Please note that this article was written about 5 years ago, long before my recent article about passwords. I don’t want readers to think that I was hacked after having instituted very strong passwords on all of my sites!
As the title says, you should always use protection. What? If you are thinking that I am writing about something related to sex… well, you’re wrong. What I am saying is that you should always protect yourself from somebody hacking one of your websites.
Last week, I had an unfortunate incident. Some of my sites were hacked. This is the first time (that I am aware of) that any of my sites have been hacked, and I’ve had websites online for about 15 years now. It was not a pleasant experience either.
It all came to my attention last Thursday, although I don’t know for sure when it started. On Thursday, though, some of my web stores started acting strangely. Well, really I should say that only one of my stores was acting strangely. However, as I investigated, I found that some of my other stores showed evidence that hackers had gained access and were in the process of doing some things that they should not. In one of my stores, though, there was damage done. The hackers even made changes in the ways that people could pay, redirecting payments to their own accounts instead of mine. I was pretty shocked when I found this and took immediate action. I am not going to spell out exactly what I did, because I don’t want to tip off anybody who was involved in the attack how they can get past me next time. However, I will say that I believe I was able to remove the damage that they did and shut down their access to the site. Of course, you never know for certain if you missed anything, but so far, after about 4 days I can see no evidence that anybody is continuing to access the sites.
What I will say is that you should always make sure that you use very strong passwords. Never use the same password on more than one site. If you use a password that you can memorize, then that password is too short! If the password is a word that can be found in any dictionary, get rid of it, because people can guess it. Don’t use your phone number or your birthday, or a combination of such things. I am now using very strong passwords on my sites, and I do not believe anybody would ever be able to crack the passwords. Also, use strong passwords everywhere that you need a password. For example, for a website, you may need a password for your web hosting account, a different password for the admin area of your site, maybe a different password as a user of the site, etc. Use a different strong password for each of these needs. You can never be too careful.
These attacks cost me a little money in lost business, but only a very small amount, and I am happy about that. Let me also reassure you that if you are a user or customer on any of my sites, your data is secure, and nothing was lost that is private information, so you need not to be worried about that.
If you are a web businessman, a publish, or just have a webpage of your own, heed my warning: always protect yourself with a good password! Never get lazy. Always be vigilant.
Hi Bob – Sorry to hear you were the victim of hackers. I can only imagine how you must have felt when you discovered the attacks. Many times I read about using strong passwords and your article really drives that issue home. I will certainly incorporate your advice in my online dealings.
Hi Henry – Good move if you do it before you experience what I did! Hopefully, I have things locked down now, although it is hard to be certain. Keeping my fingers crossed! Hey, I’m glad you made it home safely from your trip!
Hi Bob – Now comes the fun part of building my online [business] presence. Thanks and it was great to talk to you (and Feyma) over coffee.
Hi Henry – I enjoyed seeing you, and Feyma keeps talking about meeting you, she likes you a lot (stay away from her!). I was hoping that we’d be able to get together again, I just had a bunch of other stuff going on!
I’m still laughing! Thanks for Feyma’s warm reception, too. Yes, I have much to discuss as I prepare for a longer stay. I’m working on some ideas here to share with you. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find people who have a common interest in earning a living online. Just today I met a fellow at my job who reportedly did extremely well in selling domain names, then stopped doing it. When I asked why, he replied it was only a hobby. I almost choked! Needless to say, I’m going to pick his brain with a fine-tooth comb on that subject matter.
Hi Henry – I do think that you would be very wise to pick that fellows brain as much as you can. If he was so successful in selling domains, I feel sure that he could offer you some good pointers and give you some good information!
Sound advice,you can’t be to careful these days.
Late last year a major online shop i sometimes buy from had a similar problem with payments being diverted, cost them £1000s.
Fortunately i was not buying around that time,but it did put me off buying until they updated their security.
Hello Chas – I understand your reluctance to purchase after the problem. Security is a huge concern for online merchants like me.