George Greene is the website developer for FuturePastFifty.com, a WordPress website devoted to providing resources, ideas and community for people over the age of 50. The site is the creation of Nancy Burke and Marg Penn Ph.D. Together they bring years of life coaching and consulting experience, as well as a passion for transitioning people through changes in life to the website.
George joined the team in 2014, “As I am also past 50, I welcomed the chance to work with Marg and Nancy on their website helping ‘experienced’ workers stay vital, valuable and fulfilled.” He created the original FuturePastFifty and has been integral to the success of the website ever since.
This past January, George and team were startled to find that their site was being targeted by hackers who were redirecting visitors from FuturePastFifty to a bogus website. The team was notified when their website host identified the malware on the site and suspended it, preventing visitors from accessing the site. “Our infection was stealthy and it took a while before it brought our WordPress installation to its knees,” said George.
Marg and George knew they needed to take action quickly, as each moment the website was offline was a potential visitor lost. As a developer, George knew that the threat was very real, “Malware that infects your website to send spam or commit other nefarious crimes can affect your site’s ranking and can easily get your site—and emails from your domain—blacklisted.” FuturePastFifty’s host recommended they reach out to SiteLock to identify and remove the malware—getting the website back up ASAP.
As George explained, “With the help of my hosting provider, I tried to get rid of the problem, but it quickly became apparent that we were out of our league. The host recommended escalating our service plan at Sitelock and they immediately had a special ops team of experts rooting out insurgent malware and hardening our account.”
As soon as George and Marg got in touch with SiteLock, the SiteLock team began working to remove the existing malicious content and restoring the website. SiteLock provided them with the SiteLock INFINITY package, which removed the redirect and prevented the issue from happening again. INFINITY includes SiteLock SMART, Secure Malware and Removal Tool, as well as SiteLock TrueShield web application firewall (WAF).
SMART provides a daily comprehensive analysis of the FuturePastFifty website from the inside out. When malware is detected, the scanner automatically removes it. The SiteLock team used the SMART scanner to analyze over 72,924 files for FuturePastFifty. SMART was able to identify the malicious code that was redirecting to the hacker’s site and removed it, restoring FuturePastFifty to its normal state.
TrueShield WAF was installed to protect FuturePastFifty from future attacks. Current analysis shows that TrueShield has already blocked over 1,328 malicious bot attempts and more than 2,000 attempted visits from blacklisted countries.
Through the installation of INFINITY, FuturePastFifty has been restored and Marg and Nancy are now able to continue providing coaching advice and resources to their website visitors. George shared his thoughts on the experience, “Security was not a problem—until it became one. It wasn’t fun learning this the hard way. Luckily, our wonderful account manager was emailing and calling us about the status of our website every step of the way. When I called and asked for my account manager, I actually got her, not just the next support person in line. I didn’t have to repeat myself over and over. There were no misunderstandings and no delays.”
“We’ve learned a great deal about what we can do on our end to protect our site, but most importantly, we now know when to call in the experts!”
For more SiteLock case studies, visit www.sitelock.com/reviews. You can also read a brutally honest review of SiteLock on WPBuffs.com.