Small world, big challenges (and opportunities)

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This weekend, with some help from Suresh Devi in Bangalore, India, I solved a rather major malware problem on several of the company’s sites including our North Carolina Construction News site (ncconstructionnews.com), the Canadian Design and Construction Report (cadcr.com) and the site for Bill Caswell’s book on fighting nature (fightingnature.com) to be published next month.  The problem:  bad guys, possibly somewhere in Russia, inserted code and files within these and other WordPress sites to cause our websites to be spam and malware-hosting machines, risking other computers with serious infection problems.

I’m fortunate to be a reasonably knowledgeable web host but I needed to do some serious detective work to gain an understanding of the problem when the first red-line Google notifications appeared on Friday evening.  Entering our company’s file hosting system, I could see signs of the problem, but every time I removed dozens of spam files, they simply reappeared.  So I called for help.

Hostgator.com technical and security support provided some assistance, cleaning out some files and providing clues about the source of the difficulty.  But Suresh Devi, contracted on short notice through elance.com for the grand sum of $54.00, did the heavy lifting, as we cleaned up and secured the sites.  This required extensive Skype message communications at really odd times of the day — I did much of the key work here at midnight Saturday night (breakfast time in Bangalore).  Last night, Google lifted the ban on the sites and I will now put in the final enhanced security measures.

Outside of mucking up my weekend, this experience cost little.  However, it shows how the world has changed.  A problem caused by criminals in one part of the world is solved by technical support in another, with instant payment mechanisms and information resources.

I realize that most of this blog’s readers work within local market areas, and this is good (and may be the wisest strategy for business operation and marketing).  However, if we think on the larger scale, and see the world as it is now, I think you’ll discover exciting opportunities to reduce your costs and improve your effectiveness, even if you need to battle bad guys operating from other distant locations.

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