A well-known Denver speaker and coach (and very good person to her core!) called the other day out of sheer desperation and unknowing of what to do. Her “web guy” turned on her. A promise of building her website in 3 days for $200, turned into 3 weeks with little communication – meanwhile, enjoying his new $200 profit.
She attempted to get her money back via PayPal and not only did that not happen, but he found out and threatened to bring her down. He seemed to beam with pride in the past, she told me, when talking about how much he knew about coding and what potential he had to make or break someone.
She just wanted her website up and running again (this was just shortly after her hosting company went out of business with no notification too – what luck).
My heart broke as I listened to every word. “How is it possible that there are people in the world like this?!” I wondered silently.
She noticed her website rankings dropped from #1 to #15 – a very unusual change, all of a sudden. I was able to look at a few things on her site and instantly saw what this web guy did to “destroy her rankings on the web”. We fixed the issues he created, did a few things to tighten security and enhanced her website so Google would not only pick up on her…but pay attention to the changes her site was making daily.
This occurrence had a pretty deep impact on me – so much so I had trouble sleeping last night. It made me think about how we charge through each day, solving problems and trying to make progress. We generally only think about things that are right in front of us, impacting our mood and emotions. I thought about how many people “just want a website up asap” but don’t realize the bigger picture of what “could” happen – they aren’t taking security measures…they don’t even know what security measures to take!
If you are a website owner or social networking addict, listen up here! There *are* spammers out there who get a kick out of flooding your Inbox with Viagra and other offers. There *are* disgruntled freelance web people that have the knowledge to cause a hiccup (or greater) in your business online. There *are* hackers that could do anything to your website they could almost image…if they wanted.
Yes, a very scary and harsh reality. I lay it out for you because I don’t want you to be the next “good person through and through that gets a surprise and a setback” – literally and mentally. There *are* security measures you can take – and SHOULD take – to prevent an unfortunate occurrence online.
1. Change your online passwords once a month, minimum. Bank, Twitter, Website…everything. Avoid giving out account information to employees – keep it to a minimum – and when an employee leaves, immediately change all passwords again.
Just a couple months ago my Twitter account got hacked into and direct spam messages were sent to all of my followers. A couple weeks ago my boyfriend’s mom’s email account was hacked into and dirty messages were emailed to her whole address book, at least half a dozen times (and one email was opened by her friend, downloaded a virus on her computer, and fried her hard drive).
I don’t know why it happens, and I don’t have to. I just have the responsibility to protect myself and the people in my network that could be affected. You have the same responsibility.
2. I try not to be a target. I don’t get into heated discussions on forums, I don’t write about very controversial topics and I don’t accept a friend on social networks until I read their whole profile and vibe it out. I also refrain from sharing anything personal. Some use Twitter to share things they’re upset with, what food they like, everything. I’m not sure how safe that it.
Yes, this is a very tough decision because my whole business is online. So building my social networks, building an email list — it’s my level of success that could be getting lowered. But, if I encounter the wrong person, my business is now at jeopardy. Decisions, decisions.
3. As silly as it may seem to some of you, I very much believe in karma. Do good every day – be good every day – and that will eliminate your chances of something unfair happening. I have had to learn some lessons in what seemed like the hardest way possible. I know what this Denver speaker must be thinking about and worrying about. These hackers know that the way they’ll get you the most is by implanting fear into you. Fear eats away at us and that means they won. Don’t let that happen.
The Internet is not the safest place in the world. But at the same time, it’s a great place to be and thrive. I am *not* trying to scare you away from getting exposure online. Hiding isn’t anything I would ever advocate. I am just encouraging you to start thinking about security a little more.
If anything were to ever happen, you can rely on the “good guys” to help. There are solutions! There are web people that would stop everything they are doing to help someone in need. HereNextYear does it every single time.