The horrors of hacking

My poor blog.


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: