Hacked, right before your eyes

Hacked

We were setting up a new client this week when the importance of good security was demonstrated right before the clients eyes. With new clients, we go through a simple process of surveying other similar businesses that may be competitors to see what their sites are like & what sort of competition we are facing. This was for a music shop and we had looked at around 8 other sites in the same broad location as our client. We list their good & bad points then sit down with our new client to make sure they know what they are up against from other competing businesses. While we were showing the client one of these sites, we got quite a surprise. Instead of the site that Helen and I had looked at a few days earlier, there was now clear indications that…

The site had been hacked!

It was displaying a message to that effect on the front page. Wow! Right in front of our client we had a perfect example of what happens when no one is looking after a site and the software behind it becomes old and vulnerable. It certainly helped us point out the benefits of using premium, managed hosting as we do. Your sites security is simply too important to gamble with on cheap hosting and here was a perfect example.

It’s also happened to me. I made a site for a friends band and handed it over to him to maintain. Sadly he passed away some time later and the decision was made to leave the site up as a tribute to him & his musical career. Right about the time he passed I was sent an email to say that the site had disappeared. I checked and sure enough it had been shut down by the hosting company. When I checked as to why they informed that that the site had old software versions on it that could be exploited by hackers who had done exactly that. They hacked the site, set up their own account and proceeded to use this site to send out thousands of spam emails every day. No wonder the host shut it down. Now it turned out to be something fairly easy to fix. Between myself and the host’s support staff we got rid of the spammers, updated the software and the hosting company reinstated the account. It ended well but it caused major grief at the time. Suffice to say that site is no longer on cheap hosting.

This is one of the main reasons we simply don’t work on client sites that are not hosted with a high quality, secure, managed company. The provider we use looks after all of that for us and if there ever is a breach of security, then they fix it. Having your site free of malware is critical. Don’t let this happen to you! If you are using cheap or free hosting, you are costing yourself something more important than money. You are costing yourself peace of mind.

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