Tuesday, 22 May 2018

My Website Was Hacked

I had a bit of trouble last week after someone hacked my website, added content to every page (probably malware) and sent out spam from my email address.

My hosting company took the action of taking my website offline immediately and contacted me about the spam issue which I put a stop to straight away.

This all came about at a most inconvenient time because my daughter has just bought her first house and my husband and I spent several days last week helping her to get the house cleaned and ready and buy necessary furniture and appliances.

I also spent an entire day measuring, pinning and taking up curtains.

And then at the weekend we hired a van and helped her to move.

And while all this was going on, and I was physically exhausted, someone hacked one of my websites, RuthIsWriting.

So then I had to spend hours on the phone talking to the staff at my hosting company trying to figure out what to do about the spam and how to do it.

Then I had to remove whatever had been added to my site.

Luckily I use Adobe Dreamweaver so it was easy to get the software to check if any of the online website files were different from the backup files stored on my computer.

It checked, and apparently every single file had been altered. Also, a file I didn't recognise had been added as well.

So I deleted the rogue file and all the other files and did a complete upload of all the backup files stored on my computer.

Then to make sure it didn't happen again, I bought and added a security certificate to my site so that now instead of starting with the usual http:// it now begins with https:// to show that the site is secure.

I've been thinking for a while about adding security to all my sites because I've been reading recently how it's getting easier and easier for hackers to get into unsecured websites and that soon Google won't index sites that don't have a security certificate.

I had no idea how to buy a certificate or how to attach it to my site, so it took me most of the day to research it and find out. It seems that there are different levels of security but I only needed a simpler one because I don't take credit card payments on my site. I use eJunkie, Amazon and PayPal to process all my website payments.

So if you've noticed recently that my website was offline for 3 days, that is why.

But now it's not only sorted out, but it's secure and can't be hacked again.

And all the while I was dealing with this whole issue, I smiled to myself and thought how being a writer used to mean just writing, but now it seems I have to be a bit of a technical wizard as well.

I guess times really do change.

But if you have a website and something like this happens to you, the simplest way I found to get a security certificate was to purchase it from my hosting company and then I used the SSL/security app in my control panel of the website to add the certificate, which was straight forward and easy to do.

So if you want to visit my extremely secure website you can do so at https://ruthiswriting.com.

And I've currently got someone working on the redesign of the whole site so soon it will look all modern because at the moment it's looking a bit dated.

I'm looking forward to the new design and the added peace of mind from the security update.

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