Well, after 4+ years of blogging, I have now had my first experience with having my sites (all 3 of them) hacked. Although it turned out ok (obviously since you’re reading this), it still was very scary for a little while there, to think that all of my hard work might be in jeopardy.
I first became aware of the problem on Tuesday evening when it was brought to my attention by other bloggers who had tried to visit this site. It was pretty obvious what had happened since the hackers so very helpfully put up a ‘Hacked!’ message on this page and my other two blogs. Not having dealt with this before, I wasn’t immediately sure what to do, but started by opening a support ticket with my hosting company. Within a couple of hours my sites were back. Well, almost.
Yesterday I was able to log into my WordPress dashboard for this site and my knitting blog (and immediately changed both passwords) – but I was shocked when my password to Mom of 3 Girls no longer worked, and when I attempted to recover it using my e-mail address, it said that the e-mail address was not associated with the site.
Locked out of my own site… Thankfully it was now displaying correctly, but I couldn’t get in to change the password or do anything else with the site. I know I’m not posting regularly over there anymore, but that’s still been my main blog for all this time now with over 1,500 posts and thousands of comments. At this point I wasn’t sure if it was an issue for the hosting company to deal with or a WordPress issue. But in the end, I had all the tools I needed already to fix it.
Thanks to Rose, our amazing technical support person at Traveling Mom, I was able to get in through the ‘back end’ on my host dashboard and reset both the password and the e-mail address. When I was able to get into the WP dashboard for the site, I discovered that my anti-spam plug-in had been disabled and hundreds of spam comments had been left on the site. Easy enough to fix – just time-consuming to make sure I’d gotten them all deleted. Everything else seems untouched, as far as I can tell. The hackers hadn’t made any changes to the other two sites that I’ve been able to find.
So all’s good! According to Rose though, WordPress is the most often hacked script. Her main suggestion to help prevent hacking was to make sure to always keep blog software up-to-date. I do try, but have to admit that updating WordPress hasn’t always been a priority. It will be now though!
Back to our regularly scheduled blogging… 🙂