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This essay is for people who do not consider themselves technologically savvy, who often feel like they’re sinking in the ocean of the internet, but who have a website (boat) or plan to build one (you’re a pirate). This post is also for burgeoning journalists or artists who are not skillful with computers but who want to someday showcase their work online. If you ever took a computer programming class or spent your sad childhood on the internet, please move on to another thing, because when you read my suggestions you’ll likely think, WHAT A SILLY DUMBASS! HOW DID HE NOT KNOW THAT SHIT ALREADY!? Because I spent my sad childhood digging holes in my neighbor’s backyard.
1.) Update your website, plugins, tools, etc. habitually
On January 10th, at the precise moment my loxodonta molar tooth made contact with a king figurine in a Galette des Rois tart cake, my website was hacked by a virus. I named him Neo and tried to kill him. At some point during the 10+ hours I spent on the phone with my domain provider (D.P.) I learned that the cause was my failure to update my website and its plugins. I guess viruses are attracted to old versions of things (future essay: how are wandering viruses created in the first place and how do they find random places on the internet to infect?) According to D.P. the virus was not targeting just my website and its plugin-MILFS, but was a “wide net” searching for bank info, credit card numbers, ways to get cash. As I talked to D.P. on the phone, I could tell by the professionally condescending tone of their voice that they were surprised by my technological ignorance/ineptitude. Here’s my explanation/justification:
I created my website in 2016 with the help of a wordpress freelancer I found through Craig’s list (Sam, a patient Hasidic Jewish man who lives in Bed-Stuy, what are you doing now Sam?) and through mind-numbing youtube videos, and I thought that once my website was created I could forget about the structure and focus on other things besides “up-keep.” I was wrong. If I had simply clicked an update button every once in a while, I would have saved myself 15 hours of stress and uncertainty, 70 euros, and my cyber dignity. While on the phone, on hold, listening to crackling orchestral music, and staring at the swirling water of my petty existence, I couldn’t help but apply a cliché life lesson to this little annoying situation: if you ignore little updates in your life, little adaptions, little up-keep, you’ll have to pay for them in a big way later on. Moral: update, just click that button.
2.) Download anti-virus software
Here’s a safe link to do this that my domain provider sent me: https://www.botfree.eu/en/eucleaner/index.html
The download is free, takes 1 minute, and once you have it, all you have to do is click the anti-virus button once in a while and it checks all the files on your computer. Another “trick” you can do with an anti-virus scanner is that if you have any files or plugins on your website that are suspicious/can dodge bullets, you can download the files to your computer, then run the scanner. I know this because I had to go into the “back-office” of my website (the webspace provided by my domain provider) download potentially infected files, then run the scanner on each of them. I received an email that looked like this (below)…then spent four hours scanning, please scroll down and enjoy! (So you wanna to smoke a cigarette Jimmy? Well then smoke the whole goddamn pack!)
3.) Last but not least, your website is never safe. Put all your content somewhere else
At some point, I admit, while talking to D.P., watching youtube videos on cleaning infected websites, and attempting to troubleshoot on my own, I almost had a mental breakdown. Why? Because I’ve probably spent over 800 hours working on my website, writing essays, finding pictures, reading sentences out loud to my bulldog Hank to find just the right rhythm (if his jowls twitch the sentence is too clunky), formatting, etc…I have 3875 subscribers (500 are probably robots), and all this would have disappeared if D.P. and I hadn’t been able to get rid of the virus. Of course it would not have been the end of the world if my website died, but my website is something special to me, it’s something I built, like Frankenstein, and it would have been three years of work down the drain if I hadn’t been able to recover it…
I now realize that if I really care about all the work I’ve done, I have to put it all in a word document, then on a hard drive. I suggest you do the same. Then, to be even more safe, bury the hard drive in your neighbor’s backyard.