Hacked: Dealing with Sudden Change on the Web

cPanel Check if Hacked

Places to check if you’re hacked.

Being hacked is just no fun. And it’s especially disruptive when you’re about to send out an e-zine or when you’re preparing for a launch!

And yes, that’s exactly what happened to us here at The Time Finder last Wednesday. We were getting ready to send out the Finding Time E-zine on Thursday AND putting the final touches on a launch slated for tomorrow, when we discovered that we’d been hacked.

It came to light when a new subscriber e-mailed us to say that she was trying to download one of our free templates but couldn’t figure out how to do it because everything was in Russian. Hearing that certainly gave us a bad feeling, and when we immediately checked our links, we discovered that, indeed, we had been hacked.

If this happens to you – and I hope it never does – one of the first things to do is to take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to panic. It’s a serious situation – but heightened anxiety just depletes your ability to respond.

One of the first things we did to see where and how we had been hacked was to go into our cPanel on our Web Host.

File Images

Sort files to see if they’ve been hacked.

We opened up our File Manager to see if we could tell what files (if any) had recently been changed.

You can sort your files within your File Manager by the date and time that each was last modified.

As you can see here, March 10 was the last time that we needed to deal with this issue. We had to remove some php files that had been added to the site by someone other than us.

Since last week’s event, we’ve been checking in regularly to make sure that nothing further gets altered.

In addition, we’ve changed our passwords, and removed some plugins that may have contributed to our vulnerability.  We found it helpful to do a search on the following term: “wordpress vulnerabilities 2016” to discover possible issues.

Finally, while we do regular back-ups here at The Time Finder, this experience was a major reminder of how important it is to have this be a regular part of our work activities. We were lucky to be able to get to the bottom of our experience fairly quickly, so that being hacked didn’t keep us off-line too long — OR lead to the loss of the site and all the material on it.

We were able to send out our e-zine as planned — although we needed to edit it to alert people to the fact that the site was temporarily unavailable. And I am happy to report that we are going to be able to proceed with our launch as planned. I am very excited about that!

So, while I hope that you never have to experience being hacked, the reality is that if you’re doing business on-line, you may well be. Taking precautions like having secure passwords, good anti-virus software, and running frequent back-ups of your material will stand you in good stead – no matter what sudden changes may come your way.

And speaking of our launch – if you’re a member of the Finding Time Community, you’ll be receiving a notice of our special early-bird offer tomorrow morning in your in-box. (If you’re not on our mailing list, you can sign up for the Finding Time Success Kit at the top of the sidebar – and you’ll receive tomorrow’s e-mail, along with lots of tools for your time success!)

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