Doh!Well, it happened. We got hacked. It’s pretty amazing how many people are out there waiting to put viruses into the internet world — it’s pretty sad, actually. On Friday night, Joel and I learned that a malicious virus was put onto our web server and all websites had to come down. Being the blog-obsessed person that I am, I came across the violation first as I was trying to get into our various websites.

After asking to speak to a supervisor at GoDaddy, who provides our virtual server, we learned the cold, hard facts of hacking. Apparently, this happens at least twice a week. It can happen to anyone who has a website — and does not matter who your hosting provider is. What it means is that if you have to have your web server “repurposed,” which is kind of like wiping the hard drive of your computer clean. In laymen’s terms (for my benefit), it means your up s–t creek, without a paddle. All your work gone. All files, gone. All blog topics…gone.

The Good News

  • Now the good news is that Joel did a backup about 2 weeks ago. So we only lost about 2 – 3 posts in this blog. We had backups of all other websites, so the web hosting clients that Joel had were up within an hour. Had they not been hosting with Joel, they would have been in a bit of a bind, since most people don’t backup their website content. We focused on the clients first and saved our websites for last. Joel is still working on them now.
  • I saved many of the articles in Word — since our WordPress blog software does not have spellcheck right now. I had been pasting them into Word to do spell check, so that means I have most of the articles. The two I lost were probably because I was being lazy and overconfident about my spelling skills! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Bad News

  • We did have some losses on this blog. I wrote some articles that I really liked — like the Sea Saba Dive trip report #2 at Tedran Reef. I’ll write it over again, because, thankfully — I have notes.
  • We lost some subscribers — so if you are not getting updates, please re-subscribe. We think we have most people, but we did get many new subscribers in the last week or so. We apologize for the inconvenience!
  • We lost your awesome comments, including jonjoslin’s great tuna recipe! We lost the recent great dialogue we had going with Doug, Rick, Jeff, etc. We are really disappointed about that because we love to read your comments!

The Big Lesson
Well, Joel and I are viewing this as a great lesson learned. Believe it or not, after the initial shock and “woe is me” feelings we both had, we actually accepted it. I’ve been reading this book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. He basically says that whenever we don’t accept the current situation (what is), we suffer. That would be true in this situation. We could swear, throw things, fight, be pissed off about not backing up the server for our blog (which Joel was scheduling for that night, interestingly enough) — you know the drill for being mad. We could have done all of them and yet, we were surprisingly calm.

We accepted the situation and talked about how to recover. That allowed Joel to quickly get our client’s websites right up, with no issues — since it was pretty late at night and the server was only down for 1 hour. It allowed us to create a workable plan to have things back in business by the end of the weekend. It allowed us to work well as a team, instead of being angry and feeling like victims. It also allowed us to have a really nice weekend. We still went for walks and enjoyed the incredibly perfect weather in Saba.

If We Knew Then What We Know Now
So this was a minor inconvenience compared to what it could have been if we hadn’t done some really smart things along the way. We were able to recover fairly easily, thank heavens. I have a feeling this was life’s way of teaching us another lesson — it seems we’ve learned a lot of lessons on this island so far. This was the ultimate in accepting our situation, even if it feels terrible. It really isn’t the end of the world, is it? If we can pull together like this every time there’s a disappointment or crisis, that oughta be worth something, right? It actually makes it a lot easier to trust the process of life.

For those of you with virtual servers or websites, here’s our tips:

  • Backup your content – if it changes periodically or daily, like with blogs, back it up every night. If you don’t want to take the time, pay your web hosting service to do it for you. We got lucky this time, especially since we backed up all of our client’s websites. We need to take better care of ourselves though & back ours up too! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Do backups of your backups – you never know. I am thankful that I had copies of just about all of our articles in Word. At least that gives me peace of mind — technology can fail — so the more backups you have the better. If you created a website, keep a copy in Word, then backup your website. If you have a database attached to your website, take extra care to back it up — it’s worth the price!!!
  • Pick a really, really, really, really hard password. Use letters, caps, numbers, etc. so that not even you can remember it. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. Change it periodically, it can’t hurt.
  • Stay away from PHPBB for forums – we think that a piece of PHPBB software was attached to a forum I was using with a coaching group. We learned that this is VERY vulnerable to hackers. It is touted for forums — but BAD for security. We thought we’d switched out of all of it to Simple Machines, but apparently there was still some PHPBB in the forum.

Cheer Us Up!
We’d love to hear from you — we miss your missing comments! Above all else, we are so thankful that you come and visit with us on our blog. We have loved meeting some of you on your visits here in Saba. And we love getting your e-mails. Thank you for letting us know you’re out there reading!

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