My Apology for Being Off-Line

Cyber-attacks are something that, like accidents, only happen to other people right, until they happen to you and then you realize just how vulnerable we all are to malicious attackers.

Many of you may have noticed that we have been off-line for 10 days. Apparently, some of our files on the site contracted some malware. We are not 100% sure how it got infected but suspect it might have come through an old plugin that had a vulnerability or from some custom code on another site we own and operate that has not been updated properly. However, thanks to my hosting service, Hostmonster.com, for being proactive enough to quickly detected the malware and suspend the site before it could do any more damage, spread any further, or get us blacklisted by Google.

Regrettably, Hostmonster detected the malware on the exact day I left the office for an extended bow hunting trip to the hinterlands of Colorado where there is no cell service much less internet access. Unfortunately, it was not until I returned home that I discovered that there was even an issue as I began to review my emails.

Since you are reading this, the malware has been removed,  suspect vulnerabilities closed, and the site hardened against future attacks. All our domains were deemed malware free by RemoveMalware.net, who performed the work and were confirmed by Hostmonster.com. Since we used PayPal for all financial transaction no financial data was ever compromised.

During the past few days, I have been working with my IT folks to implement the suggestions from HostMonster.com to prevent future attacks and should now be fully functional.

I would like to thank RemoveMalware.net for their effort in disinfect 4 domains and searching over 7,700 files for malware. They offered a good value but took a little longer than the committed 72 hours to complete the disinfection and hardening process, likely because of the size of the effort that involved 4 domains.  They guarantee their work and have quickly addressed bugs with my sites as I detected them since a lot of services were deactivated and attributes changed during the disinfection and hardening process.

But most of all I’d like to thank HostMonster.com’s monitoring service that was able to quickly detect and stop the spread of any malware even in my absence. Not only is HostMonster incredibly affordable compared to other hosting sites (under $5.00 per month), but tech support is based in the US so the support personnel are very easy to understand for me as an American. There 24/7 support afforded me the opportunity to address the issues immediately upon my return.  I even worked until 12:30 AM with HostMonster support that first night to assess the scope of the issues and get the fixes in motion. Unfortunately, the site was down for several days before I even became aware of the issues and could initiate the repair process.

So to my loyal fans, sorry for the inconvenience that the downtime may have caused you. I have rescheduled all posts that were scheduled during the downtime so you will not miss any content.  Also, we have stepped up our security measures and believe we have all the pieces in place to prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future.

Sincerely,
Steve Imke – Content Creator for SteveBizBlog.com

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