The horrors of hacking

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My poor blog.

Hacked.

For the first time ever.

It went like this. Last Tuesday I received a message from Netregistry to tell me they’d suspended my WordPress site because it had been hacked and that I should not ask to have it returned until I had cleaned it up.

After an hour and a half of waiting on the telephone, I spoke to a pleasant man with a German accent who told me I should ask around among my friends and acquaintances for anyone who knows a trustworthy website technician, not simply a web designer, who could help get inside my site and clean it up.

The Netregistry fellow went to great pains to explain the process of hacking and of how it can happen to anyone.

It even happened to the American security intelligence services and they have state of the art equipment designed to keep out hackers.

So I should do my best to get my act together.

It seemed it was my fault that this had happened, that the person who set up my blog in the first instance had been slack or was perhaps incompetent and that through our negligence we were exposing all the people who visit my blog and others with whom I communicate online to a hacker who could then infiltrate their systems, wreak havoc and steal their money.

I wouldn’t want to do that, would I?

He talked to me as though I was a small child in need of education. And yes indeed, I need education in these matters but perhaps not quite at the level of a small child.

It was as if I’d gone out for the day and left all the windows and front and back doors unlocked and when the police came after someone had reported the presence of burglars in my garden, the police were angry with me for my carelessness.

It was my fault, but in this instance, I had no idea what I had done wrong.

So I thanked the Netregistry man and contacted my blog designer, who told me the same thing had happened to her and caused her a great deal of stress and that I needed to go back to Netregistry and ask that they help me clean up my website.  She was a designer not a technician.

For a price, Netregistry could install ongoing security.

So back on the phone but this time I went through sales and funnily enough it took no time at all to get through, unlike when I pressed the number that led onto technical support where the queue was thirty four people deep.

Another young man, this time with a South American accent, helped to sell me a service that provided a ‘hardening’ of my website, and given the absence of my computer savvy son in-law, who’s away on holidays, I bit the bullet, handed over my credit card details and communicated for the next several hours, on and off via email with one, Candice.

After several hours, Candice sent me a long list of all the things she and her team had done. She also made a couple of suggestions of things I should do, including the need to get myself off some sort of Norton blacklist.

She might have been speaking in a foreign language when it came to certain items.

If I couldn’t do it myself, she could do it, she said.

So I asked for as much and she obliged and then told me the site is back up and running.

Still there are others things I need to do, including the installation of a mind bending password for security’s sake and when my son in law returns he will help me install further security beyond the antivirus protection one of my daughters installed on my computer last night.

So you’re safe to visit my blog again and this brave new world of vulnerable technology is one step further away from leading me to despair.

Until the next disruption, hopefully the hackers can’t get inside for now.

May my garden gargoyles keep all such intruders away:

 

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10 Comments on The horrors of hacking

  1. Karen C
    December 9, 2017 at 11:32 am (1 month ago)

    Well, that explains everything! I thought I’d done something wrong at my end because I got a ‘your account has expired’ message, which made no sense, but I kept trying and look, we’re talking again.
    I am trying to get my head around marketing and social media (which I am told is the best thing for my business) and after speaking to ‘tech’ people, IT people and digital marketers, I am starting to think the web is like a badly designed car. The tyre people don’t know how to put petrol in, but tell you you need it, the seatbelt people tell you you need to close your doors, but they don’t know which ones, and the radiator people tell you to find out how to turn the lights on, because they don’t know how to do it. And none of them can tell you how to get where you want to go. It’s is all so confusing.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      December 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm (1 month ago)

      The worst of it Karen, was the feeling I’d been bad or negligent intentionally, as if I got mixed up with the hackers. Your analogy is very apt. And the worst of that is the degree to which more and more we rely on our online technology. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Karen C
    December 11, 2017 at 8:21 am (1 month ago)

    I understand the feeling of being held unfairly responsible. I had a comment hacked once and was blamed by the blogger for the quite disgusting and out of character content, who then blocked me. I managed to beg my innocence through email and she eventually realised it was not me, but things were never quite the same after that and she shut down her blog. So we both paid the price for someone else’s actions.
    Being held ransom by machinery and its minions is not fair.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      December 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm (1 month ago)

      It’s tough out there in the online world, Karen, especially when we folks alone at our computers, busy with the best of intentions, fall foul of those with the worst of intentions. The latter being the spammers and hackers, but even they have stories to tell only they fail to come clean. Instead they try to infiltrate and exploit or subvert other people’s good will and efforts. The best we can do is try to stand up to it. Thanks Karen.

      Reply
  3. Jim Murdoch
    December 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm (1 month ago)

    I struggle to comprehend the mentality of those who sit in houses and flats not that dissimilar to yours and mine and rather than fretting away on memoirs and novels they meticulously construct little programs to hurt others. Okay, a part of me gets it—I get the pranksters and I get the ones who have political agendas and I get the criminals—but I only get it up to a point. As a communication hub the Internet was a marvellous thing and it probably stayed a marvellous thing for about a week and half and then people started to systematically ruin it. They ruin everything. It’s tiresome. It really is. On the whole I’ve been lucky but I’m not complacent. Nowadays I have two laptops running concurrently plus a tablet and everything important backed up on external hard drives and in the cloud. I also use three separate kinds of virus software. I’m about as prepared as I can be. And yet pretty much every day I get wee messages popping up in the bottom right hand corner of my screen telling me someone’s tried to attack me. It’s only a matter of time before something new gets through because virus checkers are always behind the time; they can’t protect us from what they don’t know about. At least I don’t have the blog to worry about any more besides I’ve backups of that too. And to be totally honest if the whole Internet went belly up tomorrow I don’t think I’d honestly be that upset. I still remember a world without computers and it wasn’t that bad at all as I recall.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      December 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm (1 month ago)

      I agree, Jim, the stuff of hacking and those who get into are at some level hard to fathom, as difficult to fathom as are pyromaniacs, graffiti artists – though not all – and vandals. Envy perhaps or some jaded sense of the unfairness of the world. For many I understand it’s a way of making money with minimal effort but it certainly ruins things for the rest of us. I’m not sure I’d enjoy life as much without the internet even though I too remember well that life was not so bad before it’s arrival. Now it just adds so many dimensions to my life, I think I’d miss it enormously. Anyhow I doubt it’s going to disappear at any time , if ever soon. Thanks Jim.

      Reply
  4. Kirk
    December 17, 2017 at 8:40 am (1 month ago)

    This Netregistry sound worse than the people doing the hacking.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      December 17, 2017 at 3:29 pm (1 month ago)

      It was trying indeed, Kirk, but I can’t think it’s worse than the hackers because their behaviour gets you blacklisted if you don’t secure your site. I’d like to be able to keep on blogging. Thanks, Kirk.

      Reply
  5. Elizabeth A Aquino
    December 18, 2017 at 11:05 am (1 month ago)

    The whole thing bewilders me to no end. I feel slight panic just reading about it —

    Reply
    • Elisabeth
      December 18, 2017 at 11:09 am (1 month ago)

      Best not to ponder too long on these matters, Elizabeth, otherwise as you say, panic sets in and you might not approach your computer ever again, except for word processing. We all need our word processing. The very expression appals me. The idea of ‘processing words’ as if we’re in a sausage factory, but it seems word processing is what we do these days, notwithstanding those dreadful hackers. Thanks, Elizabeth.

      Reply

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