Hello World! Oh No! My Web Site Got Hacked!

sohosos.com logoWelcome to my first post 🙂 After a about a month’s hard work I decided to take down the under construction notice on let my website go live. The website is by no mean of being completed, and for that matter, it may not ever be, because it will be under constant update. In fact, many of the sections are only consisted of dummy pages currently.

Actually I launched this website on 2003 when I was a real estate agent and utilized it to promote my real estate agent business. I became a real estate agent after I lost my job and bought a house, amazing isn’t it? Back then, real estate loans are easy to qualify and it seemed like almost everyone wanted to become a real estate agents. And I am sure you know what happened on 2008, the housing boom popped, but I had quit the real estate business after I landed the current job before the that. And because of that I left the website unattended ever since until about a few months ago. I stopped the hosting service but for some reason the hosting company has not removed the content from their hosting server. If I point the website to their name servers and my old website still can be seen, but then I have no ability to update it.

Anyway, as I mentioned in the “About” page, I want to start a side biz after reading several inspiring books so I decided to redesign and relaunch the website as part of the strategy. I signed up with Hostgator as it’s recommended by a popular business website with 30% discount via its affiliate link. The sign up process is easy and Tech support is good too, as I did contact them a few times for support.

I used the Microsoft Frontpage to design my old website but it’s outdated and possibly not supported by hosting companies anymore. I was looking for an alternative web design program, again, from the books I read, Wrodpress comes up as an easy to use web design program, so I installed WordPress on my web hosting control panel. I also purchased & installed the X Theme which is recommended by the Web development course I took online. It is a great theme and I have not regretted the purchase which I may elaborate in another post or on the SOHO Resources page.

Even though almost everyone says WordPress is very easy to use, but I was still over whelmed at first, so after two weeks of tinkling with it without progress I decided to hired a freelancer from freelancer.com to design the website frame work using the X theme. By the way, my website’s logo is also designed by a freelance designer from istanbul, Turkey who won the logo contest I posted on freelancer.com, which is another story I may post someday. Anyway, as for the website, I posted as a project and the project assistant recommended a web designer who had worked with the X Theme. After looking at some of his finished projects I decided to hired him. And this time the freelance designer is from Pakistan, and to my surprise, his English is very good so the communication on the project via email and chat went with no issue. By the way, to let you in a little secret, English is not my native language. So please excuse my  frequent rambling with erroneous grammar and not so precise words.

Anyway, after about two weeks and a few hundred of dollars later, the website with basic menu and a few pages was completed, that was on Sept. 26. I was quite excited because even though I think the project is a little too expensive but I had the break through finally. After studying how the website frame work is built, I am able to start updating and building additional pages. Then on Oct. 10, when I tried to logon to the WordPress admin account to update the website, my heart sank immediately after I saw the screen which I captured below.

web site hacked

Apparently, my website got hacked!! The hacker from Indonesia posted other hacked websites alongside mine on his Facebook page. I was like, why me?! I have poured so much time, money and effort to relaunch the website and this is what I got? Yes, I was very frustrated but actually pretty calm, oh yeah, I have been through way more depressing and frustrating events than this, so it’s not the end of the world. And besides, before I decided to redesign & relaunch the website, I was debating whether or not I should do it, because I have another bigger project I am trying to start and will require a lot more of my time and resources, and the website could be a distraction. “May be it’s fate and meant to be…” I thought to myself.

But I figured that I can’t just wasted the time & money like this with nothing to show in the end, so I visited the Facebook link on the hacked page and asked the hacker why he did what he did. I also told him that if he is looking for money he will not get it because I am pretty tight financially myself. His Facebook picture shows he is a young looking guy, may be in the early twenty or even in the teens. Well, his answer was that it’s just for fun. He later did give me the hacked user name and logon password, but there is no use, I just don’t know how to change it back to the way it was and I am not sure he knows either. I contacted Hostgator for support and was referred to Sitelock for possible resolution. I was told it would cost several hundred dollars to clean the site and over a hundred each moth to employ their service to protect the site. I decided to decline the service since I am only in the early stage of designing my site and it’s very unlikely to generate that much revenue if there is any to justify the cost.

So reluctantly,  my decision was to cancel the hosting service from Hostgator since it’s still within the 45 day cancellation period. I ended up signing up with justhost which is recommended to me by the freelance web designer from Pakistan. I also asked him if he could set up the website frame work for me again, but the cost would be almost two hundred dollars, so I declined and decided to figure it out myself. But I did thank him for his previous work and it actually helped me in figuring out how to put the site together again which is what you are looking at right now. It’s in no way of being perfect, I have still a lot to learn, but as one of the successful Internet marketer said, a successful Internet marketer should not spend time in designing websites, such task should be delegated to others, but I guess I am not at that level yet. I just don’t have the financial mean to do so yet, but the experience of the logo & website design has open my mind that outsourcing is a viable way to grow a business faster.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the purpose of this website is to share my experience of trying to make it someday to have a profitable online / offline business. I will definitely share more as I progress. Thanks for sticking to the end of the post 🙂