Saturday, January 19, 2008

How To Respond To Hacks Against Your Online Business!

I run my own online Auction site and the business was growing steadily. Then disaster struck in the form of an Internet hacker that nearly brought my business to its knees. I launched my online Auction site two years ago in the month of October, as a way to build up my income as I near retirement age. I licensed the business in the city of Marysville, Washington. New members were joining every day, and I was proud of the way the site looked and was operating. Before the hacker attacked my site, I was receiving new signups just about every day. I had been using online classified ads, search engines, business cards, vehicle door signs, FFA sites, and much more, to find new members to register with us. Since I give every one that joins a FREE $20.00 Seller s Listing Credit, I wasn t initially receiving any money until the site started snow balling with new members. I increased interest from my members by using monthly prizes for the Seller that listed the most auction listings for that month. I gave current members who brought in new members a credit on their seller s fees if the new member would mention who brought them to the site when they registered. Each member can sign up for their own Free store with it s own web address, with only their own auction items listed in the store. At my Auction site we sell such things as auto s, computers, jewelry, clothing, business machines, food, stamps, coins, tools, boats, machines, home and garden items, large lots, collectibles, ebooks and much more. The business was beginning to pay off when, in July of this year, a hacker got into the site s Admin area and began changing financial figures in his own favor. Yes, the hacker was one of my own members! I contacted my site designer and we banned this member from using the site, but he managed to get back in and caused me about $20,000 worth of loss after I had spent considerable time advertising the site. In fact, the site went completely down due to the damage this hacker caused us. I m recovering from the attack by using an upgraded program from my auction software provider who closed up the avenue my hacker used to get in, and am slowly bringing back some of the customers which I lost due to being offline for a month. I believe I have a good business model and will be able to return the momentum I was enjoying before the attack. To help stop hackers from breaking into your site, make sure that your web site designer adds lots of security features into it. Report any hacks to your site immediately. You can only respond to such an attack to your site and not prevent it, yourself. You should contact the following agencies as soon as possible after receiving a hack attack against your site. Your local Police Department, your state s Attorney General, the FCC, and the federal agency online that goes after hackers at: Report the date the problem started, and what financial losses you received due to the hacker s activities in detail. Collect all of the evidence that you have on the suspected hacker such as their ISP number, name and address, and copies of changed documents used on your site to defraud sellers, buyers or management. Keep copies of this information available for investigative requests from authorities interested in the case should it go to the courts for prosecution. In general, to protect your home computer: use a week, and install critical patches. Run your antivirus program often and update your virus signatures frequently. Use a Firewall such as Zone Alarm. Check your computer for Trojans at: Don t click on email attachments, don t install Napster type programs, and turn off sharing, especially on your C: and D: drive. Put a good password on you computer that cannot be easily guessed. In fact, a good password would not be in your native language! Windows PC s with static IP numbers are especially vulnerable. Always set Obtain an IP address automatically in Windows. Richard Wittauer MY QUICK BID ONLINE AUCTION FREE Auction Listings With Images My site

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