns out that the Yuzo Related Posts plugin had some known issues. I'm guessing is the reason that it is no longer available.

Yuzo was the reason that my site was redirecting and thankfully the solution was simply to deactivate it and clear any traces left behind.

Thankfully, Site Support were quick to respond and gave me everything that I needed to get back to normal.

Keep Everything Updated!

This is the second time in 4 years that I have found an issue like this on my site. In both cases, the issue came down to a plugin. Keeping your plugins up to date will help to keep most threats under control. But occasionally you will run into an issue like the one that I have had this morning!

Check Your Website!

My advice to everyone out there in the Wealthy Affiliate community is to take a little time to check your plugins, keep them updated and watch carefully for any changes on your website.

Most importantly, if you have the Yuzo Related Posts plugin installed on your website, get rid of it right now! This plugin is clearly a threat to anyone that has it installed. My advice would be to delete it right away.

BTW... A massive thank you to Wealthy Affiliate Site Support and their fast response!! Fantastic service!!

Have a great day,

Andrew

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AlexEvans Premium
Hi, Andrew, you will be pleased that you got that sorted, thank you for the heads up. this seems to be happening on an ongoing basis, it is good to know that we have site support operating in the background.
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Andrew-74 Premium
It really is good to have that support. I really appreciated how quickly the Site Support team dealt with it.

Cheers Alex!

Andrew
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cris1018 Premium
How frustrating, and Yay for Site Support!
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Andrew-74 Premium
Indeed! They are the hero's that saved the day!
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AmyHD Premium
Hi Andrew, This is exactly what happened to me I have installed the plugin about one month ago and it worked fine.

Yesterday morning when I clicked the preview of my new post, the same thing happened.

I immediately contacted Site Support and they had it fixed in less ten minutes.

In the beginning, I couldn't believe that the trouble was from the plugin. But my website was back to normal after that.

About the 2nd problem I had last night, I still have no idea if it also related to the plugin or something to do with WA's upgrade. or maybe just google's own issue.

I totally agree with you, Site Support is awesome.

Thank you for sharing this with us. Hope everything is working fine now. : )
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Andrew-74 Premium
I would imagine that your second issue is due to the plugin as well. Google will be well aware of the spammy sites that ours were redirecting to, so I guess they would have taken immediate action.

I've not had chance to check if my site has had any content deindexed but hopefully everything will go back to normal pretty quickly.

I wanted to share this as I was sure that many others would experience the same problems. Hopefully we have got the word out there!

Feel free to update me on your progress with this. Hopefully we won't have to deal with this kind of thing too often!

Take care,

Andrew
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AmyHD Premium
My website's index is back to normal now. Thankfully!

I just installed a plugin called Wordfence, it's a WordPress Security Plugin. hope it will do the work.

Thank you again, Andrew.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Glad that your index is back to normal! I'm sure the Wordfence plugin is very good for most things, but believe it or not, this was the same plugin that I used when I first discovered the issue.

I discovered that my site was acting all weird and Wordfence Security was the plugin I tried as it seemed to be the most popular.

Unfortunately it didn't detect anything wrong with my site, even though I knew I had been hacked in some way.

Anyway I hope it detects any future alerts!

Take care,

Andrew
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TherapyJet Premium
Thanks for the info, glad you got the problem resolved.
Jane
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Andrew-74 Premium
No problem Jane. Thank you for that. Yeah we got there in the end! I think this issue will hit quite a few people on Wealthy Affiliate.

Hope you are doing well with your online business.

Take care,

Andrew
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laparra1 Premium
Good Morning Andrew,

That is extremely annoying. Good to hear you got it sorted out and your website is again functioning as it should.

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yes, I am all back online as normal. Just wanted to get the word out about this so that others could be made aware too. I'm sure there must be people out there that don't even realise that this has happened.
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JaneMahlehle Premium
Hey, Andrew thanks for the info. I'm glad you got the support you needed.
Jane
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Andrew-74 Premium
Thanks Jane!
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JaneMahlehle Premium
Most welcome
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SnazzyIT Premium
Thanks for the heads up, much appreciated 🙂 glad that you were able to get everything back to normal.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yes, it was a bit of a worrying time!
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jivitaa339 Premium
Yes Andrew, the Yuzo plugin is hacked and it's directing to some spammy websites.
I was facing the same problem from yesterday, so immediately contacted site support and they disabled the Yuzo plugin, thank to site support.
But Yuzo is one of the best plugins for Related Post, as it shows related posts with thumbnails, also showing your popular posts and showing the number of views, and very customizable.
I am using this plugin from last 3 years without any problem, unfortunately, it's been hacked.
The plugin author Lenin is trying to resolve the issue, and how I wish to solve it at earliest, as many of my posts have 6k+ views, am going to lose all these views:(
The number of views on your website certainly helps you a lot, here is a wp thread if you want to know more about Yuzo.

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/hacked-plugin-yuzo-realted-posts-2/

jivita
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Andrew-74 Premium
I have been using the plugin for about the same amount of time as you. It really goes to show just how vulnerable our websites can be. We trust in these plugins but I guess you never really know whats going on in the background.

Thanks for the link to extra information by the way. I'll certainly have a look into that.

Do I take it that you will be re-installing the Yuzo related posts plugin once the issue is resolved?

I'm not sure if I would be able to trust it again?
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jivitaa339 Premium
Yes Andrew, if the issue is solved, and if they restoring all the data including views, why not?
I like this plugin because it's all in one, it shows views on your blog post as well as in your dashboard. It has many customization options, I have never seen in any other plugin
Now I have to use two to three plugins, for the related post on a blog post, one for showing views in my dashboard
.
jivita
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yeah, I totally agree that it was a great plugin and hopefully will be once again. The worrying thing about this is the fact that its gone on for quite a while now and the creators of the Yuzo plugin haven't yet solved the issue.

I'm just not sure that I am able to trust this plugin ever again.

I think I'm going to wait and see if there is an announcement from the official site.

Hopefully everything will be ok from here onwards!

Regards,

Andrew
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apache1 Premium
Thank you for that another member also has a similar issue with a plugin that site support fixed but not sure what the name of that plugin was still waiting to hear from the member.

Andre
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Andrew-74 Premium
You're very welcome! It's possible that this attack might be affecting more plugins. Who knows?

Hopefully the people that need to know about this will read this.

Thanks Andre!
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apache1 Premium
Yes and good your manage to state the name of the plugin so more can be aware of this.
Wishing you well

Andre
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HPearson Premium
The same thing happened to me last night and boy did I panic as well! I was sure my website had been hacked, and thankfully site support fixed it by disabling that plug in. I've been using it for years and love the feature, but I wasn't aware it was removed from their database. I'm going to disable it on my other website as well.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Hi there! Yeah, I know many people here will have been using this plugin for a long time. I thought that I had been hacked just like you. Well, I guess it was the plugin that was hacked but it goes to show how these hackers can affect masses of websites very quickly.

I'm so relieved that this has been solved so quickly! I don't know about you but I will think twice before re-installing a plugin like Yuzo. Even if the issue gets resolved I'm not sure if I could trust the plugin ever again.
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HPearson Premium
It would be great to find another plug in that does the same. I like having similar posts for readers to see, hoping something catches their eye rather than relying on them to search the site.
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Andrew-74 Premium
My thoughts exactly! I'm looking for something else as a replacement. But I also read that these plugins can tent to slow a website down quite a lot. I've heard that you need to take care when choosing a related post plugin as they can even affect your search ranking.
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