Due to two hacking incidents I experienced earlier this year, my two hobby sites, The Gallery and Front Fenders ‘n Gum are temporarily unavailable. Hackers have caused billions of dollars in damage over the years, and I thought (once upon a time) that I was immune because I’m just a little site that doesn’t have a lot of stuff, and that material couldn’t possibly be of interest to anyone outside of my particular niche market.

I was so wrong. I now have quite expensive and vigorous security software in place and don’t expect a repeat of the situation.  The bad guys have tried and failed since I set up the security system. I get reports!

Such hacking can cause all kinds of damage, the most expensive of which is one’s reputation.

Let me give you a for instance.

After contacting the wineries in Paso Robles to tell them that I was eager to meet many of them when I’m there for my vacation, my site was invaded and infected (good word) shortly afterwards. I became – literally overnight – a pariah on Google, who let everybody know in BIG RED LETTERS that my site was now considered to be in quarantine.   I experienced two attacks: a smallish one in the Spring, and (apparently once they figured it was pretty easy) a big one in late September that took me down. Bad. Not only did they take down Vegas Wineaux, but they also took down MirePoix Vegas and my two hobby sites. That’s when I figured that shelling out a fee for rock-solid security was a small price to pay.  Happy to say that no clients’ sites were compromised.

The people who do this install their own “malware,” which, in my circumstance, was literally hundreds of links to questionable sites – “game” software, “free” money, and pornography.  I was humiliated.

You may notice that many of the older posts don’t have pictures. That’s because the images were located in a different place than my text files which remained safe as I eliminated everything else.  Let’s call it disinfection.

Thanks for all of your patience as I struggle to bring the Gallery and Front Fenders ‘n Gum back online within the next few months and get both Vegas Wineaux and MirePoix Vegas back to 100% functionality.

I’m calling this “lessons learned.”

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