As an organisation that is dedicated to backing up WordPress sites all over the world, one of the best parts of the job is when we receive emails and messages letting us know about the issues and problems people have faced, and how UpdraftPlus has saved them from losing everything they have spent years working on.
One such instance that was reported to us recently concerned the website of retired FBI agent Jerri Williams. Having served 26 years as a Special Agent with the FBI, Jerri is now a successful author of several books and creator of the “FBI Retired Case File Review” podcast.
Jerri’s website is a hugely important point of contact that allows her to communicate and share her work with listeners and readers, so it must have come as something of a shock when it was recently hacked. As someone who has spent her professional career dealing with scams and schemers, this malicious act of sabotage could have potentially destroyed everything she had put years of work into. After initially reaching out to us via our Twitter account, Jerri was kind enough to share the details of not just her incredibly interesting past career, but also the events surround the hack of her website and the aftermath.
Hi Jerri, please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster. I’ve been showcasing my crime novels and podcast on my website since January of 2016. Because I have a website that prominently features the FBI, I assumed that at some point someone might be challenged to hack my site.
To prevent that nightmare, I purchased UpdraftPlus, just in case.
Can you tell us the nature of your website and what happened regarding the hack?
On the morning of the hack, I received a message from a regular listener saying that he couldn’t access the podcast and blog carousel on my website. He thought I might have been hacked. I went to my site and everything looked fine, until I tried to click on an episode or post. I was sent to a strange sales support page. I don’t remember what is was, because Norton security service immediately sent me a warning and blocked the site, noting it did so to prevent an intrusion and computer attack. For a few minutes I went into panic mode and then I remembered I had installed UpdraftPlus.
I quickly accessed my website dashboard, located the UpdraftPlus backups in the the settings menu, and clicked the button to restore my files to the most recent backup before the hack.
How long did it take for you to restore your site using UpdraftPlus and was the process straightforward and easy to do?
The process to restore my site was straightforward and easy to do. After I clicked on the restore button I was up and running again in less than 30 minutes. The next thing I did was change my website account password.
What advice would you give to other website owners who may be at risk (such as backup and security)?
Having UpdraftPlus is like having an insurance policy for your website. You hope nothing will ever happen, but if it does, you’re safe. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. The one thing I would have done differently is I wish I had been backing up my website every week instead of every other week. I had to manually recreate a week and a half worth of work because the backup preceded my most recently posted show notes and blog posts. I’ve changed the frequency so, if it happens again, I will have a more recent backup to restore.
As Jerri’s story shows, anyone and any kind site can potentially be targeted. Without adequate security, protection and backups, years of work could be lost. We were happy to hear that in this case there were no lasting issues, but often sadly this is not the case.
With 2 million+ active installs, UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular and trusted WordPress backup plugins currently on the market. Download and install your copy today.