Tuesday, June 19, 2007

At War With The Sopranokovs

It’s like this:

I woke up Saturday to find all 150 of my web pages were suspended – and offline.

There were a couple emails in my inbox from my web host, ruskiehost.com, warning me of complaints made by the Data Center concerning phishing content on a couple of my pages. Supposedly, these pages were designed to gather personal information from clients of Wells Fargo and Bank America. I had been given one hour to delete said material from my account or face the consequences. Since the email came in during the wee hours, I had no chance to respond and, like I said, when I woke up it was already a done deal – my account was suspended and I had no access to the files.

For someone in the internet business, even in a small way like me, to be down for an extended period of time can be devastating. Not only do you lose business, but you’re search engine rankings may suffer and there’s the risk of being dropped from other types of listings. In other words, all the work you’ve done to promote your website can go down the toilet quicker than white powder when the cops hit the door.

Since I never actually saw the web pages in question, I have to assume they were of the type that are tied to those phishing emails the old geezers are always falling for. You know, “Your Wells Fargo Info Needs To Be Updated.”

I quickly emailed ruskiehost.com telling them that I had no knowledge of the files in question – that I hadn’t created them and certainly hadn’t uploaded them to the server. Of course, they already knew that. Not only did their logs reflect the intrusion of someone hacking into my account, they also had a hand in it.

Allow me to digress. Over the last few months, I had grown increasingly dissatisfied with ruskiehost.com's service. Most recently, it had annoyed me that my stats were not being updated every 24 hours as was promised. It had become necessary for me to email tech support and request a stats update every time I wanted one. It is not a coincidence that just two days before the planting of the files and my subsequent suspension, I had sent another such email adding the comment that “this is getting old.”

In due time, Boris – my contacts have names like Vlada, Natasya, and Boris leading me to believe ruskiehost.com is a front for the Russian Mafia and their illegal online activities – replied that he had updated my stats; but, he apparently didn’t leave it at that. There’s an old Russian proverb: If they complain about the service, kill them. Boris was trying to kill me.

For good reason, ruskiehost.com made no effort to help me straighten up the mess. Finally, after a few hours of frustrating intercourse, I decided to change web hosts and to transfer my domain registration. Eager to sign me on as a client, the firms I contacted were extremely helpful and by Monday my site was up and working again.

My passwords are changed and I’m completely separated from ruskiehost.com, now, but I feel far from safe. It seems inevitable that I’m going to get hit again; and I’m not sure I have the energy to deal with it. Guess if I want to make a few extra bucks, I better sharpen up my pool game.




Unknown said...

Ah the seedy world of the internet mafia. Seems like you got stung there though man, watch out for the black cars with the tinted windows...

Anonymous said...


I'm terribly sorry to hear about this! I'm a site owner as well, (billiards forum) and I get hit with this kind of crap, among other problems all the time. It is becoming more and more of an uphill battle all of the time. I've had good luck with 1 and 1 hosting. Their service is not the greatest, but the good part is that I rarely have to contact them. Anyway, let this be a lesson, always back up, and sometimes it is better to go with the big name hosts.

Ace Toscano said...

My new webhost is HostGator. I see their ads on MySpace all the time so I thought I'd give them a try. So far, so good - the folks I've dealt with have been extremely helpful and I haven't found any poison in my borscht. :)