When the computer trojan attacks.

Information grenadeI was called as an outside consultant to help a company with their website…which had been “suspended” by their hosting provider. That means absolutely NO one can see the website, not even the owner because it has been laden with a trojan. On a shared hosting machine the provider must prevent any further trojan infection to other websites.

Their site was originally written in Joomla but the versions were never updated by the original webmaster–and so the site was laid bare to being hacked…which it was, with an insidious “Generic” Trojan”.  The Trojan had infested so many times throughout the code that the server shut the site down to protect other shared sites (reasonable).

site temporarilly unavailableIn order to unsuspend the site, the owner had to write a letter explaining why the site was hacked, that they KNEW being hacked was a violation of their policies, that they would take every possible approach to rectify the situation in the shortest time, and put their signature on the document…and then fax it to the provider.

Now this may have been simple enough IF I, the consultant, knew what the hack was…which I didn’t…(oh, and IMHO, Joomla is actually a terrible website development program.)

Well, after the letter was submitted, the site was unsuspended, and I just had gotten a handle on the Joomla code and layout when BAM!, it gets suspended again, mere hours later.

Guess what?  Yup, the owner had to do the entire unsuspend process again from scratch. I learned later about some code you can drop into the .htaccess file for allowing ONLY your IP address:
order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from 111.222.333.444

I tried to use a 3rd party website Trojan Removal service, but they took out TOO MUCH CODE, as the site wouldn’t even show correctly.

And then?  Yup again, the site was re-suspended a third time.

I then took a bold step.  I spent the weekend building their site over again from scratch in WordPress.  Undistracted, undaunted, and not even sure they would pay me for my effort I blasted through the redevelopment phase using pieces that I did have the chance to download to my machine from their server when the site was up (there was no backup)

Well, it not only turned out to be a pretty cool site, and they DID pay me generously for my efforts, I could only pause and think about everyone out their NOT on some maintenance plan…believing merrily and blissfully that their site will somehow evade the hacker’s wrath for years to come. Perhaps the entire concept of their site being attacked is not even in their consciousness.

That will be a very bad day indeed for them because without the timely upgrades and without the backups on a regular basis…they will have lost all the work they have invested in.  And the costs for redeveloping the site if the Trojan can’t be removed will be just as expensive as developing a new site all over again.

There’s an old phrase.  “Penny wise and pound foolish.”

Get a website maintenance package. Whatever maintenance package you get to ensure your site stays current with the latest security measures…the minimal cost you will invest will WELL be worth it to protect yourself.

“It won’t happen to me, I’m too small”.

Really?  What you haven’t considered in that equation is that people are NOT at the other end looking to fish randomly around for holes in the code here and there.

Oh, no, my friend.  There is a raging torrent of “bots”, programs that are running on incredibly fast machines (and many hooked together in parallel) to produce a staggering mountain of attacks world wide.  ANY hole found once they reach your site will unleash a fury of attack by even more bots, until they get in. (Ever see The Matrix Revolution?)

Only intelligent security software designed by the best security people on the planet know how to stop hackers at their game.

So if you don’t get on a worthy maintenance package that can protect you…well, I’d simply say you should pray more at night.  The world is rapidly changing and you need to stay up with it.

If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for a great fall.  And I really don’t recommend it because the fall will hurt.  A lot.

Call me at 661-450-8513 and lets have a talk about your websites’ security.

Do it before it’s too late.


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