So last week, I received several emails after it was discovered that malware had hit my blog. I have been rather busy lately and my blog has not been a priority. But with some upcoming conferences etc., I’ve been more interactive with the blogging community.
What is Malware?
Short for “malicious software,” malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. In Spanish, “mal” is a prefix that means “bad,” making the term “badware,” which is a good way to remember it (even if you’re not Spanish).
Common examples of malware include viruses, worms,trojan horses, and spyware. Viruses, for example, can cause havoc on a computer’s hard drive by deleting files or directory information. Spyware can gather data from a user’s system without the user knowing it. This can include anything from the Web pages a user visits to personal information, such as credit card numbers.
It is unfortunate that there are software programmers out there with malicious intent, but it is good to be aware of the fact. You can install anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities on your computer that will seek and destroy the malicious programs they find on your computer. So join the fight against badware and install some protective utilities on your hard drive!
Once I confirmed that my blog had malware in it, I contact my good friend Sarah, at Blogger’s Help Desk. Sarah has always been there for me when my blog has gotten hacked, or if I have had “major tech issues”. I’ve had a plug-in or script error send my entire site into a frenzy before. And swoop, Sarah has came in and saved the day.
So ya, when you “Googled” my site, you got the above listed notice when you clicked on a link. I would have not known this prior until someone told me on a Facebook group. PEOPLE, “If you see this on one of your favorite sites, please contact the site owner, they may not know that they have been hacked!” After Sarah fixed the code on my site, I had to submit my blog to Google Webmasters to have them re-crawl it and check for errors. It took 24 hours for my site to be available as a “safe site” in Google again. I’m not quite sure what caused the “malware issues” on my site. Sarah said that typically it is a vulnerability in a plug-in or a theme.
The theme for all of this is, 1. If you have a blog or website and care what happens to it, make sure you can fix it if it gets infected or 2. Have someone who can do tech support and fix your errors. You don’t want to go looking for an unknown tech support person when your site is already down. You want someone that you can trust. If you can’t or don’t use an awesome person like Sarah and Blogger’s Help Desk, please find someone! There is nothing worse than having your site down, and not being able to fix it!