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I’ve Been Hacked… YIKES

Cyber Crime

It wasn’t long ago that my “Online Presence” was completely ruined by some “Hacker” that decided it would be cool to take all of my website visitors and re-direct them to some stupid site that they owned.

To make matters worse, it wasn’t just my sites… it was EVERY Client site that I was hosting on my servers.

It’s not good when you start getting emails like this. 

Hacked 1

This was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve dealt with as a local marketing consultant.

Would you want text about “Erectile Dysfunction Pills” listed in the description of your website? Or even worse, have your site re-directed to a porn site?

Of course not…. I’ve experienced it and it’s a NIGHTMARE to clean up when you’re dealing with one or even one hundred websites.

Being the problem solver I am… I went to work to figure out exactly what I needed to do to not only protect my sites, but my clients as well.

I couldn’t let stuff like this happen again.

Hacked 2

No client wants a warning that “This site may be hacked” listed next to their site name in the search engines.

Let’s just say I quickly became an expert in “Site Security”

Come to find out, this issue is mainly with WordPress websites.

I didn’t know that all the “trackback pings, WordPress comment spam, plugin updates, WordPress updates” and all that stuff were possible “Back Doors” into your site and hosting account that hackers can access and do as they please with your websites.

Well, that’s a 100% fact and it’s something that every local marketing consultant needs to take care of IN ADVANCE of any problems arising.

Thankfully there are plenty of plugins and stuff out there that can help you secure your website from malicious attacks and services that exist to help “Clean Up” your sites in the event that they do get hacked.

They are NOT CHEAP by any means, but there is help.

Hacked 3

Depending on how many sites you have infected, it could cost you hundreds of dollars to get it cleaned up and secured.

Another thing with WordPress that drives me NUTS and my clients nuts is the amount of “Comment Spam” that you get. I can’t tell you how many forwarded emails I’ve received from clients asking me “What is all this crap”… referring to the spam comments they get on a daily basis.

So again, I then had to search out WordPress plugins to take care of that issue so my clients quit feeling as if they are being attacked.

And that’s exactly what it is…. it’s a full on ATTACK that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

Now… the “Hacking” and “Comment Spam” are just two of the huge problems that exist when you’re dealing with any type of website.

You see, there are all kinds of “Bots” and “Web Crawlers” that are out there scraping your website for important data and exposing that data to all of your competition.

You all know I’m heavy into “Local Lead Gen” and have a portfolio of Lead Gen sites. Do you think I want all of my competitors knowing all the important details about my sites that are making them rank for competitive keywords?

I’m sure you’ve seen sites like Keyword Spy, SEM Rush, Majestic SEO and all those “Spy Sites” that essentially allow people to pay a fee to have access to their software that goes out and scrapes data from competitors and gives you that important information.

Spy Sites

Yea, that’s a HUGE problem if you’re trying to build a long term business and keep a leg up on your competition.

I don’t want everyone to know what I’m doing. That’s what I’ve worked my butt off to learn. That’s what I’ve put hours and hours of research into.

Unfortunately, it takes someone with a lot of programming knowledge to put scripts and such in place to prevent all of my important from being exposed.

This is not something that was “Easy to do”

Listen, I wanted to bring this problem to your attention before it becomes a MASSIVE headache for you like it did for me.

True, this is not a “Sexy” topic but it’s 100% the most important thing you need to deal with if you are managing any type of website online.

So, now I’m curious… have any of you dealt with this problem?

What plugins are you using to stop your WordPress Sites from being hacked and what are you doing to prevent those stupid “Spy Sites” from exposing your website data to your competition.

Please leave me a comment below and let’s start a dialogue and get your sites secured.

Until next time…Prospect and Prosper! …. AND Secure Your Sites!

– Chris Beatty

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  • Tor Black Jul 21,2015 at 3:33 am

    please contact me as soon as possible at the above email

    • Chris Beatty Jul 24,2015 at 5:55 am

      Hey Tor,

      I know we’ve went back and forth through email already. Just making sure this wasn’t something different you needed!

      Let me know if you’re all set to go!

  • Robert Cullen Feb 3,2015 at 2:55 pm

    As a web developer for the past 3 years, my websites have not been hacked (knock on wood). I never use admin as my WP Username and the WP Passwords I use are very strong, usually 12 to 20 characters made up of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

    I use Akismet plugin to block blog spammers and the free version of Wordfence Security that alerts me when someone has logged on to my websites and when a new plugin needs to be updated.

    I’d like to know what other steps should be taken, if any, because it would be embarrassing to go through what you experienced. Some of my clients would probably fire me should their customers be referred to inappropriate websites.

    • Chris Beatty Feb 3,2015 at 4:32 pm

      Sounds like you’re taking some good steps Robert. The biggest thing for me was beefing up my passwords. Like you, all my passwords are now at least 12 characters and contain upper and lower case along with numbers and special characters.

      Since I did just that one thing, I haven’t been hacked again.

      It’s definitely embarrassing and certainly not an easy thing to “explain” to a client!

      I’ll send another email today that’ll give you some additional steps you can do to beef up security in general.

  • Reg E. Feb 2,2015 at 9:59 pm

    Wow! Sorry man!
    Wordpress sites are definitely big target. There are a couple plugins that add to site security. One of the very first ones that I add to a new site is Google Authenticator, giving it two-factor authentication. The next one is WordFence.

    As for dealing with comment spam I installed CleanTalk and have been extremely pleased with the protection it gives for a few dollars a year (it starts a $8).

    These have helped coupled with the other security steps I’ve taken.

    • Chris Beatty Feb 3,2015 at 4:28 pm

      Good stuff Reg. Wordfence is a good one for sure. Thanks for sharing brother.

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