Nothing puts the Fear of God into a blogger’s heart more than the recognition that you’ve been hacked. Or the feeling of helplessness when you find yourself unable to to open one or all of your social media accounts because someone got in and changed the password and may have even begun posting. We bloggers pour our hearts into our our content and the work of getting our creations out to our readers, and for many of us, our blogs are business, thus our livelihood is compromised.
Last June (2016) I took my blog live after purchasing a new theme and working with a designer to get it looking just right. It was a slog for months, as I slowly attracted readers. In January 2017, I made several changes and my blog and social media began to pick up steam. I was elated. Then, one morning in early February, I opened my blog to find it had been hacked. I remember vividly the feeling of shock, violation, fear and helplessness. I had no idea what to do, so, for a few minutes I just sat staring a the screen panicking. Finally it occurred to me that my web host might be able to help, I contacted my hosting company and we were able to fix the issue within an hour or so, thanks to the fact that I had the blog on an automatic back up. We wiped out the hack by deleting and restoring the blog to the last backup which luckily had been just two days before, updated a post or two, changed passwords and were back in business.
Last week, Michele Clark, a member of Forever Fierce, had a far worse experience. Her Instagram account was hacked. She was locked out, and the hackers first demanded money, then began posting Instagram Stories essentially taunting her. This week, they rerouted her account, and lucky for her, they have not posted anything further. Meanwhile she attempted to work with Instagram to put an end to the whole nightmare. Instagram, however, was not responsive, leaving Michele to open a new account and try to rebuild her following, while the hackers continue unchecked, and her old account—which had 11,000– followers sits unavailable to her.
I was grateful that my experience occurred while I was still a very small blogger. I couldn’t imagine if I had a shop or many years worth of content lost with the click of a few keys to a hacker’s keyboard. The experience caused me to make sure I had security scans and backup in place, and that I do all I can to protect my blog and social media accounts, since it is, for me, a growing business.
So, dear readers and fellow bloggers, make sure you update your security and as inconvenient as it may be, change passwords, use double authentication, back up and scan regularly. And if you love fashion and want to help, hop over and give Michele (@seechele_styles) a follow, some likes and support on Instagram. Let’s all help her rebuild.