st1517: Even the SmartTech Dude Gets Hacked! [Podcast]

While on the road somewhere between Portland and Los Angeles I got a message from one of my listeners that the SmartTech website was down.  He was dutifully trying to use the Amazon link on the SmartTech site to give credit to his favorite podcast.  (I’m assuming it’s his favorite!) This began an ordeal on tracking down the problem, getting it fixed, and trying not to have it happen again.  In this episode I tell you what happened and what you can do to prevent such a thing happening to you.

UPDATE: Since I recorded this episode I have had less than stellar help from SiteLock.  I paid SiteDoctor through Bluehost to clean the site of malware and they wanted me to subscribe to a $200 package from SiteLock to continue to monitor and fix my site.  When I balked, they said they would package SiteLock and SiteDoctor (for 1 fix) for $200 for the year for the FIX plan.  I decided I had been down enough and I would try the service.  All seemed well for a couple of months when I was told I had been reinfected.  Now you would think that the FIX plan would actually fix something.  Well I was apparently wrong.  Even through there is a a FIX button on the FIX plan’s control panel, I got a pop up message to call them instead.  I finally got ahold of someone who told me they wanted another few hundred dollars to fix my site.  When I explained I had the FIX plan already, the tech turned sales person told me something like “I wish they would change that name, it does not actually indicate what the service includes and causes confusion.”  So the FIX plan does not actually fix your website.  I’m not sure what the FIX plan does besides monitoring for more money.  My analysis of SiteLock is it is a bait and switch.  STAY AWAY.  I have begun to use a service called SUCURI.  So far so good.  They fix your site and also provide a firewall to block malware.  We shall see how this goes.  I will do a future post on SUCURI.

Links to things talked about in this episode:


Bluehost link

Get Noticed Theme

Social Media Subscribe and Follow buttons

Simple Podcast Press

SiteDoctor – NOT Recommended anymore


Recommendations to keep you from getting hacked!

1. Scan your computers with latest and updated anti virus and spyware programs. Make sure they are virus free.
2. Reset all your passwords.
3. Password should not be simple. (use to generate passwords)
4. Do not store passwords in your browser or FTP client.
5. Log off sites, computers and devices after use.  Don’t auto log into anything.
6. Do not share passwords with any one.  Use 1Password!
7. Log off of your computer after use and don’t leave your computer unattended.
8. Ensure your computer does not have any keyloggers or spyware.
9. Ensure that all of your applications and plugins are updated to their latest stable versions.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • adspedia

    Hey Chuck, hope you’ll have a great experience with Sucuri. Just a quick note to let you know the correct URL for us is, not Keep in touch!

    • Thanks for the comment. I have fixed the link. I will say that after struggling with getting the site stable for the past 4 weeks using the other service, Sucuri had me up and running malware free in a few hours. I am beginning to configure all of the other options you provide and am most impressed with the firewall service which I think will head off future problems. I am so far a fan!

    • Chuck

      Thanks for the comment. I have fixed the link. I have to say that so far I am a fan. What had been a four week saga trying to stabilize the SmartTech website was resolved in a few hours by Sucuri. I am just starting to explore and configure all of the options you offer and am especially impressed with the cloud based firewall you offer. I think this will stop or at least slow down future attacks on the site.

      • adspedia

        Great to hear that. Do let us know if we can assist in any way. Be safe and have a Great Holiday season!