For the first blog post on Over Saturated for the decade. I could have gone for a lengthy and thought provoking piece on the last decade and the decade to come. That, however, is not going to happen. Due to a recent hack of a certain Over Saturated website. I have decided to rather write the story the story of the hack and why I’m now making my online presence more secure.
Last year, on the first day of leave I decided to write a reflective post about the year. As I opened my website to work on the piece, I discovered to my horror, that my website had been hacked. By none other than a hacking website that will remain unamed, or anyonomous if you prefer that term.
Why? I have no clue. I had recently updated my website to the latest version of WordPress and renewed my SSL certificate (it basically makes sure a website is secure and gives it an https). Those two things may have been correlated as I had to do some hacking with my plugins to make sure that I had space for the WordPress update. I also discovered recently that I may have been missing a file for my SSL certificate meaning that my website had something called mixed content. Which essentially means some of your website is secure and some of it is not. Mixed content is not a good thing for a website. Were those two things the cause of the hack? Again, I have no idea. A few people have also mentioned it may have been a plugin that allowed the hack. I am leaning towards that option. It could also be my political leanings.
Alas, back to discovering that my website was hacked. Something had to be done. I contacted my website host, Click Africa Digital and the company I bought my URL from, GoDaddy. GoDaddy got back to me but wanted me to move my hosting over to them for a rather hefty fee. I decided against that.
I also tried a few fixes myself, but to no avail. I eventually came to the decision that I was going to enjoy my leave and just post the blog I wrote on my Medium. That reflection is now there.
I got back from leave and decided, I need to get Over Saturated back online! I contacted my friend from Click Africa. Within two days it was resolved. I was back online.
I did decide to make a few changes to my life, just to improve my security a little bit. I installed a plugin on my website to alert me of any malware from Sucuri. I naturally changed my password. I then re-implemented my SSL certificate correctly.
I was also strangely inspired to start using DuckDuckGo. It is a search engine that ensures that it does not give you ads or track your data. I tweeted about my move and a friend suggested Brave browser, I now go between that and Google chrome.
After two years of being in SEO and seeing how Google is more and more becoming a paid search engine where businesses that pay for ads are taking up most of the search results as well as google themselves taking up a lot of the space on the first page of any search. I have realised that they no longer provide the most accurate results for a search. While they also take away from small businesses trying to start websites which really help people. The way in which google’s algorithm currently works bigger businesses and websites will always win.
I am also aware that google does not protect privacy in the slightest. With those safety concerns and seeing that Google is becoming less and less reliable, on top of getting hacked. It felt like the right time to start moving to a new search engine and a new browser. I still use Google a lot though, they have me hooked somewhat. Google docs are amazing, I can’t deny that.
Anyway, basically what this blog ended up somewhat unintentionally promoting is this. Support smaller more ethical businesses online and support local. I am very fortunate to be working with a local digital marketing agency for my website hosting. If you want to promote your business online much rather use a company like Click Africa. I guarantee you a local agency will give you better service than any other agency (I’m an industry insider — I’ve seen that to be true). If you want to use your time online for the good of the world move away from google as much as possible. Check out Brave, DuckDuckGo and other search engines like Ecosia.
In closing, stay safe, don’t get hacked and tell your friends about Over Saturated.