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  • WordPress Blogs Being Hacked

    Posted on Timeless Kathy Sammons 25 comments

    Don’t you think it is quite amazing the feeling of total “freak out” that a person feels when they realize that they have lost their phone?  Well, that is nothing compared to the freak out that I felt when I thought that I had lost everything on my blog last week!

    When my blog was hacked the idea of losing the central nervous center of my business had the hair on the back of my neck standing on ends.  Luckily for me, I was able to get it fixed and not lose anything, and it was a great relief when all was well with my blog.  Below you will find how I was able to recover from this.

    In reference to my freak out, I know there is the whole topic of being in a state of equanimity, where nothing is good or bad, it just is.  Or the idea of being too attached to material items or the outcome of said event, however, that was the furthest thing from my mind and fodder for another post.

    So, a little about what happened, last week I got an error message from my AVG virus software saying that they blocked me from my site because it was infected.  So, I said, “Well, fix it.”

    As I learned however, that’s not how it works.  To get it fixed you have to go to the source, i.e. your hosting site and have it removed by them.

    According to several reports, shared hosting sites such as GoDaddy, Blue Host and DreamHost have had their customer’s open source WordPress blogs hacked.  No private server WordPress installs have reportedly been hit.  GoDaddy said that they were working with their customers to help them get their blogs up and running again, as well as, with authorities to find the source of this hacking.

    So, to begin with, here are some suggestions from WordPress.  I like the first statement, STAY CALM, are you kidding me!!  I just lost the main drain of my brain!!!!

    • Stay Calm
      • You have to stay calm to be able to deal with this situation. The first step before you respond to any security incident is to calm yourself down to make sure you do not commit any mistakes. We are serious about it.

      Ok, let’s all take a big deep breath.  Now let it out slowly.  As you exhale, feel your shoulders relaxing as you find peace in the moment.  Now repeat after me… My blog is safe, My blog is safe.  Let this feeling seep into the very center of your awareness.  As you are becoming more aware of your blissful state….

    Snap out of it and get to work!   :)

    • Scan your local machine.
      • Sometimes the malware was introduced through a compromised desktop system. Make sure you run a full anti-virus/malware scan on your local machine. Some viruses are good at detecting AV software and hiding from them. So maybe try a different one. This advice generally only applies to Windows systems.
    • Check with your hosting provider.
      • The hack may have affected more than just your site, especially if you are using shared hosting. It is worth checking with your hosting provider in case they are taking steps or need to. Your hosting provider might also be able to confirm if a hack is an actual hack or a loss of service, for example.

    Next, here is the site where you can see the rest of the steps to restoring your WordPress blog,

    http://codex.wordpress.org/FAQ_My_site_was_hacked

    Thirdly, for those of you that use Merge Domains or GoDaddy for your hosting here is a form that you can fill out and send to them so that they can remove the malware from your site.

    https://www.godaddy.com/community/contactus.aspx?ci=15534&section=support

    Lastly, a very important step, that I did not follow the first time, yes, it happened to me twice in 7 days, is to make sure that you change your passwords to your hosting service.  In addition, and this might not be the same for all hosting sites but for Merge Domains and GoDaddy there is also a password that you have for your hosting section of your back office.  That also needs to be changed.  One caveat, do not change your password to your database in your back office or your blog site and the hosting account will not be able to communicate.

    Lessons learned:

    • Stay calm
    • It is only time
    • Back up your blog, in case you need to restore it.

    It is my sincere hope that you do not have to go through this.  To help make sure that it does not happen to you, if you have not already done it, make sure you have the latest version of WordPress which is 2.9.2.  Then change your passwords to something you have never used before for this account.  If your user name on your blog is admin, you also may want to see about changing that too.

    Here’s to Happy and Safe Blogging,

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    • billpalte

      Hey Kathy,
      Sorry about all of your hassles. SOMEONE obviously has too much free time on their hands. Good luck in getting everything back in place. Thanks for the inspiration as I'm sure we will all run into this at some point.

      FYI — this post has an error message in the header yet…

      '3P
      Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/k/s/a/ksammons/html/wp-config.php:1) in /home/content/k/s/a/ksammons/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-greet-box/wp-greet-box.php on line 1455

      To Your Continued Success,
      Bill

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      I see that I have that problem still, and there is even more. I have to uninstall and reinstall and restore my blog now!!!! This is really trying my patience… but one day this will be SMALL, just like all of the other trials and tribulations of my life. Smile and he happy or it that Don't worry, be happy. :)

    • http://jeffwisuri.com jeff wisuri

      Kathy,

      Great post….fortunately I havent experienced any type of hacking or virus attacks but your points about password protection and running virus malware scan are well taken! In fact I recently posted a article on malware/spyware http://tinyurl.com/23d4tba as so many people never scan for these little killers. I also switched my hosting from godaddy as I had multiple issues w/their program. Keep up the great work!

      Jeff Wisuri

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Jeff, I thank you for stopping by. I checked out your post and it was right on the money. I can not tell you the head ache that I had because of the malware that I got on my site. Not being very tech savvy, I had to stubble through the process. I ended up having to uninstall and reinstall word press and then change the database over to the one I backed up. Not hard looking back, but the first time through was not a cake walk :)
      Thanks again,
      Kathy

    • http://twitter.com/angelaksgiles Angela Giles

      Oh my I am so sorry that you got hacked! This is so critical to make changes frequently to our passwords and make sure that we don't get hacked. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I got hacked on 4 other sites about 2 months ago and I tell you it was not a fun experience and I did pull my hair out lol!

      Believe in Yourself!
      Ange;-)

    • http://www.RayHigdon.com Ray Higdon

      Good to know, it was nice talking to you on the phone Kathy!

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it. I hope all is well.
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Angie good to see you here. I was really on edge when my blog was hacked but that was just one… you had 4, wow that is truly a pain. But we live through it.
      Hope all is well.
      Kathy

    • http://LinusRuzicka.com/ Linus Ruzicka

      Holy crap Kathy!

      I am SOOOOOOO impressed that you made it out of this with your head nto blown off the top.

      You have much more patience than I do.

      I am going to make sure to pass this one along for all of my fellow bloggers as well.

      God Bless,

      Linus

    • http://twitter.com/zackcovell Zack Covell

      Thanks Kathy…

      good stuff!

      Zack

    • billpalte

      Hey Kathy,
      Thanks for sharing the “gory” details. Nothing like losing part of your life to figure out that everything you do electronically CAN be subject to an attack…or worse….

      An additional thought…backup your data…JUST in case. Trust me, it is worth your time and peace of mind.

      To Your Continued Success,
      Bill

    • http://www.virtualassistants-philippines.com/blog Erwin Maningat

      Thank you very much for the information. It is very helpful. I've been trying to figure out how to screen the comments that are posted on my blog for fear of being hacked. Even those widgets on the sidebar can be channel for hackers to penetrate. Have a nice day.

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Thanks Linus, I can not accept the pats on my back though, believe me I was not very patient at times. But you have to keep your head. What if I had deleted the wrong data base? Now I would have probably blow a fuse on that one. LOL

      Blessings,
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Great to see you here Zack. Thanks for being “around!”
      Peace…
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Bill, thanks for your comments. I agree with you about backing up. I have an external drive that I back up to every night. You never know when something is going to happen that would cause you to lose your hard drive. I do not know what the chances are but I do not what to find out by being part of that group!!!
      Thanks,
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Erwin, thanks for stopping by. Just for your edification this particular hack is through a PHP file at the host site at merge domains et al.
      I hope you are able to avoid this scenario, it is not much fun. But I survived to tell about it… LOL
      Kathy

    • http://meetyole.com Yo Le

      Kathy,

      Sorry you had to go through this…

      … but I'm glad you survived it! I recently read a post by Marcus Baker a few weeks ago called, “WordPress, Back It Up Or Be Prepared To Lose It.”

      I definitely started backing up my blog after I read his post. I also heard that when you Alexa score gets in between the 125K and 75K mark, it becomes a target for hackers and I am approaching that mark so I'm using every pre-cautionary measure to prevent this.

      Again, I'm happy to know that you were able to salvage everything.

      - Yo

      P.S. You're using GoDaddy for hosting right? I know Hostgator does an automatic back up every Sun night.

    • http://JohnStoneBlog.com John Stone

      Kathy,

      Wow! Thanks for posting this. I have saved it in case i should need this info in the future.

      John

    • http://twitter.com/JeffWisuri Jeff Wisuri

      Kathy,

      I think I already posted a comment on this or a very similar post you wrote? But it still is a great piece of head up awareness for anyone who values the work they put into their blog! Thanks for the wonderful info!

    • http://www.cassiestrom.com Cassie Strom

      WOW Kathy!! I cannot even Imagine the Panic that struck you … I would be freaking out! lol
      Thanks for sharing your experience and the tips on how to get through it :)

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Yo, luckily I did have mine backed up…whew!! I always like to see the benefits gained from a crisis. One thing that came of that is that I learned a lot about working with WordPress.
      It is good to know that Hostgator back up every week, I may want to venture over there.
      Thanks,
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      I hope you do not need it!!
      Kathy

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Trust me I was freaking out. But at least I did not loose anything.
      Thanks,
      Kathy

    • http://www.ChrisBernardoBlog.com Chris Bernardo

      Kathy,

      Thanks for sharing this info, very good stuff to know, But a consistent blog back up is always a great idea.

    • http://www.kathysammons.com/ Kathy Sammons

      Right On Chris!
      Thanks,
      Kathy