IWSG: Hackers got me!

Hi, it’s Sher today with the Insecure Writers Support Group.  brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Sorry I’m late. Guess why? Yep, hackers. But first, here are this month’s cohosts:

L.G. Keltner  http://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/

Denise Covey  http://dencovey.blogspot.com/

Sheri Larsen  http://www.salarsenbooks.com/

J.Q. Rose  http://www.jqrose.com/

Chemist Ken  http://hogwartssabbatical.blogspot.com/

Michelle Wallace http://www.writer-in-transit.co.za/


I bet you can guess my insecurity. It’s the insecurity of the internet. Or should I say my insecurity is security? This blog got hacked multiple times in December. The first time, my link went to a message: Hacked by –(the hacker’s name). I called my host, Arvixe, and they restored my site from a backup. After I changed my password and reposted two weeks of missing posts, I tracked down the hacker on Facebook and asked him why he would destroy a children’s book blog.  Turns out he didn’t. He attacked Arvixe’s server. I was a victim of someone else’s insecurity.

About the time I found this out, my blog went missing from the internet. I didn’t know that it went down 30 Dec until I tried to post on New Year’s Eve. Two support chats later, my blog was still missing. The second tech escalated the case to senior tech, but nothing happened other than their email to verify that I’m me. Well, duh. They’d already verified me by chat.  And who else would want to restore my blog?

After waiting another day for the senior techs to fix my blog, I tried to restore it via the cpanel. Multiple attempts failed, so I kept studying security. WordPress has a whole bunch of info here. A little knowledge is dangerous though; I managed to change permissions so I couldn’t do anything to my files. Had to change them back so I could delete spam links I found.  A day later, I was still deleting spam when the shift button got stuck, and I deleted important files. Oopsie.

Still hadn’t heard from Arvixe, so I decided I need a better host.  After Christmas shopping! Whoopee.

Have you ever tried to find unbiased reviews of web hosting? I almost eliminated InMotion because so many affiliates listed them as the top host, but I called them because they have a “managed WordPress” option.  It’s not exactly what the review said: taking care of security. I still need security plugins, strong passwords, etc. But their servers sound secure. They wouldn’t divulge whether they use OSSEC, but they did explain some other measures. More than enough to convince me to move.

Trouble was, they couldn’t take me until my files were clean. Sigh. At least they gave me links with instructions on how to remove malacious code, and failing that, to reinstall WordPress. I failed at both. Bigger sigh.

I downloaded Filezilla to work with my files via  a remote access method called FTP. Sad to say, I  but couldn’t figure out how to connect. So I opened another chat with Arvixe. Finally, I got a tech who succeeded at restoring from backup, but the spam inks were still there. He walked me through deleting some remotely,  and he deleted the ones I couldn’t delete. Whew!

Next, I had to change passwords. Then I had to change themes because my old one wouldn’t update, a huge risk. No easy task. Hours later, I settled for ugly but functional. Then I tried to add Cloudfare because the first hacker said I need a cpanel firewall. Process started, I fell into bed.

I’m still tired, still working on reposting missing posts, for example, last month’s IWSG. Where did that go? But I’m here.

Now you’ve heard my insecurity, what’s yours? Better yet, what’s your security?

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Hi and Happy New Year!

    I feel so sorry about what you’re going through right now. The internet is a challenge for me also. It seems like I am always having to learn something new because things change so quickly.

    I wish you strength and wisdom to get your website up and running like you want to.

    All the best for 2016.

  2. Happy New Year! Hope there’s no repeat of the December fiasco! How terrifying! I’m glad you had backup. It’s terrifying to think of losing all that hard work!

  3. Sorry about all the problems. Man, it seems like everyone is having problems with WordPress these days. Really makes me wonder if I want to ever move away from Blogger, even with all its restrictions. At least you’re feeling better again.

  4. That was almost to the point of just nuking everything starting over fresh. Wow, what a nightmare.
    Just how does one track down a hacker, anyway?

  5. Wow! Sorry to hear about the security issues. Knock on wood, so far I have had to problems with my blogger account. I do try to update every six months, though seriously I should do so more frequently.
    Hope all the problems get resolved and everything irons out.

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