Possible Malware Warning (sort-of)
We recently had an issue that we want to make you aware of. Before you panic, let me assure you that we do not believe any information was actually compromised (since we don’t receive or store any information) but still wish to be transparent about what we believe happened as per our current understanding of the situation. I’m one of those people who think it’s ridiculous that companies don’t tell people when they’ve had an issue, so this is more about just being vigilant and honest.
On Wednesday, 10-14-16, you may have noticed a malware error message when viewing the Basic Angel Reading and the Looking Ahead Reading. We think these were the only two pages affected. However, we took action so fast that we really didn’t check every page on the site. From what we can tell, the error message was up for a few hours.
Here’s what action we took …
We immediately contacted our security company who rushed to solve the issue.
(We use Sucuri website security, which is a highly rated web security service, and we have a secondary firewall in place.) If you follow this link, you can see that our site is Malware free. Obviously, we take internet security very seriously and have gone out of our way to provide a safe environment for visitors. However, as they say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” There will always be people out there trying to get in to even the most secure sites.
Sucuri was able to tell us a few things pretty quickly …
1. They believed the attack was happening through an outdated plugin, so we deleted that plugin immediately. (For those who know WordPress, you also know it can be difficult to keep every plugin constantly updated and working properly; sometimes you can’t update a plugin because it will become incompatible with the rest of the site. This is part of why we are currently working on a new website, too.)
2. They also believe the purpose of the attack was to either take advantage of our high traffic and attempt to reroute that traffic to another website or possibly simply to earmark our site for later use – maybe both. (We know having such high traffic can make us a target; that’s why we pay so much for security.)
3. No one should have actually been affected by the malware. There was an error message. For a website visitor to have been infected with malware from our site, the visitor would have had to ignore the warning and continue on by clicking on a link on the warning page. (Keep in mind that we do not store information on our website, either, so it’s not like they would have been able to steal any personal data. Even our donations and store purchases are processed by Paypal – we do this to add yet another layer of security.)
Here’s how this can happen …
Like I said, there will always be attempts – especially on high traffic sites – no matter how great your security is. Seriously! You might think people could never attempt to hack NASA, but think again. 😉
I have personally seen malware warnings on some very big name websites, and it’s becoming more of an issue. Can you imagine what kind of good these people could do if they stopped doing things like this and actually started putting their time into things that matter? The human mind is capable of many wonderful (and unfortunately terrible) things.
The only thing we can do is to be as vigilant as possible, and we are.
Our security company is still researching (because we asked them to triple check), but they have said that nothing was actually affected – except that the scary message came up. Since we don’t actually process any payments or store any personal information on our site, there wouldn’t be any information for them to take. However, I am personally not very happy this was even an issue. We take security very seriously and pay quite a bit to keep our visitors safe.
I thought it was important to let you all know what happened. But, since it appeared no one should have been affected, I wanted to get all the details before posting something that might freak everyone out. That is why there was a 48 hour delay in notification.
Here’s how to protect yourself …
Unfortunately, anyone using the internet or any type of software is at risk for getting malware; it is just a risk you take with technology. Because malware is so prevalent, everyone should have some type of security on their computer that regularly scans for malware. My webmaster recommends Malwarebytes, which offers premium and free malware protection and removal. (We don’t receive any kind of money for passing this info on; we just think it’s helpful.)
Just FYI, my webmaster and I both have scanned our computers (after seeing that malware warning message), and neither of us had any malware.
Basically, pretty much anyone can get malware. Some websites are more of a target than others, which is why it’s important for website owners to make their sites as secure as possible. Everyone should also have their own personal malware protection.
Thank you for your patience and understanding on this matter. Now I’ve got to get back to work on laying out the navigational menu for our website redesign!
Founder, Angel Messenger
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.angelmessenger.net/wp-content/uploads/how-to-quiet-your-inner-critic-by-rev-sheri-angelmessenger-net_thumbnail.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rev. Sheri is an advocate for spiritual growth and education who is dedicated to helping others communicate with Heaven – without the need for an intermediary. She is the founder of Angel Messenger, a website that provides free online Angel card readings to hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. www.AngelMessenger.net [/author_info] [/author]
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