I was on a Himalayan trek from 02 to 13 October. My reality was rock, rock, rain, mud and Mother Nature. You may well ask “what does this have to do with a hacked blog?” Not much except that the hack occurred while I was away.
I returned to find the domain suspended, blacklisted and the blog offline.
There is an adage amongst cyber security professionals; It is not a matter of if you are going to get hacked, it is a matter of when you are going to get hacked. It was my turn this time.
Yes, the blog was fully patched but it was on a shared host. I did have daily backups to dropbox but can you guess what happened?
The backups were infected.
I have built this blog over a number of years and there was no way I was giving up without a fight. However, cleaning malware from this system is not a matter of just running anti-malware programs.
A number of malicious files had been placed in the WordPress installation and perhaps in other nooks and crannies of the system. I am not a WordPress expert. I use it as a content management system. I needed help.
Enter Amanda Rush
I knew only one person who could help but she lived more than a continent away and was on a different time zone, almost half a day behind me. She had helpped me transition the blog from the free wordpress.com to its own domain.
A direct message on twitter had her transfer my backup to her and she began the recovery process.
She manually cleaned up the installation and within 24 hours the blog was back online.
Your average service provider would have stopped at this point but she went further. We changed hosting to WPEngine and switched to the genesis theme by StudioPress to facilitate better search engine optimization and accessibility which would help in making the blog discoverable to the “right” kind of people.
The happy ending
My blog is faster and I now have regular backups on Amazon Aws thanks to WPEngine. The blog is fully accessible therefore more people can access it. Best of all, search engines like it because it is well structured and machine understandable.
To those of you who have your blogs and or want to learn about cleaning them up or need this service, contact Amanda Rush. She will be conducting a course on cleaning up hacked blogs and before you ask, this process is accessible..