Meg Bortin is an American living in Paris who writes a charming but low-traffic French cooking blog that was recently “cloak hacked.” What the criminals didn’t know is that she is also a former investigative reporter who not only was determined to fix her blog, but was also willing to educate her readers about everything she learned along the way.
The problem came to her attention when her readers received an email from her touting not only her recipe for fresh sorrel soup, but also an ad for payday loans. Her web designer, internet service provider, email service, and domain registrar all failed to help her for various reasons, but she managed to track down an Ohio address for the payday loan company.
Fortunately for this American in Paris, she turned to the Better Business Bureau, in the form of one Lou Tekavcic, a trade specialist at BBB Cleveland. I am proud to say that Lou’s help was the turning point in her until-then fruitless quest for answers. A little more sleuthing and eventually she ended up in the hands of Florida-based web developer and blogger Michael VanDeMar, who eventually helped her clean up her site. What he found was that the hackers had infected the blogs of many small businesses that share a server, including “a Cape Cod poultry farmer, an artist in Portland, Oregon, and a real estate broker in Montreal.”
Here’s the full story. It makes for a great cautionary tale about how easy it is for hackers to break into your website, and how hard it is to get rid of them. As Lou told Meg, it’s an uphill battle to fight cyber-criminals. Rest assured that BBB is doing everything it can to inform consumers and business owners about what to watch out for and where to turn.