– “because they can…” It’s the answer to why hackers do what they do…

Sometime earlier this year, some nutcase decided that he had nothing better to do than screw up another web site.   Why he or she picked mine, I’ll never know.  When I asked a CIO friend of mine why people spend their time hacking, he simply said, “because they can…”

Someone could and did…  The first indication I got was from a friend who was on my web site reading my blog and he called to say “did I know Google was warning people that your site had been hacked….”

When my site was first created, Christine Horner (the designer of my web site) and I discussed a way for people to e-mail me through my web site.  It was set up as a way of contacting me and the first step in selling signed copies of my books.

That led to a barrage of malcontents using software to harvest web site addresses who then sent me e-mails offering everything from fast, easy money, cialis/viagra/testosterone at a discount to legitimate comments on my books, blog and writing.  To those who were harvesting or sending spam, I have a suggestion – Learn how to write in the English language!!!  It may reduce your rejection rates….

To cut down the spam, Christine installed an application that forces you to read those crazy tilted and distorted letters and numbers.  It had the desired effect, spam dropped off to a trickle but every once and awhile, one slips through and I hit the spam button to block further attempts from that source.

Cleaning out all the malware and unwanted code was a tedious process and Christine said now the site is clean, again.  Both of us were surprised to find out there is a lot of helpful information out there to help professionals clean-up the mess created by some nutcase who thinks hacking is a fun thing to do between video game sessions.

I talked to GoDaddy who hosts my site and was stunned to learn that they do nothing to protect those who use their servers for web sites.  So, thinking this was an anomaly, I called several other hosting sites and none provide any protection.  All told me that security is my problem, not theirs!!!

Great, now I am a mini-Target…  They spent millions – as do other firms – and they are for the most part successful, but every once in awhile, something spectacular happens and it makes the news.  Hacking my site wouldn’t make CNN or FoxNew, and I don’t have millions to hire a staff to install, maintain and update anti-hacking software.

Why someone screwed up my site is beyond me.  There’s no link to any kind of financial information so you can’t get credit card numbers or people’s addresses.

So I keep coming back to what my friend and former co-worker who was the de-facto CIO of a consulting firm I worked for…  They did it because they can.

Marc Liebman

April, 2014