Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hacked and back

Hello dear reader

Some of you may have noticed on Facebook last weekend that my website had been hacked.  Yes, it's true.  Now, I don't profess to be an expert at this whole website thing, so it was very unsettling to get the email from my webhost saying my account had been suspended.  At that time, I didn't understand how this all worked.  Now, a week later, I still don't understand a lot, but I do get it a bit more. Read on if you care,dear reader.  I'm venting my spleen.

When I received the email from my webhost, I replied with the question "What can I do to fix this?"  The response I got was "Terminate your account and re-apply".  Wowsers.  That seemed rather harsh...were there no other options other than 'start from scratch'?  I didn't care so much about the site itself...I can rebuild that.  What had me very concerned was that, due to ignorance and lack of foresight on my part, I did not have my articles backed up.  That's right, dear much as I preach to people to back up their data, I did not follow my own advice.  And I almost paid dearly for it.  Articles such as 11 Years Ago, Papillons de L'Amour, Wanna Smoke and A Mistress to Many were going to be gone.  There was no way I could re-write these articles.  Clearly the emotion of some of them were of a time sensitive nature, plus there's no way I can remember what I wrote.

And so, dear reader...I fretted.  I stressed.  I worried.  And I worked my a$$ off trying to figure things out.  The part that made things oh so difficult was that my webhost had changed that way the control panel and site controls worked.  So, instead of installing Joomla into my site space using Fantastico Deluxe, I now had to do this via Simple Scripts.  Because of this change, my website files were no longer where they were supposed to be.  I could not find  I could not find my articles.  And for a while, I could not find my happy place.  Losing these articles would have been devastating.  As a writer (or a wannabe writer), my words are pure emotion, pure energy, and my heart on my sleeve.  As an IT professional, backups are one of the most important things we preach...and the fact that I didn't do it hurt.  Yes dear reader, I can admit that my pride was hurt.  And that made me even more convinced that I would stop at nothing to recover from my own stupid mistake.

In the meantime, the emails were flowing back and forth between my webhost and myself.  After I questioned them on the whole 'termination' thing and asking if there was another alternative, they did come back and say that the problem was caused by an old WordPress installation, but since I didn't know how to get rid of it, 'termination' was the only alternative.  Really?  I didn't know how to get rid of it?  I think they just called me stupid!!  And as right as they might be, I did know how to get rid of the security hole.  Now that I knew where the problem was, I could fix it.  So this begs the question "Why didn't they present that option in the first place?"  Now, don't get me wrong, dear reader.  I really like the webhost I'm with.  They offer some very cool stuff.  But, I did find that in crunch time, the one person I dealt with was very un-professional.  Suggesting in an underhanded manner that I'm stupid (rightly or wrongly is irelevant) is simply not acceptable.  And I told them that...not that they care.

One of the problems I faced is that, as mentioned, I am not an expert in all of this.  And apparently, neither is my webhost.  That's right, they offered pretty much no support to get this resolved.  "Not our problem" they said.  "We don't care about your website" they insinuated.  And so, there I was....on my own.  But, with my bulldog approach to this issue, I figured a few things out.  I figured out which zip file on my webspace actually contained my data.  And so, after I cleaned up the old WordPress installation, I copied the clean data back up to the server, and kindly asked my webhost to reactivate my account.  Which they did......just as their server developed issues.  So, for 24 hours, I still could not see my website.  I didn't know as of yet if I was going to be able to recover my articles.  I did not sleep well that night.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday), I emailed them once more and asked if the problem had been resolved.  With a very quick apology, they did something on their end to make things right.  And there, dear reader, there on my screen....there in the exact layout I remembered, were my articles.  I just about cried with happiness.  And I immediately made backups of each article, and firmly resolve here and now to make sure that each article I write is also pasted into a Word document and stored safely.

It was at this point, dear reader, that I became un-stressed.  I completely understand and agree with the position my webhost took in suspending my account.  I do not like the un-professional attitude of the one person I dealt with, but I cannot fault the entire organization because of one person having a bad day or two.  The bottom line is that I got my articles back, I have my site back and I have happy back.  The only thing that didn't work out in all of this was my photogalleries.  And that in itself is no big deal....I can recreate that.  Now I am looking into security for my site.  If I can protect myself from hackers, then a small fee every month might be worth it.  Yes, dear reader, means that much to me.

Thank you, dear reader, for your patience in waiting for my site to get back online.  And if you're reading this sentence, thank you for staying with this article.  I did something I rarely do in my articles in this one....I wrote it mostly for me.  But thank you, and please come again.  Soon.

My spleen is vented.


No comments:

Post a Comment