No matter how lucky and cosseted we are, at some point in our lives we will experience a flat tire, a broken bone… and, in today’s First World, a site hack. Being a Mac user, I’ve been spoiled in that regard. However, yesterday I detected the dreaded signs that this site had been hacked: the blog dashboard turned into a shapeless mess that would not accept new uploads (though I could still moderate comments); and while loading, the site flashed a redirect address whose suffixes are known to be the sign of hijackers. A large number of WordPress-run blogs in the service provider that hosts my site got hit with this Trojan, which infects all the index.php files and also leaves behind backdoor scripts for later re-entry.
Every task requires the right tools and the person with the knowledge to use them. In this case, I found the right person in Jim Walker of TVCNet/Hack Repair. He was willing to walk me through the repairs on the phone, for free. When it became apparent that the extent of the infection exceeded my capacity to deal with it manually, he took care of it immediately and thoroughly, for a extremely reasonable fee. It took him about six hours and he worked late into the night, not stopping till he delivered the site, scrubbed clean and intact, back into my anxious embrace.
After my experience with Jim, I know more about the workings of sites, just as I learned a lot while watching John McCoy, who set up the components of the site and still does the heavy-duty updates and tweaks that go past my own knowledge boundaries. I am glad and grateful that such people exist. They’re members of the conspiracy of the competent that quietly holds up the world. The experience also made me realize how much this site, obscure as it is, means to me. It has become an integral part of my identity. Jim and John are my physicians as much as my treasured GP. Thank you.
Top image: the original Trojan horse; burial pithos, Mykonos, ~670 BC.