Highly recommended

So, this past weekend, I spent a lot of time (too much time) dealing with this:

Yeah. Again.

Just for the record, I think hackers need to be strung up, or forced to clean my kitchen floor with their tongues, or made to spend the rest of their miserable lives cooking food for homeless people. Or all of the above.

So, thanks to my good friend Daniel Espinoza at Grow Development, I was quickly put in touch with some truly terrific resources that had my site back up (and backed up) and “hardened” and otherwise wrapped in an impenetrable titanium bubble in a matter of hours. In fact, the service I got from these vendors was so stellar that I had to pass them along in case you ever (God forbid) find yourself in a similar situation.

  1. Securi Security – $90 gets you a year’s worth of automatic malware scanning at regular intervals and manual scanning whenever you want. In addition, it loads a plug-in for WordPress sites that “hardens” the CMS backend by adding several totally invisible features, all of which make it incredibly difficult for hackers to break in. It keeps an audit log of all the activity on your site, so you’ll know if any attempts are made to hack your site in the future. And finally, if you ever do get malware or funky script on your site in spite of all the security – or “cloaked” pages, which is what this latest hack was in my case – they’ll scan and repair your site in a matter of hours. In my case, it was less than two hours from the time I signed up – on a Friday night. Impressive. And for a rookie techy like me, worth every single penny.
  2. BlogVault – The first time my site got hacked, the whole thing went down and it took me nearly a week to rebuild all my posts, re-upload photos, and customize the site theme. It was a significant pain in the neck. And while you would think  that would have been enough to send me running for the nearest site backup plugin, the truth is that my initial research showed a simple, free plugin didn’t exist. And I got busy… and, well, you know. I am so grateful that this time around, the hackers didn’t take the site down – but it was the final warning. I signed up for BlogVault’s monthly service ($9 for a single site) and I got turnkey backup and restore in minutes. As in “minutes.” Again, for a rookie techy, this was a big deal. And because of all the new security features I’d just loaded, the test restore didn’t work properly – so I sent their customer service line an e-mail (on a Friday night). Not only did I have a response in my inbox when I woke up Saturday morning – with the problem fixed and the test restore working perfectly – but the email included a nice, personal compliment on an aspect of my site that meant they’d gone out and actually looked at it. Real people, fast response, and a seamless, nearly instantaneous restore of your entire site if you ever need it.
  3. Last but not least, I signed up for LastPass – free, unless you want to use it on your phone too, in which case it’s $12 a year. LastPass will automatically generate totally incomprehensible, complex passwords for every site where you have a user name and password, and then store it for you. But wait! There’s more! You can save each site to your LastPass vault, and create settings that will autofill that information for you next time you visit the site. The only thing you have to remember is the LastPass password. This took the most time of the whole process – visiting every site, generating and changing the passwords, saving the sites to the Vault, lather rinse repeat. As long as it took, it was worth it.

So there you go – I hope you never, ever lose your site down the rabbit hole to a bunch of hackers. If you want to reduce the chances, sign up for these services and rest a little easier.

(Note: Apart from the fact that I am a brand-new customer of all these vendors, they don’t know me from Adam. These are – of course – unpaid endorsements.)

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