This is one of those posts which wasn’t even planned let alone scheduled to be published – at least part of it anyway. I guess it’s a sort of ‘reactive post’ to a couple of things which happened over the weekend that I thought would be good to put in writing. So let’s get the bad thing out of the way first; blog hacking…
It’s something which I never thought I would be victim to. You hear and read about it, but you sort of dismiss it because it’s something which only affects websites with lots of valuable info. Or celebrities phones and email addresses….
But it happened to me on Saturday morning. And it hit me like a ton of bricks when I found out.
I was in the salon at the time getting my brassy hair finally sorted out (more of that coming up in a bit!). After the foils were put in I had the usual 30-40 minute wait so I thought I’d do a social media update and then check the blog. And I saw that my two most recent posts had not only been hacked into, but they’d also been vandalised, with a load of weird coding and dodgy links in place of my content. I was so shocked, upset and bloody PISSED OFF that this had happened.
One of the posts wasn’t anything particularly special, it was just my January favourites. But the other one was my Blog’s First Birthday post, and I was so proud to have written that piece to celebrate 12 months of ellemma. I felt like someone had literally just stamped all over the site, and to an extent I felt like my own identity had been violated. I know that sounds a little extreme, but hopefully you know what I mean.
Anyway I was in so much shock at the time that whilst I was in the salon I didn’t really do much except frantically Google blog hacking to find out what to do, and seek advice from others it had happened to before. I sent out three panicked tweets to my hosting provider and WordPress desperately trying to find an answer to something which I had no idea about.
Soon as I got home I’d calmed down a little and after doing a check of the blog it looked like the hacking and defacement was limited to just my two most recent posts. Which in hindsight means I was sort of lucky really as it could have been so much worse.
I actually took a screenshot of one of the blog’s intros, if nothing else just to remind me the names of the idiots incase I ever come across them in cyber-space. I still can’t believe they actually put their names down, as though they’re proud of such stupid activities! So this is what I was faced with, along with a lot more in the actual main body of the post..
It’s sickening to look at now and gets me so angry! But the anger towards the hackers was soon directed toward myself believe it or not, as I found out that it all could have been avoided if I had just updated my WordPress….
There was a news story literally the day before which reported a case of 1.5 million blogs being hacked because they had not updated to the most recent version of WordPress. What had happened was that the version they were currently using had a vulnerability within it which caused a ‘feeding frenzy’ for hackers to go in and target as many as they could manage.
I must admit, I’m very slack when it comes to any sort of update. It took me at least a couple of months to run the newest ios update on my iPhone, and even then I only did it because I was getting fed up with the notification cropping up every few hours and being annoying as hell. I’m not very pro-active with updates, especially when I don’t really understand the need for them. I just think of them as a bit pointless to be honest.
But that was my downfall! There is a point to most things in life, and as was the case with WordPress, they decided to run an update because there was a flaw with the old version.
If I’d have known that then I would have run the update as soon as it became available, but because I had no idea there was a security threat, I just put it off as usual and hadn’t bothered….
I guess you could say lesson learnt. WordPress responded to my Tweet and
passed the buck referred me to my hosting provider. They were actually really helpful and sent me an email within a couple of hours of my enquiry, stating that I had to update anything which needed it, (figures), and that I change my password, install another security plug-in, and basically be more vigilant with updates, as that’s the key to being safe from hackers. Preventative measures and regular updates make blog hacking very difficult to do.
I was also recommended to delete both of the hacked posts, which was a bitter pill to swallow, but far better that they were removed from the site altogether than left on the blog to potentially ‘infect’ other posts and links.
I intend to do a weekly check now for any updates which are required. I guess that’s the only bit of advice I can give really, to anyone reading this who’s been victim to a hacking. Don’t panic. Delete the posts. Update anything that needs updating. And maybe add an extra-security plug-in or two-step authentication measure for more peace of mind.
Another tip is to beware of any suspicious comments left on your posts, as I found a couple on mine and didn’t think anything of them prior to being hacked, but that was obviously a warning that my blog’s security had been breached.
So that’s the bad news. Although like I said it could have been far worse. And at least there was a happy ending in so far as the blog was back on track and hack-free within a few hours of me noticing it had been compromised.
The other bit of good news is that I finally got my brassy hair sorted out on Saturday! A root-drag was recommended to sort out the horrible roots, and some more highlights were put through to create a balayage-effect.
Remember how I raved on about the purple shampoo? Well it turns out I’d been using WAY too much, and far too often, which had actually caused a build up on my scalp….I’d bloody tinted my scalp from over-use! So a lesson learnt there too…
It’s been a very surreal weekend for me with personal things going on; the blog hacking included. I won’t go on about the other stuff but safe to say it’s been a stressful couple of days, and I’m looking forward to getting back on track with life.
I’ll be back with a new post very soon.