When You Get Hacked

My facebook friend Tracee Sioux messaged me.
“Dude there was a giant RED screen that said I was in danger and to leave the site immediately when I clicked.”

When I logged on in Chrome, things looked fine. Firefox, Safari, also no problem.

WTH, I thought. I had to find out what was going on.

I turned to facebook and used it for what it is best used for- crowdsourcing. Figuring that it might have something to do with her geographical area, I sent a group message out to friends in California, Denver, Florida and Louisiana asking them to look at my site. I got two reports that everything was fine so I started to breathe easier. Then a report from my friend John in Denver.

“There’s an obviously fake flash download screen that comes on when I go to your site. I tried to go back and screen capture it but it didn’t come back”

Not as bad as the time someone downloaded flashing skulls and lightning onto my site, but still, I was not happy.

Here’s what I did to fix it.

  • 1. Got into my site with FTP. You can see ALL THE FILES with FTP. It’s really old school, but still useful.
  • 2. Locked down ALL MY PERMISSIONS. So, the reason you can upload pictures to your site is that there is a vulnerability in the file permissions that allows you to do that. If you are on a high-security server, you will have to change permissions every time you want to upload a plugin or a picture. It’s not just a matter of someone getting your password.
  • 3. Looked into my wp-content/uploads folder. I usually name things something that makes sense- (even if it’s screenshot_margaret) so when I saw a file named cpxhuxfy.php I knew it didn’t belong.
  • 4. I removed all those files.
  • 5. I revisited all my permissions. wp-config (in the public_html file) should be 664. EVERYTHING ELSE (use the “recurse into subdirectories” option) should be 775.
    When you need to get in to add files and images, go to wp-content and then the appropriate folder and change it to 777 until you are done.
  • 6. VERY IMPORTANT! When you are done, close that door! Change your permissions back to 775!!

Why Branding is Important


Art direction maintains the cohesiveness of branding and brings subtle layers of meaning to visual representations connected with the company, combining art and design to achieve recognition and advertising goals.

Forbes magazine contributor Scott Goodson says “Branding is fundamental. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations. When Tata Motors of India bought Jaguar and Range Rover were they buying factories? ” READ MORE  In fact, if that quote was from a magazine that you had never heard of, would you consider the information as important or as trustworthy?

What is a brand and WHY is it so important?

A brand is a visual connection between a consumers experience with your company’s customer service, reputation, advertising, and logo. When a consumer has a memorable experience of any part of this operation, that positive experience builds your brand’s reputation. As we have seen on Yelp, poor experiences can cause consumers to eviscerate your brand, causing your reputation to flounder.

How does a strong brand impact your business?

1. Branding Improves Recognition

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 11.17.09 AM

Your logo is a shorthand representation of your company. As the “face” of a company, logo design is critical because that simple graphic will be on every piece of correspondence and advertising. A professional logo design is simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of your company.

2. Branding Creates Trust

The more experiences a consumer has with your company and brand, the more they trust you or it to deliver a certain experience. How many times have you personally, gone to a vendor or restaurant that you knew would be consistent, rather than reaching out for a more interesting or cheaper alternative?

3. Branding Supports Advertising

Advertising is a necessary way to remind consumers that you are still around- or introduce new people to your offerings. Both how you advertise and who you advertise to tell people who you are. With too broad of a focus, your message may become diluted. Trying to be “all things to all people” never actually works.
A narrower focus is advisable, but strategy must be considered to tactically expand into new and related markets.

4. Branding Builds Financial Value

Prestige and trust have financial value. Valuations are partially based on future earnings, not hard cash. Without trust, this ‘future value’ is worthless.A strong brand usually guarantees future business. Whether a company is in the position to borrow funds for expansion or rolling out to an IPO, being perceived as more valuable will make the process advantageous for the owner of the company.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 10.46.03 AM

5. Branding Inspires Employees

Many employees want to be inspired by the company that they work for- to feel as if they are an important part of something bigger than themselves. When employees believe in your company’s mission, it increases their dedication and pride and therefore commitment to the company. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around.

6. Branding Generates New Customers

Branding enables your company to get referral business. Without a catchy name or logo (or both) could you tell anyone about your favorite car? Even your favorite pizza couldn’t carry your endorsement without a company name. Word of mouth referrals or “warm leads” have trust built in, and just the mention of your company, increases its gravitas in the mind of the referred.