It’s Important To Protect Your Blog

You might not be a Blogger (not all of us are, it just seems like it) but chances are you’ve journaled, or kept a diary or calendar of milestone moments, or made a photo album to preserve special times. That’s what this blog is for me. 

Yes, I write the occasional sponsored post and get paid to heave my “digital social influence” around here and there, but this space isn’t about that. It’s personal. Personal, yet shared publicly across the internet.

I started blogging shortly after our daughter was born, ten years ago. I blogged before most people knew what a blog was. I started writing about what life was like as a parent of a child with complicated medical issues and uncharted special needs. I was scared and looking for answers. Writing helped connect me with other parents going through the same thing. 

It was also a way for me to keep track of significant milestones—surgeries and illnesses, and firsts, and major accomplishments, and all the feelings. It’s funny, I’ll look back at an old post and be all, “Wait what? She had Scarlett Fever? I totally don’t remember that!” 

As the years passed, this blog became a way for me to help other parents—the ones following after who needed support and maybe a few laughs and some reassurance. 

A few years ago I had a holy shit moment when I nearly deleted the entire blog by accident. As insurance (because I tend to repeat the same mistakes) I printed the first year of the blog in book. It was an awesome idea, minus the part about my son flipping through it one day and seeing a story about Santa which basically confirmed that Santa was a hoax. So ya, that was fun. 

However, the stories were safely preserved and I was grateful for that. 

A thousand or so posts later, I still have this little blog. I have a few loyal readers, but in the grand scheme of things, my blog is a little fish in a big SnapChatty, Instagramy, pay-to-play pool. But I don’t care. 

I don’t write as often as I used to and admittedly I’ve let my blog just be. This includes neglecting to update software and security precautions or changing my password on the regular. But like I said, I’m a little fish so really, what’s the risk?

Well big or small, I got hacked. Some jackhole broke into my blog (and 44,000 others) and deleted a post and left his dumb ass signature as a trophy. This week hackers across the globe united in a challenge to hack as many blogs and websites as possible, like a game. Ever heard of checkers, idiots? 

 

I was upset, but it looked like I’d fared quite well in comparison to others who had lost most of their content or their entire websites. I took it as a heads up to tighten security and update my software and passwords. I even installed a fancy new firewall. 

After whining about my plight on Facebook, so many people offered support. They commiserated and even helped me find my lost blog post, which was a true silver lining moment. I also had two strangers message me on Facebook, telling me to keep writing. They have children with special needs and my blog has helped them. Reading that made me cry.

So, I’ll keep writing. For myself, because a journal of milestone moments means something to me. And I’ll keep sharing for the moms and dads who are on the same path. If I can answer a question, or put them at ease, or tell them how funny and fantastic our life is, it’s worth fending off hackers and writer’s block. 

When I opened this blog today to write this post, I discovered that I was hit harder than I thought. It seems the hacker dumped all of my photos prior to 2016—all the pictures I carefully chose to accompany six years of posts, gone. I was devastated. I cried big ugly tears and mourned their loss.

Why would some random stranger do such a thing? I suspect if they actually knew me in real life and met my family and read our stories and felt the weight of our suffering, especially in those early days, that maybe her/she would have thought twice about committing such a senseless act. Maybe? But that’s the thing about the internet—its anonymity makes such acts seem guiltless, thoughtless, victimless. 

Thankfully my webhost is a tech god. He’s also a dad, and a real person. Not an anonymous bot, he has a face and Facebook messenger, where I messaged him today, sobbing. He dropped everything and helped me out and talked me down.

Luckily, he backs up my website weekly. And the last back-up was the day before I was hacked. He was able to restore my blog and recover the photos as though the assault had never happened. 

But it did happen and I’m still mighty steamed about it. 

However, I now know to be more vigilant, to change my passwords, to click “yes” when asked to run updates, and to print the rest of my blog into a book, because firewalls are only so strong. Sometimes old school is the safest way to go. 

Thanks friends for reading this little blog and for sharing and commenting and scouring the internet to help me find stolen posts and pics. You are the most awesome IRL village a girl could ask for in this crazy URL world. 

Non-Hackers: If you haven’t backed up your computer, your photos, your blog….anything you’d be crushed to lose, do it! DO IT NOW! 

Hackers: F*ck off. I’m so disappointed in you. Hack through a forest or hack up a lung if you have bronchitis, but don’t be hacking innocent moms. We’re just writing about our kids over here. What would your mother say if she knew what you did? No seriously, go tell your mom. Bad hacker. Go play checkers and leave us alone. 

Sidenote: Went I went to publish this post, a new (as in, never seen before) pop-up invited me to back-up my posts. The link took me to a site that offered ‘paid’ services aimed at protecting my website. Coincidence? I doubt it. 
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