About the middle of October 2013 I received an email from my father in Greece. ‘Happened to mention your website to friends here and saw that your site is now advertising male dysfunctional disorders …’ What?! My father must have hit the ouzo again. I looked online at my site (something I hadn’t done for a while) and, sure enough, there on the homepage was a link to buy Viagra. Hm, someone had clearly hacked my site and put that on. I remembered then that I hadn’t received emails from that account lisaselvidge.com since, I checked, July. I’d written to Streamline.net, my hosting service, about this but I had received an answer I hadn’t understood – something about needing to change the DNS…
I wasn’t too worried: I would just load up the homepage again. But I didn’t have time to do anything about it until I finished teaching in December. Then I spent a couple of days updating the site but I couldn’t load it up. Hm. I contacted Streamline.net again. And then began to unravel a sticky roll of strange events which I’m still ungluing. I discovered that my domain name, lisaselvidge.com had been due for renewal in August 2013. Unfortunately, I received no notification. In the past I had always renewed the domain through Direct Debit through, again, Streamline. I bought the domain from them almost ten years ago but the registrar was Tucows for some reason. Now it had passed to Hover and was being hosted by a Russian hosting service Echo-Host.com. It may have just been an admin error and I simply didn’t receive the notification for renewal but because I lost access to the email first I suspect my website was hacked, sold and moved to another hosting service. Apparently, once a hacker has the main email address (and they can easily ask for a new password) and you fail to renew your domain they can easily take control. When the domain is not renewed it will go to auction and be sold. Whatever happened no one will take responsibility and Hover have contacted the new owners of my site but they will not sell it back to me. I do not know who ‘they’ are.
Strange. It is/was such a personal and handmade site I can’t imagine that it would be good to anyone other than me. But I’d be interested to know how the Viagra sales go. Better than books?!
A warning to everyone – keep control of your domain and if anyone uses Streamline.net I would be very careful. In the meantime, I will try to get a new site up and running. It badly needed upgrading anyway so thanks to whoever did it and good luck with the Viagra sales.