Mintype Was Hacked

This morning, I woke up to a nasty surprise of Mintype going down. The dreadful feeling of losing control of something I own and reluctantly accepting that I should have known better than leave the back door exposed.

Exactly why he chose my site to exploit, I have no idea. Maybe he didn’t have any malicious intent. Maybe wanted to give me a wake up call to beef up my apparent lack of security. Maybe he knew that I didn’t get a wink of sleep the previous night and the journey to restore my site to its previous glory would wake me up from slumber.

This site has only been active for 9 months. Through this period, it has relocated several times and housed in different homes. There has been ups and downs. It’s been a fun journey. I wouldn’t want to see all my efforts and posts disappear into the thin air because some Turk came out of the blue and decided to take my site down.

I wrote about how I thought A Small Orange is different from other hosting companies. Their fresh approach with emphasis on customer service is a particular highlight. Till today, I haven’t actually approach them to verify the claims that they are indeed as good as they come. I tried to rectify the damage, browsing through articles and guides on attempting to restore sites that have been hacked. As time passed, I felt frustrated not having enough competency to do it.

Actually, why not approach the hosting company for assistance? This spring to my mind as I stumble fruitlessly through articles after articles. I headed to their website, opened a ticket and the support window popped up stating how long the waiting time was. Within minutes, I was attended to by a nice gentleman. The entire process of gaining access back to my account was painless, effortless and speedy. That’s a promise made, and a promise kept. The staffs that attended to my request were responsive and efficient. They assured me through decisive actions that my account was going to be fine and all my data were intact. Not long after, everything was back to normal. My posts are still here and the sun is shining brightly once more.

This episode taught me a few things:

Take security seriously

Always take the approach of backing up. When you have something valuable, it pays to have redundancy. There’s no such thing if it will fail, it’s a matter of when it will fail. I’m going to assume all things are going to fail and take action that correspond to this. Now, I’m going to backup my database, change my username, password and take necessary measures to ensure it’s not going to be a smooth break-in for intruders.

When you sell a promise, you deliver that promise

On first look, A Small Orange differentiates itself from the competition by not being just another hosting company. Majority of the companies sell based on prices and the specifications. These are essential criteria to consider, but when everyone is doing exactly the same thing, you have to do more. A Small Orange prides itself being the customer-oriented and environmentally friendly.

Their values resonate with a new wave of customers who see values beyond the promise of uptime and bandwidth. And when the company places high emphasis on customer support, it has to deliver. ASO excels in this area and the positive words from existing customers is the best marketing tool.