Monday, August 10, 2015

Near Death Experience

My website nearly died last week.  It's still in intensive care, but there is, thank heavens, a good chance it will recover.

The first notice I had of it was when a reader emailed to ask if I knew it had gone down, which I didn't, but sure enough when I checked it wasn't working and it wouldn't let me in to see what was wrong.  So I immediately did what I do in any crisis like this - contacted wonderful Andrew in the confident expectation that I would get his usual response - 'No problem, just a couple of clicks,' and because he is a very very nice man, he doesn't add the 'you stupid woman' bit.

When the email came back saying that something was badly wrong and he didn't know if it was rescuable, I went into shock. A huge amount of time, money and thought had gone into my website and I realised I didn't even have a hard copy of what was up there.

I'm well aware of the dangers of viruses and my PC has protection and back-up systems. I get a warning if I look like straying on to a dodgy site and I never download anything when I don't know the source

On the website I get quite a lot of spam 'comments', mostly trying to sell something, but I never opened them, just trashed them. I didn't really worry about it since any personal information is in the public domain and there's no access to any of my accounts or contacts. There is nothing to be gleaned from it that could be of any commercial use to anyone.

Yet what has happened to it has been fairly comprehensive destruction and if it weren't for the amazing talents of my webmaster it would have gone completely.  He's now trying to drag it across to another safer site so that the content can be separated from whatever has poisoned the system.  It's going to be a very expensive operation – and whenever I'm sure it's properly up and running again I am going to have much greater security and I will print off a copy of every page just in case something like this happens again.

What really bugs me is, why should somebody bother to do that?  Is there a purpose that I don't understand, or is it just 'motiveless malignity', as Coleridge said of Iago?

So much time and money is wasted by criminal activity of one sort or another.   I constantly have to answer the phone to people trying to persuade me that there's something wrong with my computer that only they can fix or there's been a fraud on my credit card that they can sort out for me.  My street has been targeted by burglars recently so we have to have a state-of-the-art alarm system that means I have to find the fob and switch it off if I want to make myself a cup of tea in the middle of the night.

None of that is pleasant, but at least I can understand the hopeful 'phishing' emails that invite you for one reason or another to oblige them with your bank account number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, etc.  They're just plain crooks, nasty little parasites on society.

But there is something much more upsetting about these vermin who have nothing to gain except, I guess, pleasure at the thought of someone else's unhappiness.


Sybil Johnson said...

So sorry to hear this. Very annoying. I do wonder what people feel they're gaining from doing such things.

Aline Templeton said...

Thanks for your sympathy, Sybil. You have to feel there's something quite sick about this sort of thing.

Donis Casey said...

You have my sincerest condolences, Aline. I sometimes despair about the nature of humanity

Aline Templeton said...

Thanks so much, Donis. I'm a bit off humanity at the moment. This week we found that someone had tried to disable our security system, and severed the stem of my pretty clematis thinking it was a wire connection.

Eileen Goudge said...

So sorry, Aline! This is my worst nightmare short of identity theft. I'm glad you're able to recover some if not all of what was lost. Lesson to us all: You can't be too careful these days. As for your clematis, they grow back, thankfully. You can use this in one of your mysteries and recoup.

Aline Templeton said...

Eileen, a lovely example of, 'If they give you lemons, make lemonade'! Thank you for that.